Monday, April 14, 2014

Harrison Ford talks Star Wars during Reddit AMA

The iconic Harrison Ford held a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) online chat Sunday afternoon, to help promote the new documentary series Years of Living Dangerously, which airs on Showtime beginning this week. The series explores climate change, and while Ford did discuss the series and his motivations for participating, fans took the opportunity to ask him about everything from Star Wars to Indiana Jones and even Blade Runner and The Expendables 3.

Of note is his recount of the famous "shooting the swordsman" scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark (as he has in the past, Ford never mentions he had intestinal woes due to food poisoning, as is popularly believed), and his willingness to revisit Blade Runner. While he did answer some questions about the original Star Wars trilogy, he did not answer questions about Episode VII. However, his response to the question of who shot first makes up for the lack of Episode VII info. It is classic Ford.

You might also notice that the picture Ford posted to the Reddit AMA (and included here) shows him seemingly on location today, and the chair next to him includes a name plate, but only the letters "CA" are visible. This could lead to speculation that the chair belongs to Carrie Fisher, and he is filming Episode VII now. The only other film IMDB shows he is currently involved in, "The Age of Adaline," has no major cast or crew with those letters in the first name. The photo gives no indication of where he is, although it does look like the English countryside. In addition, on Sunday evening, Carrie Fisher posted a picture from what appears to be a public pool, with no indication of where it is. It seems unlikely that she would be at a pool while Ford is filming with her chair next to him. But we can hope.   

Rather than give you a running transcript (honestly, you don't need to read his denial that he was a carpet salesman at 37), here are some of his best observations and responses to questions. Don't feel bad if you hear Ford's voice in your head as you read this. It's normal.

Q: What movie quote do you get asked to do the most?
A: "Get off my plane."

Q: How did you feel about Star Wars when you first started? How were you approached?
A: I was approached with the offer of a job, which at that point, was all I wanted to hear. I had helped George Lucas audition other actors for the principle parts, and with no expectation or indication that I might be considered for the part of Han, I was quite surprised when I was offered the part. My principle job at the time was carpentry, I had been under contract as an actor at Columbia and Universal. I had a house at the time I wanted to remodel, a bit of the wreck of a house. I'd invest money in tools but wouldn't have money for materials, so I realized this was another way of putting food on the table. And allowing me to pick and choose from the acting jobs that were being offered at the time.

Q: Were there any injuries / weird occurrences / funny stories on any of the Indiana Jones sets?
A: Oh, let's see. On the first Indiana Jones movie, I tore an ACL in one of my knees, can't remember which knee, the scene in which I was fighting the big German mechanic on an airplane called a flying wing, I was run over by the landing gear and injured my knee, but I can't remember which one it was. Lots of bumps and injuries along the way.

Funny stories? We were shooting in Tunisia, and the script had a scene in which I fight a swordsman, an expert swordsman, it was meant to be the ultimate duel between sword and whip. And I was suffering from dysentery, really, found it inconvenient to be out of my trailer for more than 10 minutes at a time. We'd done a brief rehearsal of the scene the night before we were meant to shoot it, and both Steve and I realized it would take 2 or 3 days to shoot this. And it was the last thing we were meant to shoot in Tunisia before we left to shoot in England. And the scene before this in the film included a whip fight against 5 bad guys that were trying to kidnap Marian, so I thought it was a bit redundant. I was puzzling how to get out of this 3 days of shooting, so when I got to set I proposed to Steven that we just shoot the son a bitch and Steve said "I was thinking that as well." So he drew his sword, the poor guy was a wonderful British stuntman who had practiced his sword skills for months in order to do this job, and was quite surprised by the idea that we would dispatch him in 5 minutes. But he flourished his sword, I pulled out my gun and shot him, and then we went back to England.

Q: I live in your old house on Woodrow. Are there any secrets I should know about?
A: Yes. There's millions of dollars buried in your basement.

Q: How do you feel about snakes?
A: I actually like snakes! When I was young, I was a boy scout nature camp counselor, and one of our projects was collecting snakes and creating an environment for them, so I'm quite familiar with snakes and think they'r fantastic creatures.

Q: Did you keep any props from any of your movies, if so which ones are your favorite?
A: No, I don't keep any, I'm not terribly nostalgic and I don't have a lot of things from my movies. And certainly don't have a lot of them around my house. Those are separate worlds for me.

Q: Did you ad lib Han's famous line "I know"?
A: It's not really an ad lib, it was a suggestion, and movie making's a real collaborative process at its best. You don't ad lib it, you suggest it and then you try something in rehearsal and then you agree. So it was my suggestion, because I thought it was more of a character line than what was written, but the director and Carrie and I all thought it was a good idea at the time so we did it.

