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INT: Harrison Ford

02.08.2006

When will bad guys learn to stop messing with Harrison Ford? Sure, he may look like your typical, mild-mannered businessman/CIA analyst/President/detective/archeologist/wrongly imprisoned doctor, but inside that calm exterior lurks a snarling badass, determined to exact vengeance on those who've wronged him. And whatever you do, don't mess with his family. Then you'll REALLY see him get pissed off. I sure wasn’t about to mess with him when stopped by the Regent Beverly Wilshire last week to talk about his latest film, FIREWALL. Check it out.

Harrison Ford

What’s up with the facial hair? Is it for a role you’re doing?

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.

What attracted you to this film?

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 specifically contacted Virginia Madsen to play the role of your wife. Why?

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?

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.

Your known as someone who likes to do your own action sequences (as opposed to a stuntman). Why?

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 stuntman’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…it’s not a big deal.

Do you ever get into arguments about whether a stuntman should be doing the stunt rather than you?

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 say, “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. (laughs)

Your director, Richard Loncraine, said you were in great shape. How do you stay fit?

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? What can you tell us about that project?

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 both very protective of the children on the set in regards to bad language.

What the f*ck is she talking about it? (laughs) No, I have children and I respect that. And I respect their innocence. But these are not innocent children, 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 the mind of a child is very interesting to me.

There seems to be a lot of rain in this movie; how difficult is that to work in?

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 – it gives you another reality, just another additive reality so that texture is really important.

So it makes it easier as an actor.

I wouldn’t go that far. (laughs) 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 so you can see the rain, but I thought it was good for the movie and the mood of the film.

Are you still able to get excited about the process of making films?

When you start working, and you start working with minutia 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?

I have about four or five things in development right now which are beginning to bear fruit, so I’m not sure what’s going to be after Manhunt.

Questions? Comments? Manifestos? Send them to me at thomasleupp@joblo.com.

Source: JoBlo.com

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