Combustible Celluloid

Interview: Harrison Ford

Blue Collar Man

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

February 3, 2006—Harrison Ford needs no introduction. Anyone who has gone to the movies sometime in the last 35 years knows who he is, whether from supporting roles (American Graffiti, The Conversation, Apocalypse Now) or in leading roles (the Star Wars trilogy, the Indiana Jones trilogy, Blade Runner, and Air Force One). He received an Oscar nomination for Witness and a Golden Globe nomination for The Fugitive. The box-office gross of his collective films make him one of the most popular actors on the planet.

The 63 year-old actor has been absent from the screen for three years now, his longest hiatus ever. But he spent the time working on his newest film, the high-tech thriller Firewall. To help refresh people's memories, Ford recently made a stop in San Francisco.

He appears wearing a crisp black suit (no tie), a goatee and an earring. He speaks softly and chooses words carefully, but is generous in his answers. He explains that the delay between movies came from having to replace the original "Firewall" director (who quit for personal reasons) and re-jigger the script for new director Richard Loncraine (Richard III, Wimbledon). "That's what I was doing for two years. I'm very involved in the script on most of the things I do," he says.

Over the years, the veteran actor seems to have achieved a perfect balance between Hollywood glamour and a private life. He still loves his job -- it's "playing with the big toys" -- and to get away from it, "all I have to do is go home. They don't treat me like anything special at home."

He also escapes the elusive grip of stardom by taking to the skies; his love for aviation has become a serious hobby, and one that he loves talking about. "It's a big part of my life," he says. "I take it very seriously, and it continues to be something that I try to learn more about."

Back on the job, Ford says he enjoys the company of great actors. "We certainly have a slew of them in this film," he says, referring to co-stars like Virginia Madsen, Robert Forster, Alan Arkin, Robert Patrick, Mary Lynn Rajskub and Paul Bettany. "Paul completely understands the craft of filmmaking. He has a fine instinct. We don't sit around and talk about acting. Whatever you bounce off him comes back with a nice spin."

Indeed, Ford comes across like a blue-collar man, likening his job to a "service occupation." "To a certain extent you want to know that you're serving people well -- that they might come back because they expect good service," he says. "If I've had a good day at work and I think I've come close to solving the problems we faced that day, then I'm a happy man."

Partial Filmography:
A Time for Killing (1967)
Journey to Shiloh (1968)
Zabriskie Point (1970)
Getting Straight (1970)
American Graffiti (1973)
The Conversation (1974)
Star Wars (1977)
Heroes (1977)
Force 10 from Navarone (1978)
Apocalypse Now (1979)
Hanover Street (1979)
The Frisco Kid (1979)
The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Blade Runner (1982)
Return of the Jedi (1983)
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
Witness (1985)
The Mosquito Coast (1986)
Frantic (1988)
Working Girl (1988)
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
Presumed Innocent (1990)
Regarding Henry (1991)
Patriot Games (1992)
The Fugitive (1993)
Clear and Present Danger (1994)
Sabrina (1995)
The Devil's Own (1997)
Air Force One (1997)
Six Days Seven Nights (1998)
Random Hearts (1999)
What Lies Beneath (2000)
K-19: The Widowmaker (2002)
Hollywood Homicide (2003)
Firewall (2006)
Blade Runner: The Final Cut (2007)
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
Crossing Over (2009)
Extraordinary Measures (2010)
Morning Glory (2010)
Cowboys & Aliens (2011)
42 (2013)
Paranoia (2013)
Ender's Game (2013)
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013)
The Expendables 3 (2014)
The Age of Adaline (2015)
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Movies Unlimtied