“I feel comfortable wrestling with how to make behavior out of words on a page and tell a story, and I’m still excited about the prospect of telling a story.” – Harrison Ford
In early 2023, Harrison Ford sat for a rare interview — and those who have followed Ford’s career know that he has a reputation for not talking much to the press and not always having the most open conversations when he actually does. In fact, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter to promote his AppleTV+ series Shrinking, Ford flat out says, “You’ve hit on the first rule of Acting Club: Don’t talk about acting.” However, Ford did share his thoughts on his career — particularly why he continues to act despite sometimes giving off the air that he’d rather be flying his plane.
When asked if he learned anything new by starring in his first role on a television comedy series with Shrinking, Ford says he did not. He explains, “Would it be arrogant to say that I didn’t learn anything? […] Well, look, I really didn’t learn anything. (Laughs.) It’s about being in the room where it happens and being appropriate to the circumstances and welcoming the opportunity to generate something with a little spontaneity and a measure of truth.”
Despite saying that the first rule of acting is to not talk about acting, Ford does share what he felt like when he first started acting. He recalls, “I was shy when I first went onstage — I wasn’t shy, I was f***ing terrified. My knees would shake so badly, you could see it from the back of the theater. But that’s not social anxiety. That’s being unfamiliar with the territory. I was able to talk myself through that and then enjoy the experience of being onstage and telling a story with collaborators. ”
Though Ford acts less frequently than he did at the height of his career, he notes that he is still doing it because it’s where he feels like he can contribute something. He shares, “I think it’s the place I feel most useful. It’s what I know the most about. I lost my chops as a carpenter. I haven’t ever played fiddle. But I feel comfortable wrestling with how to make behavior out of words on a page and tell a story, and I’m still excited about the prospect of telling a story. I think this is a service occupation — telling stories. We need it. Whether it’s drawing on caves or religious tenets, we love telling stories. […] I like playing an old guy. If I wasn’t having a good time, I would stop doing it.”
Ford has appeared in over 60 movies and it’s fair to say he has had an established type in most of them. Still, Ford does like to veer from his standard role when he can. He reveals, “I like occasionally to play a character that’s very unlike me, and sometimes it’s less commercially successful than films where people are coming because they know the product and what I’m likely to do in it. Every time I wanted to wear a beard or mustache, [former Warner Bros. chairman] Bob Daly would say: ‘I’m paying for Harrison Ford’s face, I want to see Harrison Ford’s face!’ I finally beat him in The Fugitive by playing a guy with a beard to start with.”