Thursday, July 15, 2010

Why Harrison Ford Is Awesome (And the Red Eye Sucks)

Yeah, I know I've been quiet for a while. Yeah, the reason is mostly this and I definitely owe you some updates. I'm dippin' my toe back into the Internets with this piece here. Enjoy.

For our reader(s) outside Chicago, the Red Eye is a free daily newspaper aimed at stupid people. Now, that's not how they describe it: the paper's mission statement says it reaches "young, urban professionals who are short on time and long on disposable income."

To make sure the target audience doesn't have to think too hard, the articles are nice and short, mostly about bars or celebrities, with a minimum of actual news (economy, oil spill, etc). They don't use big words, and when they talk to celebrities, they don't pry too deep.

Witness this interview from January with Harrison Ford. It opens with this caveat:
If there is anything hard about interviewing Harrison Ford, it’s that the actor has amassed such a varied filmography of legendary highs (“Star Wars,” “Indiana Jones”), genre classics (“Blade Runner,” “The Fugitive”) and some pretty big stinkers (“Firewall”). There are simply too many questions to ask in a 15-minute window.
And this barn-burner of a first question:

Q: Let’s say someone tries to mug you on the street. You’ve got a light saber in one pocket and a whip in the other. Which do you go for?

A: [quiet laugh] I don’t know where to go with that. I think I would run away. As usual.

Q: What do you mean as usual?

A: Well, I mean I’m reaching deep into the depths of my soul and I’m telling you that I’m not playing a guy with a whip or a light saber if somebody’s trying to mug me on the street. It’s not a character; it’s just self-defense. Well, the character choice I would be making is ... You’re asking me, and I would tell you I would run away.

And yet, the Red Eye Guy came back to the issue later. Luckily, Ford was ready.

Q: You have a reputation of being a private guy. Why?

A: Because I am.

Q: Has anyone asked you anything that totally crossed the line?

A: Yeah.

Q: What’s the last thing?

A: Uh, it had something to do with a light saber and a whip.

And yet, if presented with intelligent questions, Ford is more than happy to offer intelligent responses. Tasha Robinson of The Onion's A.V. Club managed to both broach the issue of touchy interviews, and conduct a thoroughly readable Q-and-A.

The first exchange was:

The A.V. Club: You have a reputation for hating doing publicity interviews. Does having that out front help? Do you think it makes people approach you any differently?

Harrison Ford: I didn’t know that I had that reputation. I think that was something that—obviously you’ve done your research, but I think I was characterized that way early on in my career, and it stuck. I don’t mind doing interviews. I don’t mind answering thoughtful questions. But I’m not thrilled about answering questions like “If you were being mugged, and you had a lightsaber in one pocket and a whip in the other, which would you use?”

That line alone makes up for the over-the-top bellowing of "I ALREADY WORK AROUND THE CLOCK!" (which unfortunately, did not take off as a catchphrase quite like I'd hoped.)

1 comment:

Josh said...

This is the best.