Harrison Ford is on the promo tour for Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. Last week the film premiered at Cannes to a warm reception–for Ford, not so much the film. But since they’re promising billing this as Indy’s final adventure, I think the PR team can take the Ford-love and run with it. So here he is with a new profile in Esquire. Ford is long known for being blunt, if not downright ornery, in interviews, and right off the bat the writer comes off as exceedingly earnest (during their first meeting he told Ford that “with every assignment, I always try to write the greatest magazine profile ever written.”) So was this a mis-match between author and subject? Perhaps, but they still found a way to write a compelling, and certainly honest, glimpse at Ford:
“Is it fun, making a Marvel movie?”: “Uh,” he said. “Yeah. I mean, there are tough days and easy days and fun days and all kinds of days. It’s a tough schedule and, yeah, it’s fun. But it’s not a walk in the park. It’s not fun fun. It’s work.”
Don’t f— up his eggs: The waiter comes to take our order. You get to pick how you want your eggs with the Farmer’s Breakfast, and Ford says, “Poached, please–and runny.” And here he turns his gaze from the menu up to the waiter, looks deep into his eyes with a sudden ferocity, curls his lips around his teeth, and says, “And when I say runny, I mean run-nee!” as if he’s in The Fugitive saying, “I didn’t kill my wife!” The waiter does a small bow, manages a smile, and whispers, “Okay.”
Getting back off the horse: Early in The Dial of Destiny, there’s a scene in which Jones is riding a horse on a subway platform in Manhattan. As Ford finished the scene, he felt hands all over his legs and, he says, “I thought, what the f—? Like I was being attacked by gropers. I look down and there’s three stunt guys there making sure I didn’t fall off the stirrup. They said, Oh, we were just afraid because we thought, you know, and bah bah bah bah. And I said, Leave me the f— alone, I’m an old man–” He’s raising his voice now. “Sorry.” He lowers his voice, but his fingers are drumming like mad. “Leave me alone, I’m an old man getting off a horse and”–loud voice again, he can’t help it–“I want it to look like that!”
Is he high?: “Flying is the tension between freedom and responsibility,” he says, “the obligation on every flight to ensure the safety of the people aboard. It’s serious. And I continually have to meet the standards.” He pauses, then smiles and holds a finger up. “And: It’s the third dimension! We’re living the two-dimensional life here on the ground.”
The Publicity Sheriff: Harrison Ford knows how to get through this life with his self intact. And it’s not just because he’s eighty. He had it forty-six years ago. “We did publicity for the first Star Wars together–we traveled together,” Mark Hamill says. “Harrison was like the father figure. He would give us little report cards after an appearance. ‘You know, Mark, you were a little glib there.’ ‘Carrie, you’re so sarcastic all the time.’ Carrie [Fisher] and I called him the Publicity Sheriff. But more than that, I can’t tell you how many times in my life and my career when I’ve asked myself, WWHD?”
Overall I felt the piece followed a flow of laying out the expected, grumpy Ford at the beginning to then finding the more nuanced person in there. I’ll be honest, Ford has never been one of my favorite actors and I definitely spent the first third of this piece annoyed at him. But my impression of him changed as the profile went on, and then I felt differently about his behavior at the beginning that had originally irked me.
To be fair to Ford, there were thoughtful, dare I say deep moments he shared that I did not highlight above. Why? Perhaps I’m just as ornery as he is, and I really wanted to put focus on the bits that made me laugh. Like his Dr. Seuss answer to the Marvel question (‘there are tough days, there are fun days, there are blue days, there are green days’) to the revelation that he, Harrison Ford, Mr. ‘I Know Who the F— I Am’, this man was giving PR notes to Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher! HA! So for the full picture, yes do read the whole article. For those who’d rather not I’ll answer for you now: Yes, they f—ed up his eggs.
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