Harrison Ford: No Action For Me



“I’m not an action hero.” Strange words, coming from Harrison Ford.

Sure, he’s aging, but weren’t his performances as Han Solo and Indiana Jones iconic examples of popcorn blockbuster action roles?

He begs to differ. “I’ve never actually done ‘action’ films,” he said in a recent interview with The Crimson. “I do thrillers that have action in them. I do films like ‘Indiana Jones,’ which I think of as kind of a fantasy-comedy—but ‘Indiana Jones’ is as close I’ve come to doing an action film. I think of films like ‘Lethal Weapon’ as action films, and I’ve never actually done one like that.”

Despite appearing in nearly 60 films since 1966, Harrison Ford shows no signs of slowing down his film persona. Indeed, his latest action flick, “Firewall,” features the graying Ford madly dashing to save his family and high-kicking baddies. But that doesn’t mean the real-life Ford hasn’t changed.

There’s a lingering sense that something is fundamentally different between this 63-year-old Ford and the Ford of the “Indiana Jones” and “Star Wars” franchises. Even as he outruns villains in “Firewall,” there are flashes of a new Ford—a flabby belly when a shirttail comes loose and grey hairs that imply a little more Centrum Silver than silver fox.

Nonetheless, the slow-speaking actor assures The Crimson that he lives life with no regrets. He respects the actors who find success playing roles he declined.

“If I have an opportunity to do something and I pass on it, it’s because I couldn’t figure out how to do a good job on it,” he says. “So, I don’t regret when I pass on something and I see somebody else have success with it.”

Ford may be confident that he doesn’t do “action” roles, but he seems less certain of his off-screen persona and how it contributes to the way moviegoers experience his performances.

“It may well be that people are relating more to what they take to be my persona, but my persona is a dramatic construction of its own,” he claimed. “Perception is in the eye of the beholder, and people perceive me in a way that is not exact match for who I am....I am not the person that they experience in the films, except to the extent that...as an actor, I have experience and intelligence to draw upon.”

Although his years in Hollywood may have toughened Ford to the pitfalls and traps of fame, the Chicago-born former carpenter still feels like his job is worthwhile.

“I’m not that anxious to get into directing,” he admitted. “I’ve developed my skills in the area of acting...[and] I feel that I take upon enough responsibility when I appear on film.”

—Staff writer Vinita M. Alexander can be reached at valexand@fas.harvard.edu.