While Harrison Ford is one of the few guys working right now who I could indisputably call “iconic,” I find myself ambivalent about his persona when he's giving interviews. I've had some good chats with him, and some that were more difficult, and it completely seems to be up to his mood at the moment we sit down.
The same can be said about his appearances on talk shows. He's done it well at times, and there are other interviews where it looks like he wants to crawl out of his skin, and for an actor, he seems to have no interest in disguising his feelings at all. He seems perfectly happy to snarl at someone if he thinks they ask him something stupid or obvious, which makes it extra-surprising that he was willing to do a Reddit AMA to help promote the new documentary series “Years Of Living Dangerously.”
“You all probably know me from movies such as Star Wars and Indiana Jones.” Understatement like that is impressive. If you want to go through all 9903 comments (as of mid-afternoon on Monday), you can do so here. There was discussion of his work as Han Solo and Indiana Jones, of course, but the closest thing to what could be called news came when he discussed the possibility of a sequel to “Blade Runner.”
First, someone asked if Rick Deckard was a replicant, and Ford replied, “I think that it's a wonderful storytelling mechanism for that question to be left unanswered,” then followed it up with, “I love that people are still curious about it.” It's so weird to see him talking about the film in what seem to be very fond terms. For a long time, it was perceived as a failure, and Ford didn't seem to want to get into the topic at all. For years, Ford seemed irritated by the mere suggestion that Deckard was a replicant, and I can see why. While Ridley Scott has certainly emphasized that in the more recent cuts of the film, it really wasn't until the workprint surfaced in the early '90s that people even began to seriously entertain that idea. The theatrical cut really didn't make that point, and I feel like it's something that Ridley Scott became enamored of after he finished the film, not during the actual production. It's one of the main reasons I have mixed feelings about directors tinkering with their films after the fact.
When someone asked what he thinks about appearing in a possible sequel to “Blade Runner,” something I'm still not convinced should happen, Ford said, “I'm quite curious and excited about seeing a new script for Blade Runner if in fact the opportunity would exist to do another, if it's a good script I would be anxious to work with Ridley Scott again, he's a very talented and passionate filmmaker. And I think it would be very interesting to revisit the character.”
The thing is, if there's a second film, any ambiguity that existed in the first film is going to go right out the window. After all, if we pick up with Rick Deckard and he's thirty years older than he was at the end of the first film, then I'm pretty sure he's not a replicant. And if Sean Young returns as Rachel, she's going to look like those three decades have passed and suddenly everything we know about the replicants from the first film goes out the window. So then if the entire film becomes about how they lived past their expiration dates, then it definitely pegs them as replicants, and if it's not about that, then I guess we're supposed to assume that he's just a human being. Either way, I'm not sure a sequel makes any sense. There's nothing that was left dangling that I actually want answered in another movie, and after “Prometheus,” I am really, really not sure I want to see Scott go back to dig into another classic film of his.
The best stuff came when he was allowed to discuss his personal interests, specifically regarding conservation. That's the Harrison Ford I like the most, a guy who seems uninterested as stardom except as an excuse to advance some worthwhile conversations. I love that this documentary series about Indonesia and environmental issues led to both Harrison Ford and James Cameron doing AMAs. It sounds like the show has some major ideas on its mind, and I will absolutely check it out. If that was the only thing they hoped to accomplish with these appearances, then mission accomplished, and it does sound like an important subject to discuss.
I also give him credit for two of his best answers to two of the dumbest questions. Someone asked who would win in a celebrity boxing match, Han Solo or Indiana Jones. “The promoter would win.” The other was when someone asked if Han shot first or not. “I don't know and I don't care.”
That's about as Harrison Ford an answer as Harrison Ford could possibly give to a question about Harrison Ford. Well-played, Now everyone get off his plane.
“Years Of Living Dangerously” will air Sundays on Showtime, and you can see the premiere episode again tonight, or on Showtime's website for free.