This week at HeyUGuys towers, everything is all about Indy. The franchise reaches a dramatic final chapter with the release of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny this week, and to mark this joyous occasion, we were thrilled to be able to sit in and take part in the film’s official press conference, as the legendary actor Harrison Ford was joined by his cast-mates Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Mads Mikkelsen, alongside the film’s director, James Mangold. See below for a selection of the best bits from the event.

James, how was it for you as a director to take on this massive and long-popular franchise?

JAMES MANGOLD:  Thrilling, inspiring.  One of the most attractive parts of jumping on board this endeavour was the company that I got to keep. I grew up admiring these movies.  I grew up admiring Harrison, Steven, Kathy Kennedy, George Lucas, John Williams.  These are all people who shaped my love for filmmaking.  So the opportunity and the warmth, the opportunity was glorious, but also the warmth with which they welcomed me aboard was what really made me want to do it, was I felt like I was just going to be one of the great experiences of my life, which it was.

Please can you elaborate on what you think your character’s best strength and weakness is?  And what do you think makes them interesting?

HARRISON FORD:  Yeah, I think Indiana Jones’ strengths are various. and we’ve demonstrated his strengths over the course of four movies.  Now we’re entering into a new phase of his life.  And we’re seeing him after the absence of 15 years.  He’s aged [clears throat] somewhat.  He’s retiring. We meet him on the last day of his retirement from academic life, which has not been inspiring for him. So I think we meet him at a point where he’s at a low that we have not seen before.  But I think it, dramatically, it works really well because, at that moment, we’re also introducing Phoebe as the character that really stimulates the plot that’s going on.  So I suppose his weakness is the ravages of time.

PHOEBE WALLER-BRIDGE:  I think Helena’s wit is a great strength, and I think she’s self-sufficient, and she’s imaginative.  And she’s got a good sense of humour.  I’d also consider her weakness her strength [laugh]; is that she doesn’t really look before she leaps, and there’s a fearlessness in her that can be misconstrued as a recklessness.  So even though that’s something that I love about her, I just think that’s what gets her into trouble. And I think she probably doesn’t really know how to ask for help in a real way.  And that’s given her a steeliness in her life, but that’s part of the journey I loved going on with her; is that she has to open up a little bit.

MADS MIKKELSEN:  I don’t think he has any weaknesses.

JAMES:  He’s a Nazi.

MADS:  Oh, that’s the one. Keep forgetting that part.  Yeah, I think that his passion is his strength and is also his weakness because his passion for his job, for math, for science, for a brighter future is obviously strength.  And this, his passion for the party [laugh] and the Third Reich will his downfall.

After 15 years, Harrison, how and what made you decide to play Dr. Jones again?

HARRISON:  Well, I’d always wanted to round out the story with seeing him towards the end of his career, towards the end of his life even. And we had a very good script that Jim and his co-writers came up with, and that was the encouragement to continue with the project.  I was very excited when I read the script that Jim and the Butterworth Brothers had come up with.  So there was no barrier to telling another chapter of his story for me.  I was ambitious for it.

Mads, What is your way of approaching the villains that you have played, so they don’t resemble each other.  How do you do that?  So each villain is memorable and different?

MADS:  It’s not only me, I guess.  It’s in the story.  It’s in the script.  It’s on the page somewhere, and so, it’s up to Jim, and I, and my fellow actors to find the parameters of the character. As we’d just spoken about, this is my first Nazi, so that makes a difference.  I try to find what’s humanizing them to a degree.  If I cannot relate to what they dream about, I’ll replace that with something else that I can dream about because this character has passion.  And if I don’t understand that, I’ll just have to replace that passion with something else.  And so, hopefully the story goes up in a unit at the end.

Phoebe, What do you think is the importance of Helena’s relationship with Indy in this film?  And what did you learn from playing Helena?

PHOEBE:I think she’s the right person to come into his life at this time because it feels like he’s in a little bit of an emotional cul-de-sac.  Is that fair?  [laugh] In his life?  And I also think he’s now living in a time where the focus has shifted.  People are looking to the future. People are looking to the moon. And there’s isn’t as much passion for what he is passionate about.  And so, when she comes in, not only does she bring a breeze of, like, joy from his past, and this past relationship he had with her father and the joy of that.  She brings a passion for archaeology.  She brings a passion for adventure, and I think that lights him up again.  And I think she’s very clever for doing that ’cause she actually has her own nefarious agenda, of course.  But I think, ironically, the thing that she learns in the end is that that passion that she was kind of faking at the beginning, is the thing that she discovers for real by the end. And that’s through experiencing this adventure with Indy.  So I think she learns about that.  And I think she does learn that being vulnerable [laugh] is kind of important.  And I think there’s a moment at the end where she opens up, and she reveals that she cares about Indy, and that he’s important to her.  And that forges a new relationship for her.  And whether or not they continue with their friendship, which I believe they do, she’s forever changed by that act. And I loved that that happens cross- generationally.  I think it’s a really important and beautiful story to tell.

