One of the most memorable villains in the Indiana Jones franchise is René Emile Belloq, a French archaeologist and archrival of Indy (Harrison Ford) in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), played by Paul Freeman. To commemorate the 40th-anniversary release of the Paramount film and the release of the 4K Ultra HD four-movie collection, the actor spoke with Cinema Blend about why Belloq worked so well as a villain. The character made his mark in the opening scene when Indy facing a volley of threats from greedy partners to dangerous traps and later surrounded by natives, the Hovitos with bows, arrows, and blow darts on hand.
Emerging from the tribe was Belloq, who told famously told Indy, "There is nothing you can possess that I cannot take away." As Indy makes his escape on a plane, he finds himself in a race against time to track the Ark of the Covenant. His competition is the Nazis, their primary help, Belloq himself. According to Freeman, a villain doesn't always have to be so obvious to work. "The thing about being a villain is you don't get these scripts that go, 'This is the villain,'" he said. "If you do, it's a bad script, by the way. You should never say that… It's a big mistake… to think that you have to signal that. [It is] much more interesting not to signal that [and] to almost go in the opposite direction and say, 'Well, this guy seems perfectly all right with me.' Now, you see, I think that would be the definition of real evil when you think, 'This guy's perfectly all right,' and he turns out not to be. Belloq was not an evil villain… Did he do anything evil? I mean, apart from working for the Nazis?" The 4K Ultra HD release of the Indiana Jones four-movie collection is currently available. The fifth movie with director James Mangold is currently in production.