Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of the most highly regarded movies ever. While it was released in 1981, it still holds up to this day and started one of the most excellent movie universes/trilogies with Indiana Jones. However, it’s well known how much of a nightmare filming behind the scenes was. Aside from the heat, much of the cast and crew got severe food poisoning during the shoot. Almost everyone knows that Harrison Ford while filming the movie got severely ill, however he was not the only notable actor that dealt with an illness.

So, Who Else Got Sick?

The answer to who else got sick was actor John Rhys-Davies. John Rhys-Davies played Sallah in the Indiana Jones movies and went on to play Gimli in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. He is one of my favorite side characters in Raiders of the Lost Ark, but filming the movie was not fun.

During Michael Rosenbaum’s podcast Inside of You where he interviewed John Rhys-Davies he told a super scarry story. He basically confirmed that The Raiders of the Lost Ark food poisoning story is 100% true and he got it really bad. During the filming of the first Indiana Jones movie he battled food poisoning and he lost 22 pounds on set.

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Here is the scarry part about this all, his illness occurred on two days. He lost all of that weight in two days and that is super crazy. I have never heard about anyone losing that amount of weight in two days excluding watching My 600 Lb. Life.

That Is Not All, He Also Had An Issue with Ants

Not only was he dealing with an illness, but he was in an environment where there was a really bad ant infestation. When he was lying down in the hotel room, a tremendous column of ants were all over and were even crawling on his chest. My gosh, that is scary to see ants crawl all over your body.

Surprisingly, Rhys-Davies was able to not miss a ton of time, because with all of these factors it would have been understandable if he left. However, he stuck through it and finished the project. Which is the best thing ever knowing how successful Raiders of the Lost Ark ultimately became and the character of Sallah being one of his most notable roles.

If you want to watch the full podcast, I strongly recommend it as Rosenbaum does a great job and you will learn a lot about Rhys-Davies and the behind the scenes of filming some of his movies. He even revealed an interesting fact about Steven Spielberg during this time.

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Steven Spielberg Was Super Cautious Eating Throughout Filming the Movie.

Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford on set of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.

The biggest reason Steven Spielberg never got sick from the food poisoning was that he was super cautious during the shoot. He often brought his own food on set including cans of tin food, which was super safe to have compared to what was offered.

Now, he did eat food on set, but only some days. He notably had lamb, but he only had a piece of it and only ate it if it was properly cooked. To be extra safe, he even picked it apart before he ate it. To be honest I don’t blame him. The food poisoning was rampant and if the director goes down or gets sick, then that is a tremendous problem that will severely effect the schedule of filming.

Food poisoning is no joke and I am glad that John Rhys-Davies was okay and able to finish Raiders of the Lost Ark, along with others involved in the movie. I have seen how bad people can get sick with food poisoning as it send a family member of mine to the hospital once. So be very careful with the food you eat and make sure it is properly prepared in any environment, especially when filming a movie. Or when watching your favorite Indiana Jones film.

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