In response to many people thanking him for his films:
A: Someone said thank you for being a part of so many childhood films: Well, thank you. I really appreciate that. It's a privilege to be able to be involved with people as talented as the people I've had the luck to work with, and it's just been a great experience for me, and I'm glad that so many of the films I've had the luck to do were films that could be enjoyed by families together.

Q: How do you spend your free time?
A: I spend my free time at home, and with my children whom I love to spend time with.

Q: When did you join Anchorman 2 and what was it like on the Anchorman set?
A: It was goofy. I hadn't seen Anchorman, it was only one day's work, and I knew that it was very popular, and I admired the talents of the people involved, so I went to do it and had a great time, I enjoyed it. I still haven't seen it though.

Q: Are you still mad at Lando?
A: Lando who?

Q: If you and Mark Hamill fought who would win?
A: Me, of course.

Q: What's the best and what's the worst set you've ever been on?
A: The set for Blade Runner was maybe the hardest set I've ever worked on because I think we worked 50 nights in a row, and it was always raining.

Q: What made you say yes to starring in Expendables 3?
A: I was on my way to Indonesia to do Years of Living Dangerously, and halfway around the world. And the location for Expendables was right on the way, and they asked me for a relatively short period of time, and it seemed like fun. I hadn't seen the films but I looked one of them and i thought it was kind of funny, so I thought why not?

Q: Who did you prefer portraying, Han or Indiana?
A: I think Indiana Jones was a lot of fun to do because of the places we went to and the adventures and the action. But Han Solo was also a huge part of my life.

Q: Who would win in a celebrity boxing match: Han Solo or Indiana Jones?
A: The promoter would win.

Q: How do you choose your projects? And has this process changed for you since 1980s?
A: You know, it's very hard to say what the motivation is these days. Most of the time I love the material, have the time free, and look for something different to do. I look for people I enjoy working with, I look for material that i think will make a film that people will go to. It's my job.

Q: Harrison, Blade Runner is my favorite movie of all time. What are you thoughts on Ridley Scott's talk of making a sequel? How can he improve upon perfection?
A: I'm quite curious and excited about seeing a new script for Blade Runner if in fact the opportunity would exist to do another, if it's a good script I would be very anxious to work with Ridley Scott again, he's a very talented and passionate filmmaker. And I think it would be very interesting to revisit the character.

Q: What is your favourite type of cheese?
A: Manchego.

Q: If you could go back in time and play any role in any movie, what role would you choose?
A: You know one of the great things about being an actor is that you don't very often go back. For me, the pleasure of it is new characters and new challenges.

In response to questions about being offered money in interviews to divulge Episode VII details
A: Oh, I think it was Conan. Conan gave me $1000 to tell him something and in fact it was real. I remember that I put it in my pocket, and nobody remembered to get it back from me and I forgot all about it until the next day, when by coincidence I was at a neighbor's house and I ran into the producer from the Conan show and I excused myself from the party and went back to the house and got the $1000 out of the suit which I just remembered was still there, and I gave it back to him.

Q: What was your favorite Indiana Jones movie?
A: I don't have favorites. I just love the work, and I'm glad that the films were so well-received. But I don't really have favorites.

Q: I love you.
A: I know.

Q: What drew you to Cowboys & Aliens?
A: Oh, I always liked cowboy movies, and there aren't a lot of 'em being done anymore. So I loved sci-fi in the beautiful desert.

Q: I've seen you on a couple of late night talk shows, where it really seems that you hate being interviewed, or maybe you're just uncomfortable? Am I right? And if I am...why?
A: Oh no, in most cases, those guys are so talented and so funny. I don't hate it at all, in fact it's interesting you would think that because I usually have a really good time. I'm there to bring attention to some project that's about to be released, and it's great to be able to take advantage of that to bring attention to bring attention to the film.

Q: Have you ever played one of the Indiana Jones adventure games from LucasArts? What do you think about them? And my wife wants to know if you have been a fan of Allie McBeal back when it was on. It seems to be an important question for her.
A: I never played one of the games, and I thought Allie McBeal was fantastic. I really liked the show. I didn't see that many episodes, but I did think it was great.

Q: Hi Mr, Ford. I think we would all like to know: Who shot first? Han Solo or Greedo?
A: I don't know and I don't care.

Q: What would you rather fight: 100 chicken sized Jabba the Hutts or 1 Jabba the Hutt sized chicken?
A: The latter. Please.

Q: Favorite non-movie Star Wars product?
A: I don't know anything about it, sorry.

Q: Why is nobody asking about Blade Runner? Do you think Rick Deckard was a replicant or not a replicant?
A: I think that it's a wonderful storytelling mechanism for that question to be left unanswered. I love that people are still curious about it.

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