Harrison, you’ve had some big good-byes movie-wise in recent years, you know, Han Solo and Deckard in Blade Runner, and now, Indy.  What makes this farewell to the character different from the others?

HARRISON: I can’t say that I know an answer to that question.  I mean, this is a singular experience.  It has been a singular experience that, somehow, don’t put it in the same category with other films.  I guess the answer is no. It doesn’t feel different, but it feels good because of the shape of this good-bye. It feels good to me because I feel that we’ve made a really satisfying film for the audience. We’ve taken our concern, our interest in the character, and tried to shape a story that would bring this character back into their lives with an interesting story. And I think given the people that we’ve involved in the character and nature of the story that Jim has created for us, it’s a splendid good-bye.

Phoebe, who served as your inspiration for your performance as Helena?

PHOEBE:  Well, Jim said to me quite early on that Barbara Stanwyck came to mind for him in the writing of the character.  And that as I said before, is a blessing and curse.

JAMES:  Sorry.

PHOEBE: But she’s also an idol of mine. And there is something.  She has such a light touch in her performances, particularly in The Lady Eve where she has a moral ambiguity as well. And there’s something so fresh and charming about her even though she’s morally questionable around the time. But also, there was something very modern about the way that she communicated and performed.  And I think that was something that really inspired me in this because she did have to feel like a modern woman in terms of where she, you know, like, the time that we were coming into, she is a breath of fresh air.  Helena, she isn’t someone that we’ve seen before with this kind of fierce independence. she’s carved this place out in the world for herself, and she refuses to need anybody else.  And that essence seems to be captured in every single performance that Barbara Stanwyck ever gave.  And so, I sort of clung to that throughout.

Harrison, looking back at the forty years plus of playing Indy, what has this character meant to you and have you learned anything from him?

HARRISON:  Look, this is a service occupation for story tellers.  This is the chief story teller, I’m an assistant story teller.  What I’ve learned over the years is simply, given the experience that I’ve had, I have learned things. So, I have felt over 40 years that I have not only come to know this character, but I’ve come to know my job a little bit more. Maybe just a little bit.  But, I mean, the character means to me what he means to the audience, because that’s the service and that’s the contract between us.  I’m obliged only to give my best in the story that I want to tell. When it’s received with the warmth and the generosity that Indiana Jones has over this period of time, it’s, to me, an incredible generosity to me and I take it personally.  It means a great deal to me that people like what we’ve done.  And I hope that they will appreciate this contribution.

James, do you think, in some ways, that Logan and Dial of Destiny are connected by the idea of someone taking a final adventure?

JAMES: Yes. Look, when I’ve worked within the world of franchises, the thing that scares me most is I don’t want to be making just a chapter in the middle of a, kind of, mega expensive series.  I’m pretty old fashioned myself, and I kind of like the idea of a beginning, middle, and end to this particular story, and all the other ways it routes and connects to what’s come before are wonderful but still there’s this very old-fashioned idea of the kind of integrity of the thing itself. So, one reason I said that is ’cause in both cases of Logan and this movie, what I’m trying to figure out is what is the story that we could tell that is unique to this film, this moment, these two hours.  And in Logan, I knew we were making the last one, but it was a character who had spent almost all of his life tortured, a kind of Frankenstein living in a world where his choices were to be a weapon or to somehow try and hide himself from everybody. And so, death seemed, in a way, to be a kind of salvation for him.  And in the way we tried to write it and stage, it was for the last 30 seconds of his life were probably the best 30 seconds of his life.  That was not part of this movie.  Indiana Jones is one of the most beautiful aspects of all the Indiana Jones films and I think led by Harrison’s performance all these years. His humor, charm, a kind of screwball adventure, a love of golden age films, particularly rumps, kind of around the world rumps.  These were the inspirations to the filmmakers who first started laying out these films and that, therefore, I had a star who was in his 70s, so it’s clear that we can’t deny reality, as Harrison has said, Indy’s older. So, given answers to previous questions, we had to focus on what that is, and to me that’s a question that doesn’t get asked very often.  What is it to be someone who’s led such a dynamic life, who’s seen so much conquered and won and survived adversity and odds, but then life descends in kind of normalcy and the world moves on, and those adventures aren’t presenting themselves anymore or you’re not even necessarily ready for them. Those questions can sound grim but they also are the first chapter in a story about a guy who goes on one last ride.  So, that to me all seemed really interesting and the opposite strategy, in a way.  Although the externals are the same with Logan, which was that this is about his awakening and about a character coming out of a slumber, having been, kind of, numbed by the way the world has maybe passed him by.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is out in cinemas now