Disney provided me with an expense paid trip to Los Angeles for the #StarWarsEvent in exchange for my coverage of the events of the trip. No other compensation was given. All opinions, experiences, memories and character crushes are 100% my own.
Get ready for all things STAR WARS! I travelled to LA last week to cover the STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS press junket. I’ll be sharing all of my interviews with you over the next couple of weeks but today I am sharing one of the most exciting. My exclusive interview with Harrison Ford, AKA Han Solo.
It was a bit surreal sitting down in a small interview group with Harrison Ford. I was seven years old when I first became fascinated with this film, but like many people, I think I was more fascinated with the characters than I was the actual film.
Han Solo was pretty hard not to love. For me, Chewbacca was even harder not to love (I was 7!) but let’s face it. Han was the man. He was like the Fonzarelli of outer space. Being only 7, my true crush didn’t really set in until 1983 (Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi), but I do remember being extremely upset (sob!) in 1980 (Star Wars: Episode V – Empire Strikes Back) when Princess Leia and Chewie (oh my gosh that was painful!) cried out as Han was being frozen in carbonite for what we thought might be forever. (Life lesson there – pay your bills dude!) Anyway. The guy (Han) rocks. He’s solid. A quick thinker. A no B.S. kind of guy. Fearless. And obviously handsome.
In fact, this whole thing has had me strolling down memory lane. I even dug out my old childhood memory suitcase which holds my favorite toys and fondest memories. As you can see above, I had the STAR WARS trading cards and I used to love to line them up and create scenarios. Don’t tell Leia, but Han was really into the Charlie’s Angels girls. But then we found out about Leia being Luke’s sister and all, and well… that kind of killed any hopes for him over with Charlie’s girls. He was needed in the galaxy.
Fast forward a WHOLE lotta years, and here I was sitting in the same room with the man who plays this iconic Han Solo character. During my interview time with him, I was able to surmise a few things. He seems solid. He’s a quick thinker. No B.S. He did seem fearless. And yup. He’s still handsome.
One of my favorite things about the interview was his demeanor and the actual tone of his voice. A bit Han Solo-ish but deeper and wiser (although, who knows, I haven’t yet seen the more aged Han in action) and he speaks with so much certainty. Almost dry, but captivating. Funny, but he doesn’t laugh at his own jokes, so to be honest, I’m not sure if he was kidding or not. His answers to questions seem to come easily. He seems cool under pressure, in a Han Solo kind of way.
Harrison on coming back to the legacy
When asked about landing back into the STAR WARS saga, he jumped right in to answer.
It was familiar. Same thing, only different. I was in receipt of a script that I thought was very good. A sort of road map for the character that I thought was worth coming back to with a Director whose work I admired and who I knew from a previous film twenty five years ago.
It was an all together attractive prospect. If we were trying to do exactly the same thing, if we were trying to pretend, if I died my hair and pretended that 30 years had not gone by, I would be much less comfortable. But this acknowledges the reality of the passage of time. It deals with the question of what happened while I was off stage for 30 years. And it deals with it in a really smart way.
You know, if it were not for the fact that these films have been passed on by parents to their children at an appropriate juncture in their lives and that generations have thus been introduced to me, I probably would have a much different career. So I’m very grateful for the fact that these were family films that been passed on as though there were some nugget of useful information or at least entertainment in them and recognizing their value to the audience gives them significance to me.
“It was familiar. Same thing, only different.” ~Harrison Ford
STAR WARS memories…
One thing that stood out to me in this interview was his honestly. Almost brutal, but quiet and sincere. When asked if he had a favorite Star Wars moment he quickly answered NO. And. I don’t have an anecdotal memory either. I don’t have much of a memory at all. I could make something up but I’m – I’m not generally disposed to do that. I don’t have, you know, I don’t come away from camp saying we all had a great time and we love each other and it’s great although I could.
I mean, it’s great to be back with Mark and Carrie. I spent a little time with them and Peter Mayou and a lot of the crew. Some of the older members of the crew have worked on the earlier films. But more often than that there were sons and daughters of the people who worked on the original film, now are still in the same craft business and were back to work with us.
And I was back in England. I haven’t made a Film in England since the last Indiana Jones movie which we tended to do there as well. It was fun to be back in England. The food has gotten a lot better.
“It was fun to be back in England. The food has gotten a lot better.” ~Harrison Ford
He was thoughtful in answers and when asked what might be the most appealing thing about the Star Wars films to the fans, this is what he had to say:
The breadth of the imagination that’s involved in these films. The strength and worthiness of the mythology that underpins them, the questions that it generates in our minds about our own responsibilities, our own behaviors. All of that plus whiz and bang and flash and music and good stuff.
“All of that plus whiz and bang and flash and music and good stuff.” ~Harrison Ford
The earlier days.
