I read the new Harrison Ford GQ profile because of the headline about how he punched Ryan Gosling while shooting Blade Runner: 2049, a story Ryan already told GQ last year. By the end of the profile, the Ryan Gosling anecdote was the least interesting part of the article, despite Harrison’s best efforts to not say anything interesting at all. Which is actually the point of the piece – Harrison Ford, a proper movie star, has been doing this a long, long time. He’s already offered as much as he wants to offer. But he needs to promote his movie. So it becomes an exercise in how little to share without being rude. Because he’s certainly not rude here. In fact, he comes across rather thoughtful. At one point, after he keeps dodging the writer Chris Heath’s questions, he then comes back around to ask Chris, “I’m not hurting you, am I?”
Isn’t that an interesting way to word the question? And an interesting choice of words? A sensitive choice of words? They’re both there to do their jobs. Hurt feelings aren’t usually on the table. And being concerned with hurting someone usually isn’t the brand of action men. I wonder if that reveals more about Harrison Ford than he intended.
Here’s another quote that stood out to me, in response to being asked how he’s most like his father:
“I like a good joke. I like a nice glass of scotch. I recognize well-made clothes. And there's also a bit of an unscratchable itch somewhere.”
Harrison Ford pays attention to clothes. To tailoring. I like how that detail goes with the scotch. Like as “rugged” as his brand has been, this is a man who also observes a certain old-fashioned elegance. But before you go ahead and assume he hangs out in parlours smoking cigars and looking at his pocket-watch, please be assured that there’s also a restlessness about him and he’d eventually get bored in the salon and would need to get out to the frontier. In other words, the ultimate American male, a citizen and an explorer at the same time.
But even Harrison Ford is powerless to the whims of a teenager. This is probably my favourite part of the interview:
Ford has four children from his first two marriages and is father to the 16-year-old son of his third wife, Calista Flockhart. As we chat, Ford, in response to something I've asked, shares some fairly inconsequential anecdote about this 16-year-old, then halts himself. His tone shifts, and he starts speaking in that low, patient, unwavering voice that anyone who has seen him on-screen would recognize, the one his character uses when he wants to let it be known that he is about to start fighting back and everyone should be very scared.
“And if any reference to him should appear in an interview that I did,” Ford says, of his youngest son, “he'd kill me. Now. In my sleep.”
He imagines the headline out loud: “ ‘Tragedy Struck Hollywood Today…’ ”
I ask Ford if I might at least repeat what he just said.
“Yeah. I suppose,” Ford replies. “Just so he knows I'm thinking about him.”
So many times during their discussion, Harrison Ford tells Chris Heath how much he doesn’t give a f-ck, how he messes with studio executives all the time. How he argues with his directors, how often he tells Ridley Scott he’s wrong about the movie they made, the disdain he has for George Lucas’s dialogue. And he can’t piss off a 16 year old. It’s the best.
Who will be Harrison Ford? Warren Beatty comes up in the article. And Jack Nicholson and Clint Eastwood. They were talking about age and how Harrison has always been the oldest in Star Wars. And that only those dudes are older than he is. They’ve also all directed. And Harrison has never directed. Probably never will. To get back to the original question though – if George Clooney is Warren Beatty and Leonardo DiCaprio is Jack Nicholson and Mel Gibson maybe is Clint Eastwood, who’s Harrison Ford? Is it Brad Pitt?
Click here to read the full feature on Harrison Ford at GQ.
Yours in gossip,