I don't know about you, but I grew up with Indiana Jones. As a young viewer, I probably took for granted how much of a BAMF Karen Allen's Marion Ravenwood was. She was intelligent, independent, a fast talker, and funny. Yes, she still was Indy's love interest and occasional damsel in distress, but she was definitely capable of getting herself out of scrapes, too.

We love a strong female character around here.

It's been 40 years since Raiders of the Lost Ark came out, so Variety sat down with Allen to discuss her iconic role in the film. She highlights a lot of points that reflect the strength of the writing.

Karen_allen_0'Raiders of the Lost Ark'Credit: Paramount Pictures

On the character introduction

Allen knew she wanted to play Marion as soon as she read her opening scene.

"When they sent me this scene from the Raven bar to audition with, I just fell in love with the character," Allen said. "This man who broke her heart comes in and she punches him in the jaw, I mean, it was just such a wonderful and colorful introduction to a woman."

Character introductions are so important! The first few moments with a character should give the audience a good idea of their personality. Are they funny? Deceitful? Shy? A fighter? A pacifist? This intro should make the audience want to get to know this character better.

It definitely worked on Allen.

"So to have a role like this come my way was just such an exciting event," Allen said. "I always look for characters who have that kind of inner strength because it’s just so interesting to play."

On backstory

Sometimes you can't get everything into a script, especially when characters are running around trying to stop Nazis. But even if it doesn't fit (like for Luca Brasi in The Godfather), you as a writer should know everything about the character.

Allen helped craft some of Marion's backstory to help her performance.

"I feel like there are these basic things that we all know about ourselves, it seems only right that my work as an actor is to ask those questions of a character that I don’t know very much about," she said. "Who was her mother? How old was she when they came to Nepal? Where was she born?"

And what about that crush she had on Indiana Jones? She thought about that, too.

"I don’t think that there was a major romance between them," she said. "I do think she was very much in love with him or had a crush on him. She was 16 and he was probably the first person she ever had a crush on. They may have kissed. I don’t think it was anything because my father was there and [Indy] was my father’s student."

Having this framework in place, even loosely sketched, can help you decide how characters react to different situations or how they speak to each other. We only get a hint of it in scenes between Marion and Indy, but it adds so much flavor to their relationship.

And the future?

Allen likes to think Marion and Indy settled down.

"I have thought about what would our world be like after they got married and what they both end up doing," she said. "I was imagining they would settle down somewhere, he would go back to working as a professor and they would have some semblance of the life that we first meet them when he splits his time between those two worlds. She and he might go off on adventures but they would also have some semblance of domestic life, and their son would be a part of it."

Check out the full interview for more insight from Raiders of the Lost Ark! And start crafting that backstory.

Source: Variety

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