Sharp as a tack

Seventy-five-year-old Har­ri­son Ford does not have time for im­per­ti­nent ques­tions, thank you very much.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Showbiz - en­ter­tain­ment@thes­tar.com.my Philip Berk

AT his press con­fer­ence for Blade Run­ner 2049, 75-year-old Har­ri­son Ford is a rev­e­la­tion. Af­ter his plane crash and the con­tro­versy sur­round­ing that ac­ci­dent, you ex­pect him to be all the worse for wear.

But age­less is how I de­scribe him.

I tell him so and ask him how old he feels to­day. Jok­ingly he re­fuses to give a num­ber.

Not only does he look in­or­di­nately healthy, he’s good-na­turedly com­bat­ant and sharp as In­di­ana Jones’ whip.

When asked an im­per­ti­nent ques­tion, he re­sponds ac­cord­ingly.

For ex­am­ple:

Do you know what suit you are wear­ing?

No. And if I did know, I wouldn’t tell you. I am not here to sell clothes.

How do you ex­plain your love of fly­ing planes?

I am here to ex­plain the love that I have for moviemak­ing.

Does fame make it more dif­fi­cult to dis­tin­guish be­tween what is real or not?

No, it’s an op­por­tu­nity to help you find out who you re­ally are, which is not nec­es­sar­ily what peo­ple think you are.

Can you elab­o­rate?

No, I felt it was a pretty good an­swer.

What did it teach you about your­self?

I mean this in the nicest way, but it’s none of your busi­ness.

Of course, Ford was not al­ways this curt. I re­call his first press con­fer­ence; in the early days he played hard to get, but when the 1986 film Mos­quito Coast needed a boost he was there.

At the time I re­minded him that he’d been in more block­busters than any other ac­tor in film his­tory, and asked him why. His in­gen­u­ous an­swer was, “Luck, I sup­pose.”

Ford mar­ried ac­tress Cal­ista Flock­hart in 2010. He was mar­ried twice be­fore and is the fa­ther of four sons and a daugh­ter, none of whom are pur­su­ing an act­ing ca­reer.

Why have you al­ways picked big ac­tion ad­ven­ture movies through­out your ca­reer?

Au­di­ences ob­vi­ously en­joy them. That’s why a lot of them are made. I’ve had a good track record with them, but I’m al­ways am­bi­tious to do dif­fer­ent sorts of films.

What’s the se­cret of your suc­cess?

It’s all luck. I just do the best job I can, and I work hard at what I do.

Does it bother you that you’ve been nom­i­nated only once for an Os­car?

I don’t take it per­son­ally. When I was nom­i­nated for Wit­ness, I didn’t ex­pect to win. I didn’t be­come part of the process.

I don’t re­ally be­lieve that you should give awards. I don’t be­lieve in this com­pe­ti­tion among artists.

Are you a method ac­tor?

Well, I don’t take the char­ac­ter home with me, if that’s what you mean. I usu­ally set­tle on one ap­proach to a scene, but I am very much in­flu­enced by what other ac­tors bring to that scene.

I en­joy the sur­prise. I don’t like to re­hearse much. It takes away the spon­tane­ity, and it gives the other ac­tors a chance to see what you’re go­ing to do.

So, I pre­fer go­ing for a take to pre­serve the fresh­ness of the ex­pe­ri­ence for both of us.

Af­ter watch­ing a per­for­mance on screen, do you ever feel you could have done bet­ter?

I’m not sure per­fec­tion is a right­eous goal.

You were in the orig­i­nal Blade Run­ner in 1982. What thoughts went through your mind the first day of shoot­ing Blade

Run­ner 2049?

I was grate­ful for the scripted op­por­tu­nity, to take the char­ac­ter into a dif­fer­ent place. I was grate­ful for the 30 years that had passed and the nar­ra­tive ac­count­ing for that time.

And af­ter see­ing the film?

I was glad that de­spite its spec­ta­cle and the epic scale of it, there is in­ti­mate hu­man emo­tion, and I say hu­man in the Blade Run­ner way.

It’s com­pli­cated and it’s rich and it’s a plea­sure for an ac­tor to have that emo­tional ac­cess to the au­di­ence.

Do you still en­joy fly­ing?

I only fly to get to work on movies. I con­fly, tinue to and it’s an im­por­tant part of life. But so is this (moviemak­ing).

I love the chal­lenge of (fly­ing) and I love the blend of free­dom and re­spon­si­bil­ity that it rep­re­sents.

I am deeply aware of what the air­plane has brought us in re­spect to tech­nol­ogy and how it has ad­vanced the world.

It’s a com­pli­cated sub­ject and I only have a lit­tle bit of time to talk about the movie, but I talk fast, and let it be noted, I talked about fly­ing, OK?

Is there any rea­son why you never speak out on be­half of so­cial or po­lit­i­cal causes? Aren’t you in­ter­ested?

I’m very in­ter­ested in a lot of is­sues – con­ser­va­tion, child wel­fare, women’s rights, and I sup­port these as a pri­vate cit­i­zen, but I refuse to be a celebrity spokesman for any of them.

There are ex­perts in these fields, and I pre­fer to hear what they have to say on the sub­ject.

These prob­lems are far too im­por­tant to be fought out on the bat­tle­ground as a celebrity. But I am ac­tively in­volved with Con­ser­va­tion In­ter­na­tional.

What ad­vice do you have for young ac­tors?

I tell them to be use­ful. I once got a great piece of ad­vice from (di­rec­tor) Mike Ni­chols, who was a great man, funny and smart. And he said this about the busi­ness, “Don’t let them turn you into a thing.”

I am not go­ing to ex­plain it, be­cause it’s for all of us to think about.

When you look back on your ca­reer what are you most proud of?

If I look back at my ca­reer, the most I think about is how lucky I have been. I have worked with ex­tra­or­di­nary peo­ple who have given me ex­tra­or­di­nary op­por­tu­nity, and they have given me ful­fil­ment be­yond my wildest imag­i­na­tion. They have given me pur­pose, and it’s bet­ter than a real job.

Photo: AP

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