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The Iconic Jurassic Park Role That Almost Went To Harrison Ford

The movie resumé of legendary actor Harrison Ford includes plenty of great roles and collaborations with plenty of great filmmakers. However, throughout the span of his decades-long career in film, it's his work as two heroic characters in two iconic film franchises that are likely his most famous with the general public: Han Solo in the "Star Wars" franchise and Indiana Jones in the franchise of the same name. Both franchises sprang from the creative mind of George Lucas, and the "Indiana Jones" films are directed by Steven Spielberg (with the exception of the upcoming fifth installment). 

Although Spielberg and Ford worked together on four big-screen Indiana Jones adventures, they haven't collaborated on any other feature film projects. In the past decade, a new bit of "What if?" movie casting lore shared by the two artists reveals that, once upon a time, Ford almost got a part in another Spielberg-directed project that went on to become a decade-defining blockbuster: the 1993 film adaption of Michael Crichton's science-gone-wrong novel "Jurassic Park."

An easy joke with regard to Ford's famously grumpy disposition would be to say that he was almost cast as one of the dinosaurs in "Jurassic Park." But, as we now know, he was actually offered one of the lead (human) roles in the film.

Ford was the first actor to be offered the role of Dr. Alan Grant

"Jurassic Park" fans may have trouble identifying any actor other than Sam Neill with the role of Dr. Alan Grant. Surprisingly, a decade ago, it was revealed by director Steven Spielberg that Harrison Ford was offered the role first. As reported by The Los Angeles Times (via The Mary Sue), this casting tidbit comes from a Q&A event that followed a 30th-anniversary screening of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" in 2011 that featured Spielberg and Ford. 

At one point during the talk, Ford quipped that it was exciting to re-team with Spielberg on the 1981 sequel because he "only hires me for 'Indiana Jones.'" Spielberg, however, denied this, reminding the actor and surprising the audience with the fact that he offered the role of Dr. Grant in "Jurassic Park" to Ford first. The director stated, "I gotta correct this. Do you know who I offered 'Jurassic Park' to? This guy. Alan Grant, I first offered to this guy."

Sadly, for reasons not shared during the Q&A, Ford turned the part down, and it eventually went to Neill. The "Indiana Jones" star doesn't appear to have spoken much about what could have been regarding being offered a role in "Jurassic Park" since that 2011 event. That said, it's fun to imagine Dr. Grant as played by Ford, perhaps because the "Jurassic Park" character and Indiana Jones share a preference for wide-brimmed headgear.