More than 15 years ago, Indiana Jones got a younger counterpart with the series The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones. Young Indy was not only a non-stop source of historical adventures, he was also the break-out role for Sean Patrick Flanery. Since his years as Young Indy, for which he shot shows in more than 35 countries and saw a plethora of guest stars, Flanery has gone on to act in films like The Boondock Saints and shows, such as The Dead Zone (USA). Now, Young Indy's back on the scene with a ten-disc DVD set of The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Volume Three: The Years of Change (ready for action today). As the DVD arrives, TVGuide.com reminisced with Flanery about his real-life Indy adventures in places from Rome to Prague (where Catherine Zeta-Jones made a cameo). We also mused about the paparazzi's ethics, both in Indy's time and ours, and got the back story on what he's up to next, in his post-Indy era.
TVGuide.com: Young Indy was one of your first roles, and it's been rumored that thousands of people auditioned. What was that process like, and what was your reaction when you were cast?
Sean Patrick Flanery: It was kind of nonsensical, the fact that I might be Young Indy. So, I'm sure my auditions were amazing. You think, "There's no way I'm going to get this," so you don't care. You just go in and you do it. Then, when it starts getting serious, that's when you start sucking. [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: In the series, there's a different adventure in each episode. Which one was your favorite?
Flanery: My favorite episode is the "Battle of Verdun," although, one of my favorite adventures was the "Battle of the Somme." I just loved the camaraderie, the friendship, the trench warfare and the age-old story about how at Christmastime they came out and played soccer from trench to trench, and then the next day, they proceeded to shoot each other.
TVGuide.com: During all the traveling you did for the show, were there any off-set adventures you had that particularly stand out?
Flanery: For five years I had a great apartment in Rome. I had a Vespa, and I lived in Prague for a couple of years, right by the old castle.
In terms of stunts, I singed my eyebrows during explosions, and we capsized a ship in a river where there's crocs everywhere. You name it, it happened. And one of Indy's girlfriends was [played by] Catherine Zeta-Jones. I worked with a lot of very well-seasoned actors and actresses who were playing second fiddle to someone who had never done anything!
TVGuide.com: Indiana Jones seems like a timeless story, but as entertainment technology has changed, action movies have changed. What do you think is compelling about the series now, and how do you think audiences will respond?
Flanery: I think it holds up. If things get too stylized for a current era, then they may not hold up as well. If you look at say, Rambo III, he's got a bandanna, and his hair is curling-ironed. It's very dated, whereas, period pieces have a much better chance of standing up over time, because nobody's actually familiar with that period. Young Indy was well executed, and it's something I'm very proud of.
TVGuide.com: One of the interesting things about the Young Indy series is the weaving in of historical figures, with one my favorites being the Hemingway episode. Were there any historical figures that were close to your heart?
Flanery: Yes, [Nobel Peace prize-winner] Albert Schweitzer, in the Africa episode. He was played by a German actor called Friedrich von Thun, who's like the Jack Nicholson of Germany. It was one of my favorite storylines. He was this doctor who was ostracized, and he placed himself between enemy lines and helped everybody. He went out to the Congo and just serviced humanity.
TVGuide.com: There's a particularly striking scene in one episode in which your character is sitting with "Edith Wharton" and a "reporter." She's telling the "reporter" that writing publicly about someone's personal life is akin to barbarism in our culture. Do you think that line has relevance to our culture now, especially in the years since you shot the show?
Flanery: To be literal, by definition, no, it doesn't make us barbarians. But is it ethical? And moral? That depends on what your definition of what ethics and morality are. When people are standing in front of someone's car and preventing you from moving forward, that's a problem. But if you do something in the public eye and then people publicize it, I think you kind of have to expect that. If you choose to take a job where your sole objective is that 30 million people watch you, the downside is 30 million people know you. I don't agree with it, but it does happen, and I think you have to expect the worst. That's coming from someone who doesn't get hounded by the media. [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: In addition to the upcoming Indy DVD set, you also have some other big projects going on. Could you explain a little bit about a movie you're making, Sunshine Superman?
Flanery: I wrote a piece for Jane Magazine, around '99, and a number of companies came out of the woodwork to try and procure the rights to the story. [Editor-in-chief Jane Pratt] called me, and she said, why don't you write a story about your first kiss? And [it was] crazy, because the first girl I ever fell in love with was named Jane. People loved it and wanted to make it into a movie. I politely declined to sell it and wrote it myself. Now, we're going to make it.
TVGuide.com: If you ever got to meet the other Indiana Jones, Harrison Ford, is there anything you'd want to ask him?
Flanery: Probably nothing about Young Indy. I'd just shoot the s--t with him, because I think he's cool as hell. He's our last, great movie star. We have actors now that are cool and hip — George Clooney's becoming a great movie star, but the last one we had was Harrison Ford. He's just a great, intriguing guy.