I’ve interviewed Harrison Ford several times now, and I think I’m starting to get the hang of it.
The simple truth of it is that the first time you meet Harrison Ford, you can do everything possible to stay cool, but if you grew up with “Star Wars” and “Raiders” as major pop culture landmarks as I did, staying cool really isn’t an option. I didn’t wig out the first time we sat down, but internally, I remember basically just screaming “OHMYGOD!” the entire time we were talking. The second interview went a little bit better, and certainly Ford has always been professional in conversation. But it’s hard not to get the feeling that you’re annoying him, and I think that’s just the way he is with press. It does not appear to be something he enjoys doing, and being aware of that, I am always hoping to make the brief moment we have to speak just a little less painful for him.
First rule, and this isn’t something that was enforced by his publicists, but rather just plain common sense: don’t bring up “Star Wars.” For one thing, he’s not going to answer the question. For another thing, he probably doesn’t know anything at this point. The script is still up on blocks, and until they get ready to start production, I’m sure he’s happy just to let them do their thing and he can focus on whatever else he’s got going.
Second rule, try not to treat him like an unapproachable icon. I get the feeling Ford is very no-nonsense in the way he deals with people. Treat him like a normal person you just want to talk craft with, and he’ll treat you the same way. Treat him like you’re freaking out, like you want a piece of him, and he’ll withdraw.
This time around, I was sitting down with him to discuss his work in “Paranoia,” a thriller starring Ford, Gary Oldman, Liam Hemsworth, and Amber Heard. We talked about “Paranoia,” about his real-life inspirations, and about working with Oldman again, but I had one very particular thing I wanted to discuss with him at the end of the interview.
Recently, when talking to Adam McKay about Ford’s appearance in “Anchorman 2,” it sounded to me like a pretty wild day, and I had to ask Ford about it. His answer may be the single most engaged moment I’ve had with Ford in any of our three interviews, and his smile spoke volumes to the way he felt about the experience.
As we shut the cameras off and I went to leave, I followed up with one more comment. “McKay said that the first hour or so, he was just enjoying his sudden ability to make Indiana Jones say ‘fuck.'”
Ford started laughing and shook his head. “That’s not difficult,” he said, just before I thanked him and left the room.
We’ll have the whole interview for you soon, but for now, just enjoy a smiling Ford and imagine what sort of shenanigans involving him we’ll see in theaters this December.
“Paranoia” opens in theaters August 16, 2013.