Marion Ravenwood, Katy, and Claire Phillips. They’re all roles played by Karen Allen in the lengthy filmography she’s compiled over five decades of work.
All three of those characters—from the films Raiders of the Lost Ark, Animal House, and Scrooged—have been strong dynamic women. They’ve also been a huge pleasure to portray for Allen.
The 64-year-old, known for her role as Ravenwood in Raiders of the Lost Ark was on hand March 18 to 20 for Toronto’s ComiCon.
“I don’t know if that’s necessarily me, but it’s what I aspire to,” she says, sporting blonde locks for a new movie role. “I get to live it out in the world of fiction, which is really fun.”
Though there is one caveat.
“I find I play quite a large range of characters, particularly with theater more so than in film,” she admits. “I think film tends to focus more on the ‘Oh, she can do that well, let’s have her do it again’.”
“Theater is not like that. You don’t get stuck in a genre in a play.”
With plenty of Indiana Jones fans on hand to take in the event, the news of a fifth film had many asking the question, will she reprise her role of Ravenwood?
“There’s nothing I would love more than to come back to that family of friends and tell that next version of the story,” Allen says. “Right now, it is remaining mysterious, other than Harrison, who will be in the film.”
When she first auditioned for the role back in the early 1980s, she read lines with actors Tim Matheson and John Shea, after Tom Selleck committed to Magnum P.I. and before Harrison Ford was cast.
Allen laughs at the question of which leading man she wanted to share the screen with, but added she had some stiff competition of her own.
“I think every young actress in Hollywood and New York was auditioning for Marion and I very much was hoping that I had given a good audition,” she recalls, adding she met with Stephen Spielberg in New York before he flew her to L.A. for screentests. “I think a month went by, maybe; I was working on another project when I got the call that they wanted me.”
Even before getting the role, Allen had some archaeology in her repertoire, as she and two friends traveled from Mexico City to Lima, Peru when she was 20. They visited all the archaeological sites, including Macchu Picchu. Ironic, given some 35 years later she would be in South America for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
As for what’s next on her docket, she’s active in the New York theater scene; opened the film Bad Hurt in New York; portrayed author Joan Anderson in the film A Year By The Sea (the reason for her blonde hair), which will show at the Vail Film Festival; and will sit in the director’s chair for A Tree, a Rock and a Cloud in May.
With fingers crossed, Allen says she hopes for a call from Spielberg.
“There is something so special about working… with people who you know, connect with, get along with, have already gone through those phases of getting to know you.”
Story original published on Popshifter.com, March 26, 2016.