Harrison Ford Swaps Heroes for Humor
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – He’s a Hollywood hero who doesn’t say much but he finds lost Arks of the Covenant, battles poisonous snakes and space invaders and pretty much kicks butt from one end of the universe to the other.
Now Harrison Ford at the ripe age of almost 61 has decided to do something completely different: He wants to make you laugh.
It’s not so much that the rugged, quintessentially American hero wants to reinvent himself. It’s just that beneath that gruff exterior, that well-known dislike of interviews and all those “sexiest man alive” accolades, Harrison Ford has a sense of humor, and now he wants to show it.
He’s only hung up his action hero hat until he starts shooting a fourth Indiana Jones movie next year. But in his new movie, “Hollywood Homicide,” opening Friday in the United States, Ford is not only funny. He also has a screen sidekick in Josh Hartnett who rivals his own status as a heartthrob.
Ford even pulls off a joke about that, telling his screen lover at one point in the movie, “If I can find the ginkgo, I remember to take the Viagra.”
He plays a cop — again — and as usual he gets the villain in the end after a series of thrilling car chases and stunts — many of which he performs himself.
Ford said he took the role as world-weary Los Angeles police detective Joe Gavilan because of the “comic opportunities.”
“I was looking for a comedy because lately I’ve been doing more serious roles … In the comedies I have done, mostly romantic comedies, I’m more or less the straight man. This was one situation where I can take advantage of the opportunity to push it a little bit,” Ford told Reuters.
Hartnett plays Ford’s unlikely partner — a young detective who not only has trouble shooting straight but has a lucrative sideline as a yoga teacher and, this being Los Angeles, secret aspirations to be an actor.
“Much of the comedy is built on the difference between the two characters — generational, attitudes about the (cop) business, their tastes in music,” said Ford.
Ford is not exactly cracking jokes yet during media interviews and sometimes he looks as if he wishes he were back at his Wyoming ranch flying his helicopter.
Ford has often bristled at the suggestion that he plays heroes, preferring to describe his screen roles as “guys that behave well under difficult circumstances.”
But the famously tight-lipped actor does raise a quizzical eyebrow when asked whether he identifies with his “Hollywood Homicide” character — a man he describes as “better at work than at life.”
“Maybe we have that in common,” the twice-divorced superstar concedes. “I wouldn’t be surprised … He’s not meant to be perfect in any aspect of life. Part of his charm is his failure to be perfect but nonetheless resolute and hard-working and focused on what he needs to do.”
START WITH WONDERFUL
Ford took the role of Gavilan when the movie was still at the concept stage with no script. “I start with wonderful, and ask for it to get better. I knew a wonderful Russian lady architect. I would come to her with proposals for changes and refinements, and she would very patiently listen to my ideas and say ‘no limit for better’ and that’s pretty much a maxim I live by,” he said.
Although “Hollywood Homicide” follows Ford’s Russian submarine drama “K-19:The Widowmaker,” which was a box-office disappointment last year, he has starred in four of the 10 highest-grossing movies of all time — “Star Wars,” “The Empire Strikes Back,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “Return of the Jedi.”
In May he got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, attending the ceremony with his constant companion of the past year, former “Ally McBeal” star Calista Flockhart.
Ford says he feels under no pressure to keep delivering blockbuster hits, nor any desire to direct (“too hard, takes too long”). But he has signed up for a long-awaited fourth Indiana Jones movie, although prying out details is as challenging as trying to find that Lost Ark.
“We start shooting summer of 2004, Steven (Spielberg) is going to direct. That’s all I can say yet,” he said.
Harrison Ford Swaps Heroes for Humor