Harrison Ford interview

Buzz Bumble

Furry Ewok
Be warned, there's a lot of indecipherable rambling in this interview from the local newspaper ...

Return of the Whipper Snapper

The most anticipated movie of the year stars a 65-year-old man in a role he first played 27 years ago.. But Harrison Ford had no doubt about resuming the character, he tells Jordan Riefe.

Harrison Ford doesn't remember the first of the 80 days he spent on the set of the fourth Indiana Jones movie. He does remember, though, being reintroduced to the good doctor.

A helicopter arrived at his house carrying costumer Bernie Pollack. He was carrying a certain hat, a certain leather jacket and some shoes that were a little worse for wear. They had come from the archives of the franchise which had seemingly shut up shop after Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade ended the original hit trilogy in 1989.

"And when I put it on, even at home, I felt like the character. And it's easy enough, you put on a jacket and a hat and carry a whip, the whole thing, the shoes were worn-in - I felt the character come back to me."

The moment had been a long time - and many draft scripts - coming. But now Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which is - like its predecessors - directed by Steven Spielberg and produced and co-written by George Lucas, is about to land. Also starring Cate Blanchett as a Soviet villain (it's set in 1957), Raiders of the Loast Ark love interest Karen Allen, Hollywood up-and-comer Shia La Beouf as a teenage sidekick, Crystal Skull has its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on 18 May before starting its global assault the following week.

All of which puts the spotlight back on Ford like it hasn't been in years. He sounds happily undaunted ...

How many scripts did you guys go through?
I saw about three and some of the ideas in the first one, some of the characters from the second, and then there was a residue of both in the third, and some of them were amplified and some of them were dropped. It was a process that I was largely not involved in, because George is sort of the global authority. And then when George and Steven work together it's to get a script, and then I saw the script. And we all three had to agree on whether we wanted to do it or not, in order to make it happen. And it was a long process, but we were all doing other things at the same time. Nobody was sitting at home waiting for another Indy script, neither George or Steven nor myself.

So when did you seriously start to consider a new Indy?
I think a couple of years after the last one. It's also satisfying for an audience, and that's the way I see my job as a storyteller, an assistant storyteller, and if people don't like to listen, you need to think a little bit about it because it's a service occupation. And if they don't want to listen, then get somebody else to do the talking, the storytelling. So there was no doubt in my mind that it would be worthy to do it again.

How do you stay so fit and young-looking?
I don't work very hard at it. I think I'm lucky genetically, but I do run. You look at people these days, 75-year-old men running a marathon, and women. So it's, y'know, medicine has been very, very good to all of us and we're able to maintain a degree of vitality until our later years, as it were. But I feel great. I didn't have to work so hard to get into shape because I maintain myself. The thing about going to the gym is it hurts a lot more if you stop and you start again. It's much easier just to do a little. And for me it's about, y'know, supporting the skeleton. It's not about looking great, it's about feeling strong and feeling energy and the vitality.

How do you see Indy fitting into today's world?
I think people have been watching this film with their families, the last three films, for 17 years. They've been released in little towns, they've enjoyed great success in their releases. I think there's an opportunity to bring a fresh new film, to bring people who have been exposed before or haven't been exposed because they weren't born 17 ago, or 27 years ago, to experience of this kind of film or this character and I think there's a huge audience out there for it. It's the most anticipated movie of the year. I feel like we robbed a bank and got away from the cops, but just haven't had the chance to look in the bag and see how much we got away with. I know it's going to be successful, no doubt about it ... it's just a question of, y'know, how successful, which is not really that interesting, but I do anticipate that it's not going to be a waste of money to have made this movie.

Has it been hard not to let the word out about what audiences can expect?
Well, what do you know? Not a lot. There's a lot more to know. We used our best efforts to sort of keep the surprise of it all because the best way to see a film is to walk in off the streets and know nothing. I think that if you can protect yourself from wanting to know, or caring about knowing, you'll be well served.

Can you talk about the film's female characters?
In each of the films the relationship with the women was a very big part of the story for [Indy]. Each of them was distinctly different. So we have the chance to explore the possibilities of the kind of relationships based on the nature of the woman and the special circumstances of this story, and we also had the chance to explore the relationship with a young boy in the second one, in the nicest possible way, with the sidekick character. But in this one, I don't want to give too much away about the character that Cate Blanchett plays. She is a devil. She is a very incredibly strong and powerful villain and it's a great opportunity for an actress to play that kind of role, I think she relished it. And it's kind of quirky, she is a wonderful actress, inventive, a very entertaining actress. I found it great working with her.

And you're reunited with Karen Allen here.
Karen was there at the beginning. Her story - the story of our relationship, we've got to this in a really wonderful way. And I wouldn't want to give it away, but Karen is a very attractive, interesting, textured actress. It was great to work with her again.

And Sean Connery?
We don't need Sean. I'm old enough to play my own father. No Sean - of course we were disappointed. I would love to have Sean back, but I think Sean prefers golf to acting and probably makes more money for it. But he also, he's got a great passion for government and I think he really wants to use his time and energy to focus on giving back to Scotland.

Did you take Shia under your wing?
Under my wing? He doesn't need to be fledged. He's a whole, grown ego. He's been acting since he was 17 years old. He knows as much about it as I do. He does not need my wing for protection. He's a hardworking, thoughtful kid with a real understanding of how film works and how to work with people. He was wonderful. He was fun to work with.

What has Indy been doing for the past 20 years?
Watching his old movies. No, we don't have that story. I think you're free to invent your own. You'll find him back teaching school and engaged in archaeological research, as he was last time. But time has passed and it's a different period in history and the problems that he confronts are just problems from that period in history.

Would you be interested in revisiting other characters, like Han Solo?
Han Solo is not so interesting. There's a very narrow sort of utility in his story. It was great for my career and it was fun to play at the time, but I wouldn't go back there again. Those pants! [he laughs]. But there are characters that it seems to me worth exploring, given that the story enhances your understanding of the character, deepens your relationship with it and takes you into an area that's new and unexpected.

Do you hope there'll be an Indiana Jones 5?
I don't hope. I would make myself available. But nobody is anticipating that at this point in time.

Planet Syndication
TimeOut, NZ Herald
1 May, 2008
Errr... okay. :confused:
At least we now know why actors need someone to write scripts for them. ;)

Buzz Bumble

Furry Ewok
On the end of that interview there was a competition for Auckland fans to win tickets to the New Zealand premiere on 21 May, and the public release is on 22 May.

The TV3 network here are playing the original three Indiana Jones movies over the next three weekends (starts this weekend - in about 30 minutes).

I do know we get the Clone Wars movie first. :)