Shooting action and fight scenes at 63 years old is just old hat for the veteran actor
For 30 years, his name has opened eyes and excited millions of people around the world - Harrison Ford. From Hans Solo in the Star Wars series and Indiana Jones to Jack Ryan in the Tom Clancy classics, Harrison has been bringing action and excitement to the big screen.
In his latest film, Firewall, his family is held hostage by Paul Bettany who also forces Harrison to steel $20 million from the bank he works at. It's a thriller and action-packed film.
Harrison spoke to Movieweb about his latest film and shooting the fight scenes. Here's what he had to say:
You look different with a goatee.
Harrison Ford: Really. (laughing) Good thing I showed up here or I might have never known.
It's just we're not used to seeing you with facial hair; is it for a role you're doing?
Harrison Ford: Yeah, I'm doing a film called Manhunt which takes place in Civil War time; it's about the capture of John Wilkes Booth. Facial hair was a standard. Plus, I don't have to see much of my face. (laughing)
What attracted you to this film?
Harrison Ford: It was the story; I found it interesting to do a story that was based on contemporary issues of computer privacy and identity theft. I think people are interested in that. And what I saw for myself was a character with an interesting acting problem, which was sustaining the tension that this character was under for 95 percent of this film; there are brief moments where we see him in a resting state. Quickly, we come to the point where this guy is under extreme pressure and to me it was interesting how to phrase that simple kind of melody that it does become interesting and that energy that it does sustain and build in that right way.
You called Virginia for this role; why did you want her?
Harrison Ford: Because it was Virginia, and we wanted her to be in the film. She was getting a lot of scripts and a lot of attention because of her nomination for Sideways. Her agent said she was interested and I was nominated by the group to call and encourage her to come and join us; it's just standard.
But was it something about her?
Harrison Ford: Yeah, her body of work has developed over the years; I thought of her as being a highly capable actress. When we went to cast this part, her name came up, amongst many others. All of us felt she would be the best choice.
Everyone said you like to do the action; is that something that you gravitate towards?
Harrison Ford: I do do the action as much as possible; I always have from the very beginning. I think it's very important to be able to look into the character and feel his fear, or his triumph, or his pain, or his exhaustion, than to be on the back of a stunt man's head. And I know how to do it; I've been doing it for 30 years, it's no big deal. And it's not that I wanted to do the action, all of the action, it's just I knew, I know how to do it. I know how to do it safely, I know how to do it without hurting other people, without hurting myself; just do it, it's not a big deal.
Was there ever a time where there was an argument about the stuntman doing the stunt rather than you?
Harrison Ford: No, I never had to, because I work with people I trust, and who trust me. And there have been times where I've said ‘I can do that if you want me to' and they ‘I think it would be better if they do it' or whoever is doubling me for it. There's one scene in this film that I didn't do in the fight sequence; and I knew it was going to hurt, and the stuntman knew it was going to hurt " and we were both right, it hurt. (lots of laughing)
The director said you were in great shape; do you have a regiment, do you play tennis?
Harrison Ford: I play tennis as much as possible, four or five times a week if I'm off, probably three times a week when I'm working. But that's about it, I've suffered a very lucky, genetic accident.
In regards to that, is there anything you're doing to get ready for Indiana Jones 4; is there anything you can tell us about that?
Harrison Ford: I'm just waiting for the script to be ready; everybody agrees that we're close, we're excited about it, I'm looking forward to working with Steven (Spielberg) again. The audience is there for it; I'm looking forward to it.
Virginia said you were very protective of the children on the set over the language; what do you have to say about that?
Harrison Ford: What the f*ck is she talking about it? (lots of laughter) No, I have children, and I respect that, and I respect their innocence. But these are not innocent children; (lots of laughing) these are highly trained professional actors in little bodies. Both of them are remarkably gifted young actors, and it's just a joy to watch them. As it is to watch our five year old appropriate and understand; watching my child is very interesting to me.
Did you introduce Jimmy Bennett to your child?
Harrison Ford: No, I didn't, I didn't; Liam didn't come to the set. We shot it in Vancouver, and he was in school. But I took off every weekend I could to go see him.
What about the rain; is that difficult to work in?
Harrison Ford: Well, it's atmospheric, an interesting additive; it's a physical reality, but it's a bonus. It creates behavior that is appropriate to raining. And every time a circumstance where you have a reality " you get wet in this rain " that means you do this (action of wiping face, scraping shoulders), it gives you another reality, just another additive reality so that texture is really important.
So it makes it easier as an actor.
Harrison Ford: I wouldn't go that far. (laughing) At the same time, it's a total pain in the ass. It's very hard to light; I'm sure Richard told you it's impossible to light real rain. Just when you're ready to go, it stops, so you do have to make rain. It takes a lot of time to light it properly sp you can see the rain, but I thought it was good for the movie and the mood of the film.
No one will go to Seattle again after seeing this movie.
Harrison Ford: Well, when they find out it was shot in Vancouver.
(other reporter) I'm from Vancouver and I'm not telling anyone.
Harrison Ford: You're not?
No, we don't want anyone thinking it rains all the time.
Harrison Ford: Well, it didn't; this film takes place over a day and a half or two days, so it does rain occasionally (laughing) for that period of time.
Do you find it hard to get excited anymore about doing films?
Harrison Ford: No, when you start working, and you start working with menusha???? (have no idea what he says), and detail, and taking stuff apart and putting it back together, you get your hands dirty on it, it becomes exciting again. I've spent my life learning to do this, and it's where I feel most comfortable; it's what I have the experience of, and what I've learned about. It's my discipline, it's my profession. And I love the challenge, and I love working with a group of people in trying to define a challenge for ourselves, set a challenge for ourselves, how we're going to meet the challenge. I love working with crew and the actors, that's what I like.
After Manhunt, do you have any projects after that or are you waiting for Indiana Jones 4?
Harrison Ford: I have about four or five things in development right now which are beginning to bear through, so I'm not sure what's going to be after Manhunt.
Any romantic comedies?
Harrison Ford: I'm not developing any romantic comedies.
Is that something you'd be interested in doing?
Harrison Ford: I like to do all kinds of genre's; I want to do comedy, I want to do drama, straight drama's, I want to do thrillers, I want to do all kind of things. It's just a question of having real good material; if I found a real good romantic comedy that was age appropriate, I'd be happy to do it.
Firewall opens in theaters everywhere this Friday.