Tom Selleck always has the original Raiders of the Lost Ark job offer in his back pocket. And he knows that sometimes, Harrison Ford hates to hear the Blue Bloods star tell his anecdote.
But it makes for a good cocktail party story. Or an anecdote to pass along during TV interviews.
That was the case back in 2017 when Tom Selleck appeared on the BUILD Series. He was there to chat about Blue Bloods, but if you’re going to talk Tom Selleck, you also need to chat about Magnum P.I. and the time CBS forced him to turn down the offer to play Indiana Jones.
For the early part of his career, Selleck was the actor who paid the bills with national commercials and guest-starring roles. Then, in his mid-30s, everybody wanted him.
CBS signed him to play Magnum P.I., the sexy private investigator who solved cases in Hawaii. And after he did the pilot, Tom Selleck auditioned for the Indiana Jones role. It was a new movie series from Steven Spielberg and George Lucas.
Selleck explained, “after I did the pilot for Magnum, I tested for Indiana Jones and got the job. Steven and George, my newest pals at the time, offered me the job. But I said ‘I’ve done this pilot.’ And they said thanks for telling us, most actors wouldn’t do that. ‘But we got cards to play with CBS.’ Turns out CBS didn’t let me do it. They held the offer out for about a month.”
Blue Bloods Star Tom Selleck Lauds Harrison Ford
Then, Selleck mentioned Harrison Ford, who landed the role. Ford was fresh off playing Han Solo in Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back. The Return of the Jedi was in the pipeline.
“Harrison Ford hates to hear this,” Tom Selleck said. “Harrison this is your role and you’re indelible in it. This is just an interesting story.”
So did you take note of Selleck’s use of the word “indelible?” That means unforgettable, impossible to eliminate. Selleck wasn’t trying to erase Ford’s legacy as Indiana Jones. Why do that? In Han Solo and Indiana Jones, Ford played two of the most memorable characters in Hollywood movie history.
Tom Selleck carved out his career mainly in TV. No one will forget his portrayal of Thomas Magnum. And now, he’s Frank Reagan in Blue Bloods. Reagan is the New York police commissioner who is the father of two cops and a district attorney. The show is all about high character and family love and loyalty.
Selleck continued with his Indiana Jones story.
“But yeah, I signed a deal for Magnum. It was best thing that ever happened to me. I’m proud I lived up to my contract. Some people said you got to get in the car and drive into a brick wall and (get out of the Magnum P.I. deal). I said I got to look my mom and dad in the eye, and we don’t do that. I did Magnum. It’s not so bad, is it?”