John Rhys-Davies Recalls Brutal Illness on Raiders of the Lost Ark Set
John Rhys-Davies Recalls Brutal Illness on Raiders of the Lost Ark Set

You must remember the 1981 film “Riders of the Lost Ark,” The Best Indiana Jones Movie. It was the 1st film in the Indiana Jones film series. Actor John Rhys-Davies, who played Sallah in Riders of the Lost Ark, spoke about the brutal illness he suffered while filming.

The actor said, “I Wanted To Die.” John Rhys-Davies details the food poisoning he suffered during filming, which affected almost everyone on the set.

John Rhys Davies, the actor who plays Sallah, has recently admitted to having food poisoning. Due to Brutal Illness, the entire cast and crew of Indiana Jones and Readers of the Last Ark were affected.

Although many behind-the-scenes stories of the film became the subject of legends, one of them was that during the filming in Tunisia, Harrison Ford, and the film crew were troubled by a stomach bug, and because of this, some changes had to be made at the end of filming.

Rhys-Davies recently appeared on the Inside of You with Michael Rosenbaum podcast, explaining that:-

“'[As Ford] You’ve got me for three hours, Steven. It’s a three-day shoot. It’s a stupid scene anyway, he’d just take out his gun and shoot him….’ Three pages out of the script. Oh yes, it’s true.”

“I lost 22 pounds. I don’t know about [the crew]. All I know is that when Steven… there was sequence where I’m going to be shot by the German cook and he takes me out and… I think we shot it anyway. Steven said, ‘John, can you bend down to give him a better eye line?’ And as I did so I filled my djellaba in front of 200 people and I didn’t care…”

The actor further added:-

“My next memory is I’m lying in this hotel bed. Unfortunately it’s a hotel room where no matter where I put the damn bed, that little column of ants would come in and walk over my chest and exit down somewhere. So I’m lying in this bed with ants in it in which I have vomited and excreted. I have a temperature of around 105. I’m dying. I’m dying probably of dysentery or diphtheria.”

“And I hear the key go in the lock, and the little flame of life begins to pick up as the door opens. In comes our wonderful Australian lady doctor. And she doubles over and she says, ‘Oh Christ, John, I see you’ve got it too. Can I use your toilet?’ God died at that moment. I knew there was no hope… I wanted to die.”

“Anyway, massive rehydration and, you know, one gets better. I lost 22 pounds in two days… My guts were never really the same after that.”

Karen Allen and Rhys-Davies both reprised their roles as part of the cast of Indiana Jones’ fifth film, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, released last year.


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Riya GSenior Editor

i enjoy working as a Senior Editor at A2z Filming Location. I love watching series and movies. Traveling is a big part of my life.

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