Harrison Ford is currently on TV (“TV”) twice over with the Yellowstone prequel series, 1923, and Shrinking on Apple TV+, but he also has a major film coming out this year, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. Harrison Ford is 80, and he is busy, which is the theme of his new cover profile in The Hollywood Reporter. He’s mostly promoting Shrinking—which comes from Ted Lasso co-collaborators Bill Lawrence and Brett Goldstein—but Indiana Jones comes up, of course. When asked about the negative reception of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Ford says, “[The critics] were harsh on it, but what are they doing now?[…] They were imposing their rules on what the movie should be.”
I mean, I’m right here, still a critic and skeptical as hell about Dial of Destiny. I love Indy, but Crystal Skull broke something in me, and the problem was not “imposing rules” on the film, because at bare minimum, a film should be entertaining, and that one is not. I could get into a detailed analysis of all the ways the film fails itself as a piece of entertainment and Indy as a character, but I’ll settle with what I wrote back in 2016, when the topic of Indy 5 first came up:
Indiana Jones isn’t really a character. He’s an archetype—Adventure Hero In Cool Hat And Jacket—that you drop into different stories. Indy doesn’t change.
I WANT Dial of Destiny to work. I want to be wrong about this. Please let me be wrong!
Not that I mind Harrison Ford disengaging from critical discourse. He’s pretty disengaged from all discourses, ever, partly by stature—one of the last Movie Stars—and partly by temperament. What makes this interview, by James Hibberd, so fun is imagining Harrison Ford saying all these things. You know how sometimes interviews come with little videos of the photoshoot? I don’t need a photoshoot video of Ford, I NEED a video transcript of him saying the following:
“Well, there’s not a lot of space on a tombstone.”
“I haven’t got a f-cking clue.”
“I really didn’t learn anything.”
“That’d be a ‘no.’”
That last one is in response to being asked about Botox. Please, PLEASE show us the footage of Harrison Ford being asked about getting Botox. I would pay real human money to see this. The best thing about Ford being so busy is he’s doing way more interviews than we’ve had in a while. And Harrison Ford interviews are gold. He’s famously grumpy, but he’s also thoughtful, discussing here therapy, philosophy, his approach to the business, to fame. He speaks very little about acting, which is fine, because there’s nothing worse than actors talking about acting like it’s hard, which Ford does not do. He acknowledges it’s not hard, and that it’s boring to listen to actors talk about acting (unless you are, yourself, an actor, in which case knock yourself out but please exclude the rest of us from the narrative).
In his own way, Ford is as good at being a Movie Star as Tom Cruise is. Nobody delivers spectacle better than Tom Cruise, but no one is better at being The Hero than Harrison Ford. In the classic, archetypical sense, Ford is GREAT at being The Hero. He communicates wit, charm, style, and just enough humanity to keep things believable. It’s that quality that not only fuels his most beloved characters like Han Solo, Rick Deckard, and Indiana Jones, but also makes silly sh-t like Air Force One work.
And it’s a bit of a shame he’s SO good at it, because he is a genuinely good actor and the acting-first roles like Regarding Henry and What Lies Beneath get unfairly overshadowed. (To a lesser extent, this is true of Witness, arguably his best film, but Witness also trades on The Hero archetype, so it is remembered more in line with his other, more hero-driven films.) I make a lot of jokes about grumpiness, and I am suuuuuper shady about Indy 5, I know, but I do enjoy Harrison Ford a lot. Which is convenient, because this year, there is a lot of Harrison Ford to enjoy.