Karen Allen has an amazing laugh, and to hear it in person is to be transported to a steamy desert tent where her Marion Ravenwood is trading drinks with Indiana Jones’s half-charming rival, a flirty French archeologist named Belloq. It’s big and fun, and you’d volunteer to be dragged behind a speeding German truck for the chance to hear it again. In Raiders of the Lost Ark, Allen played a feisty, tough-as-nails beauty whose first romantic encounter with Indy had ended in Rick Blaine level heartbreak — for her. The second time around, they teamed up to find the lost ark of the covenant before Belloq and the Nazis, and she proved to be Indy’s equal in every way.
But although Indiana Jones returned for two more blockbuster adventures in the 1980s, Marion was not in the picture. In Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, a prequel, Indy romanced a shrieking blonde showgirl (Kate Capshaw), and in The Last Crusade, he jousted with a blonde Austrian scholar (Alison Doody). Blondes are supposed to have more fun, but neither character connected with Indy — or audiences — like Marion. Fans voiced their preference whenever new Indy 4 rumors surfaced, and when she finally returned for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, she was the same gal that we’d all fallen in love with 27 years before. She was almost delightful enough for us to overlook the nuked fridge and the swinging monkeys. (Almost.)
With today’s release of Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures on Blu-ray — and the digitally remastered Raiders of the Lost Ark still in select theaters — Allen sat down with Entertainment Weekly to discuss her role in the franchise, why she never expected to return, and why her kiss would’ve never, ever put Indy to sleep.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: The first time we meet Marion Ravenwood in Raiders of the Lost Ark, she’s going shot for shot with a burly Nepalese drunk before Indiana Jones walks back in to her life. It was impossible not to adore her from that moment on.
KAREN ALLEN: It’s a great introduction. That’s the only scene I read at first. They gave me that scene to audition with. No one was allowed to read the script. So until they told me they wanted me, that was really all I knew about the role — that one scene. But that was enough that I was totally intrigued and wanted to do it. Whatever this story was, this was going to be a fantastic character to play. READ FULL STORY