Karen Allen recounts filming 'Raiders of the Lost Ark'

Karen Allen's Marion Ravenwood in Raiders of the Lost Ark was amazing. Hollywood Reporter interviewed her for the 40th anniversary of the epic film.


Weeks after her first meeting with Spielberg, the actress was on her way to Los Angeles for screen tests opposite several actors she knew, including friend John Shea and her Animal House castmate, Tim Matheson. And then it happened.

"I don't remember how long it was, but I got a call that they were offering me the film. They wanted me to read the script and give them an answer within two days. They had a courier bring the script, and he had to sit in my room the whole time while at the hotel. Then I had to give it back to him. That is how secretive they were, even back then! Obviously, I said yes. I had truly fallen in love with the character when I did the audition."

The Raiders story was only believable if the adventurous archaeologist had a counterpart who could hold her own, so casting the right actress was crucial, says Marshall, the film's producer. "Marion was feisty, smart and funny. She was an action hero in her own way," he says. "She didn't depend on him, but he had to depend on her."