When asked if he had any concept of how large the STAR WARS legacy would become when he read that very first script, he answered:
No, No. You’d be locked up if you came to that conclusion. But in that, in the context of making that first film, I did recognize both the utility of my character to the telling of the story and, that there might be some really strong elements that people would relate to.
What I recognized was that I didn’t know much about science fiction, I didn’t care much about science fiction at that time and probably still don’t — although I find it that it gives us the chance to explore places and things that we haven’t seen before and that’s cool. But what I recognized was that there is a kind of fairy tale structure in the characters and in the story.
And I’d seen Grimm Fairy Tales that have lasted for the last 400 years, so that was a strength that I recognized and when you have a beautiful Princess and a callow youth and a wise old warrior and then me, it was easy to figure out my place in that structure.
Does Harrison play with toys?
His answer to this one was quick and certain. No. No need for them and no interest in them. At all. In his own words:
Well I mean, I just don’t get caught up in the toys. I really don’t care personally. That’s for other people. A great deal of this, you know, this is service occupation. Story telling is a service occupation much like being a waiter.
You deliver the food. You don’t bang it on the table in front of them. You wait until the right moment, you slip it down. You keep your eyes scanning the crowd, the diners. And you are there when you see them beginning to look for you. It’s the same. It’s a public service job, you know. And the toys are for them, they’re not for me. You know, first of all, I wouldn’t get them for free if I wanted them.
So it’s not about me. I’m not the customer exactly but I love working here.
“Story telling is a service occupation much like being a waiter.” ~Harrison Ford
On returning to the saga…
One of my favorite conversations was regarding his return to the STAR WARS legacy. Was it hard to get back into the mindset after so many years?
No, you put on those clothes. You turn around and see that guy in the Chewbacca suit. You know what the drill is. have walked more than a mile in those shoes and it was a familiar path. I was happy to be back.
“I have walked more than a mile in those shoes and it was a familiar path.
I was happy to be back.” ~Harrison Ford
When asked about about how closely the script was followed he was clear to point out that the creative process is a collaborative process that he enjoys being a part of. He started off by joking (or maybe he was being sarcastic. Hard to tell.) but then clearly got to the point:
Every word was written in stone. No, look, it was a collaborative process and collaboration is not one person’s unilateral decision. It’s a matter of agreement. If it’s in the movie, J.J. agreed with it when we shot it. And you know, a lot of the process of film making is problem solving, is saying this is not working, is it?
How can we, are we going to fix this? And I love that part about it. There’s a kind of urgency and to try to keep the ball rolling, doing the right thing, because time is limited. A lot of people standing around waiting for you to get it right. All of those things, that’s a compelling atmosphere in which to work. I love that. But I don’t feel a sense of ownership or pride about these things. So I can’t remember what’s mine or what good idea came from the grip.
Also, did I mention that he is a bit short and to the point. I liked that about him. Such a clean and smart interview. No fluff. No filling. Solid answers and not a lot to weed through. You definitely know what you are getting when you speak with Mr. Ford.
“And you know, a lot of the process of film making is problem solving, is saying this is not working, is it?” ~Harrison Ford
Movie take away?
When asked what he hoped that people would take away from this film, his answer was short and sweet: Their choice.
As you would imagine, any film has challenges right? Wrong! And I love how he answered this. What was the most challenging part of making of this film?
There wasn’t any. Wasn’t any. I’ve been doing this for a long time and I love doing it. I had a wonderful Director. The hardest process is when you and the people you’re working with don’t see eye to eye. We see eye to eye. It was a – it was a luxury.
“I’ve been doing this for a long time and I love doing it.” ~Harrison Ford
Harrison made if very clear that he doesn’t play with toys, or collect memorabilia — he doesn’t really seem like the kind of person that would get too attached to an inanimate object but I have to say, that he won me over even more when he said that the one prop that he did keep from a past film was the horse that he rode in “Cowboys and Aliens.” How awesome is that? It’s awesome.
He is awesome. He just has a very cool and calm way about him. Short on words, and I found that refreshing. In fact, it reminded me of something. Do you remember when Han is moments away from getting frozen and Leia yells out that she loves him and he replies with a simple “I know”? Like almost a let down but it wasn’t really. Because we knew, that she knew, that he knew… that she really knew. Right?
Short on words, but big on details, Mr. Ford tells it like it is and like Han, shoots first–no questions later. I love that as time has passed, both Harrison and Han have aged well, and like a fine wine, I think it’s a good thing. I KNOW that this movie is going to be AMAZING… I can’t wait to see Han back in action!
STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS in theaters December 18, 2015!
Can’t get enough of the STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS excitement? Check out my post from the STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS press junket which includes fun new merchandise photos, costumes, a BB-8 video and more!
STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS Trailer
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Photo credits to Disney and MomStart.com