Actor Harrison Ford is still reaching higher

by Beacon Staff • February 8, 2006

His rugged face and grizzled voice have been all over celluloid for the past thirty years.,Millions of children have grown up around the world watching Harrison Ford. His two most famous characters-Han Solo and Indiana Jones-are an integral part of beloved sagas for old and young alike.

His rugged face and grizzled voice have been all over celluloid for the past thirty years.

Even with all this early exposure, Ford still believes it's necessary to promote his films to the youth of America.

In a recent interview with The Beacon, Ford said that he was targeting younger audiences in order to introduce himself to a new generation.

"To be frank, I've continued to age," the 63-year-old said, noting that a lot of the teenage and twenty-something crowd wanted to see actors closer in age.

In his latest film, Firewall (see review below), Ford plays a bank security expert who has to help criminals (led by Paul Bettany) break in and steal the money after they take his family (including Virginia Madsen) hostage.

Firewall is designed to be a fun, popcorn action movie; Ford said he believes that it is difficult to deal with serious themes in a movie.

"You may talk around the issue, but it's tough to create an argument in film that changes how people behave," he said.

He cites both To Kill a Mockingbird and current Oscar nominee Good Night, and Good Luck as examples of dealing with tough issues successfully.

Ford has starred in some of his own serious pictures, including K-19: The Widowmaker.

The film, however, was not a financial success, and Ford names one reason for its failure.

"The audience was less interested in me ... playing a Russian submarine captain, an enemy of the United States," he said.

Ford said he tries to deliver what the audiences do want in each film he makes, because he realizes the baggage that comes with his high profile.

"Actors become brands," he said, and, as a result, he feels responsible to make a "film that meets their [moviegoers] expectations."

One such film that would probably surpass those expectations, a fourth entry in the popular Indiana Jones series, will hopefully soon be a reality.

Although he remained tight-lipped about the details, Ford said he and Steven Spielberg are "closer than we've been in the past" to making the movie. Ford said that he enjoys working with directors like Spielberg because he, among others Ford has worked with, allows for collaborative efforts on set.

Ford will also star in Manhunt, the story of Everton Conger, the colonel who found John Wilkes Booth after he assassinated Abraham Lincoln.

Ford said he compares working as an actor to "going into a war zone and trying to get out with your ass intact."

He continues to perform, however, because he said he still enjoys making movies.

"For me, the reward is good, hard work," he said.

Ford is active offscreen as well, working on the board of directors at Conservation International, a group that, according to its Web site, attempts to "conserve the Earth's living natural heritage, our global biodiversity and to demonstrate that human societies are able to live harmoniously with nature."

He says that Conversation International talks to "corporations ... [to] engage them in changing their processes." The aim, he said, is "not f---ing up the world."

One thing that Ford does to keep him films from faltering, is fine-tuning them.

He recalls an old Russian woman he once knew who had a simple phrase that Ford applies to his work today: "no limit for better.",Bryan O'Toole