It may be impossible to overstate the microscope that Harrison Ford was under when he started production on Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner.”
After all, he was both Indiana Jones and Han Solo (twice) by the time he started production on the Ridley Scott film that promised to be the first major shake-up of his newly minted movie star image, and an R-rated existential drama disguised as a science-fiction action film was a pretty bold next step for Ford. Much of his career seems to be defined by major successes, but I always find the moments where Ford tried to stretch and got roughed up in the process to be the most interesting moments.
I remember how brutal the reviews were for “Blade Runner” and how the box-office stories went way past reporting and felt more like bloodsport. It was a weird summer overall. The movie that no one had on their radar ahead of time, Spielberg’s “E.T.”, had turned into a box office juggernaut, and some of the movies with the best pedigrees were going belly up. It was the summer I learned conclusively that my taste does not always align with the mainstream, as I was head over heels for “Conan The Barbarian” and “The Thing” and “Blade Runner.” And it was one of the first times I ever remember reading strange stories about production on a film, in this case reports of a bald Harrison Ford.
When I sat down with him to discuss his latest movie, “Paranoia,” I couldn’t help but bring up those reports, since there was so much energy and attention focused on Ford’s hair, especially considering he wasn’t actually bald in the final film. In “Paranoia,” he is most assuredly bald, and it took me by surprise when he made his first appearance in the movie. I didn’t know it until that moment, and it seems like these days, Ford’s free to make choices without the media melting down and hyperanalyzing them ahead of time. I did notice that the one-sheets for the film crop Ford’s face right below the hairline so you don’t see the top of his head.
Of all the times I’ve spoken to Ford, I think this one went the best, and it seems like he’s easier to speak with the more time we meet. Part of it is that I’m finally over the shock of being face to face with arguably the biggest icon of my life as a moviegoer.
I’ll have some more on “Paranoia” later in the week. The film opens this Friday in theaters everywhere.