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FORD, HARRISON: RANDOM HEARTS

Our Italian correspondent SANDRA BORDIGONI meets Harrison Ford to talk about his work and discovers his dry sense of humour and his inclination to irony. And why he flies.

Sandra Bordigoni: Your role in Random Hearts is certainly different to many of your roles; would you like to explore other types of roles?
Harrison Ford: I like to do all sort of things and I would like to do more comedy. I don't want to be caught in one type of film, always doing one kind of character. I like to do a variety of characters and films.

SB: (Director) Sydney Pollack said that one of the hardest and more complex scenes to shoot in Random Hearts was the one in which you make love to Kristin Scott Thomas in the car. Was it so complicated?
HF: For him! Me? I kiss, I get kissed. It's not so hard. No problem. (laughs).

SB: We miss Indiana Jones. Spielberg talked about a fourth film...
HF: The method we followed so far for Indiana Jones is that George Lucas comes up with the broad outline for the script. He assigns it to a writer and then the product of that work comes to Spielberg and I. So at the moment there's no script.

SB: But would you like to do it?
HF: Oh yes, I'd love to do it. They are such fun movies and I enjoy that kind of film.

SB: You have recently appeared in a TV commercial for a car. What made you decide to lend your image to that commercial?
HF: Free money! That I can give away. My family has a foundation and to make a commercial is a very easy way to put money into that foundation.

SB: You often interpret romantic roles so many of us wonder if you are a romantic in real life...
HF: An actor has nothing but his own experience and his personality to use in expression of a character, but you choose which aspects of your personality are going to be more dominant, according to the utility of that character to the overall . . . to the screenplay. I am a romantic, not as in candy and flowers - a little; but I consider myself to be a romantic because I believe in truth, in virtue, in beauty and I think all of these things are part of our word as well as many other things that are the antithesis to these. So I may be a romantic to some extent but at the same time I am a pragmatic.

SB: Are there heroes in our times or they only exist on the screen now?
HF: I see people behaving heroically, if you will. What does heroic mean? I think it means selfless. I mean, it's just putting someone else's needs or interests ahead of your own.

SB: When you don't act what do you do, besides making furniture?
HF: I haven't made any furniture in a long time. I fly airplanes, helicopters. That's my passion at the moment. And then I have my family, my children are still young and I try to spend as much time as possible with them doing what they like to do.

SB: So many actors (John Travolta, Tom Cruise and others) seem to share your passion for flying. What is it that makes you want to spend time out of this word, among the clouds...
HF: Well, the thing that led me to fly was the ambition to develop a skill, to learn to do something at an advanced age. I had not put my mind to the task of learning something for a while. So that was the original impulse. Two: I love the machines. I like the noise they make, I love the way they're made, I am very interested in the machines. Three: I like the people I meet in aviation - I am not talking about Tom Cruise or John Travolta but about the man who fill your tanks, the meteorologist, the mechanics, the other pilots, whom I meet not as a film actor but as a pilot. It gives me another viable identity. There's nothing more boring than spending the day as a film star. But a day as a pilot is a magical day, for me.

SB: Do you mind that your Star Wars' character hasn't got an "ancestor" in these new prequels?
HF: It's the least of my worries. (laughs)

SB: Well..., it was sort of an indirect way of asking your opinion on this new series of films...
HF: (With irony) Well...and mine was an indirect way of answering...

SB: Given your passion for flying, would you like to interpret the role of Lindberg?
HF: The story of Lindberg is very interesting both for the good and bad aspect of his nature.

SB: Would you like to interpret Jack Ryan again, in a follow up of Clear and Present Danger?
HF: There's a script in development based on The Sum Of All Fears. And if it develops into a screenplay that looks like it would make a good film I may do that. But it's much too early to tell.

SB: And what will you do next?
HF: I am working on a film now, with Michelle Pfeiffer, directed by Bob Zemeckis and called What Lies Beneath, which in America will be out next summer. I play a professor of genetics at a Vermont college and Michelle plays my wife who begins to see strange things in the house. It's a thriller.

SB: With a touch of comedy?
HF: (laughs) That would be not intentional... (laugh). No comedy. A pure thriller.

SB: You have been voted one of the sexiest men on earth. How does it feel?
HF: I think people assume that they know me based on the characters that I play and in generally I play attractive characters - I don't mean physically, but as human beings - I am as vain as the next person. I don't like looking at myself. It's not terribly interesting. I know that I have to be clean and neat and generally presentable, but this is not my natural form.

SB: Would you like to act in smaller films by independent directors? To work with some of these new young talents that are so different and provoking?
HF: Yes I would like to work with some of the newer directors and I accept that some of them have a sensibility which may not be like what we may call mainstream Hollywood. But I also think that it's not necessarily true that independent films have a greater truthfulness or dramatic power or are intrinsically better films for the fact that they may be what we call independent. But it's a very complicated discussion to get into. What you're really asking is: would I work for short money? (laugh)

SB: No...!!!
HF: Good, because then I don't have to answer that question (big laugh).

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Harrison Ford stars with Kristin Scott Thomas in RANDOM HEARTS, which has just opened in Australia (October 21,1999).


Random Hearts

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Sandra Bordigoni is an Italian freelance journalist based in Rome, who has just finished writing a book about Australian cinema.

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