Cannes: Harrison Ford 'Flattered and Uncommonly Thoughtful' After Lifetime Achievement Tribute, Is As Busy As Ever (Exclusive)

Cannes: Harrison Ford ‘Flattered and Uncommonly Thoughtful’ After Lifetime Achievement Tribute, Is As Busy As Ever (Exclusive)

As the 2023 Cannes Film Festival reaches its midway point, I have three main takeaways from the first half:

(1) None of the high-profile films that have already screened, among them Martin Scorsese‘S The flower moon killers, Todd Haynesmay december AND Jonathan Glasser‘S The area of ​​interest – have been universally accepted.

(2) The umbrella peddlers must make a killing: the weather was terrible almost every day.

(3) The most emotional and moving event so far occurred on Thursday evening, when Harrison Ford – arguably cinema’s greatest living legend – was greeted with a raucous standing ovation at the Palais, surprised with an honorary Palme d’Or and moved to tears ahead of the world premiere of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destinythe fifth and, arguably, final installment in one of the most popular film franchises of all time.

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On Saturday morning, I caught up with the 80-year-old, who also starred in two major television series last year, as a therapist battling Parkinson’s disease on Apple TV+ Narrowing and as patriarch of a Montana ranching family in Paramount+ 1923 – in a seaside hut at the Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc for his only solo interview at the festival with a US publication. She admitted he was drained by late night partying on Friday, but stressed that he was still riding his best from Thursday night.

Congratulations on Thursday night. What did that reception from the audience and the honor of the festival mean to you?

It was a great evening. I can’t deny it. And I can’t deny that I’m flattered and unusually thoughtful and literally happy to be here.

Do you remember the first time you went to Cannes?

No, right?

I think it may have been 1985 for Witness, NO? I know you were back in 2014 for The mercenaries 3.

Oh, and there were many more in between. An involved couple Indiana Jones. (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull it premiered at the festival in 2008.) I usually ended up in the same condition I am in now: I’m sober, but got up a little late.

When you first played Han Solo in the 1970s and Deckard and Indiana Jones in the 1980s, could you ever imagine you’d revisit those parts?

No, it never crossed my mind. I don’t even remember if he was for old times. We didn’t do that then. When I did the first Star Warsthe only objection I made to the contract was the sequel clause, which I didn’t sign.

Smart Negotiation Tactic!

I was too dumb to have “negotiated” it. I just ran away from it.


Because I didn’t want to be forced. I wanted to see if that one was successful before I got stuck in two others. But, once again, fate intervened.

So when you get back there, most recently Indiana Jones –

You mean I have to have another fuck Blade Runner?! No, no, no, I’d really like that. I was once asked by someone – I think it was probably a journalist because I can’t imagine anyone else asking me this question – “Are you going to do every damn movie you ever made again?” (break) I said: “Why not?”

Is coming back here like putting yourself back into an old pair of shoes?

No, there is some discipline. I’ve always felt, and the people I’ve worked with have always felt, that we have to bring something new into the mix. We’ll make another one Indiana Jones, the essential question is: “What new thing will we learn about Indiana Jones?” Because if you don’t progress the character as you progress through the story, you won’t be in sync. I haven’t been disappointed with any of those movies I’ve done where I’ve done it again – that I can think of right now.

You say there must always be a reason. With this Indiana JonesWhat was the underlying reason for you to revisit the story?

I’ve always wanted a final chapter of the story. We first started thinking about it several years ago. My ambition – our whole ambition – was to come up with a story that addressed the reality of his age because he was such a physical character. I wanted to see it dwarfed and enlivened by whatever the plot was and whoever the characters were. And when we got the story that felt right for everyone, we moved on.

Looking back at the beginning of your career, you were a $150 a week contract player at Columbia and then a $250 a week contract player at Universal. When I first interviewed you 10 years ago, you told me the reason you quit your job at Universal was that they asked you to do a lot of TV episodes and, “I figured I’d wear out my face before I had a chance to do the kind of job I was ambitious for.”

That was my understanding, or that was my instinct, at the time. And so the development of my carpentry career. (Editor’s note: Ford spent his time doing carpentry. Among his jobs was building an elaborate foyer for Francis Ford Coppola’s office at Goldwyn Studios. One day, George Lucas, who had previously directed him in American graffitientered with Richard Dreyfuss, who was being considered Star Wars. Shortly thereafter, Ford was asked to play opposite the other actors under consideration, which he did for two weeks before being offered the part of Han Solo.)

I bring up this quote only because attitudes towards television, including yours, have obviously changed so much since then.

It’s not just attitudes. That’s the intention of TV. I am not competent to assess how this turned out as there is so much footfall at the moment. There are problematic aspects, such as what we are facing with the strike…

But the idea that you, in one year, would be a part of two TV series, both of which you reprized for, is pretty amazing. What is, for you, the charm of TV today?

The quality of the writing is what attracted me. It was undeniable.

How do you feel about the volume of work it requires and the pace of it all?

I love it. I love the fast pace. I love the collaboration. I love the people I work with. And I love the fucking material. Can we omit the “fuck” this time instead of putting it in the title? (Editor’s note: Ford jokingly refers to the recent DAY cover story about him titled “Harrison Ford: I know who the fuck I am”.)

How do you think your life would have turned out if you hadn’t found acting?

I would have been a miserable carpenter.

When you were signed to Columbia, they wanted you to change your name. Have you ever considered alternatives?

Yes i did it. The Kurt affair.


YES. That was the most ridiculous thing I could think of to say to them. And they said the usual thing: “Get out of here.” That “fuck” you can print but not a title. (He laughs)

You have been a part of so many box office hits. Which least did you expect to surpass to the extent that it did?

Obviously, Star Wars. But I thought Star Wars I was going to Work. I don’t know much about sci-fi, and I’m not necessarily a big fan – I don’t mind, I just don’t know it that well, and I’ve never given much thought to it – but I do know fairy tales because I have kids, so I’ve heard the fairytale smell. The inexperienced young man, the wise old warrior, the beautiful princess. I kind of knew that I (like Han Solo) was as smart as needed. It’s pepper. So, I kind of identified the potential for success in it. At least it would put my kids to sleep.

Who in your life has taught you the most?

Well, my wife (actress Calista Flockhart) is still teaching me. I haven’t graduated from any course I’ve ever been enrolled in, so bring all available wisdom. I don’t know, it takes me a while to digest things sometimes.

If you could have your anonymity back for one day, what would you do?

Well, no one will find out. You wouldn’t post anything about it the next day. This I can tell you.

You mentioned that you really enjoy working with young talents, like Phoebe Waller-Bridge from Quadrant of Destiny and Jason Segal of Narrowing. What do you learn from them and what do they most want to learn from you?

This is a good question. Save the hard ones for last, right? I do not know. I don’t listen very carefully when they want something from me because I don’t feel like I should give anyone advice.

Why not?

Because everyone does it differently. The only piece of advice I can imagine to be of any value is, “Why are you asking? You have to figure it out yourself. Any answer that doesn’t come from you is insufficient. Don’t imitate someone else’s success, or try to, or think it has any value, because everyone has to get their own process and find their own way. And if you start trying to follow someone else, you’ll lose track every time.

Wasn’t there someone for you who was a guiding star?

Everyone. If the trolley handle has the next big good idea, that’s where I’m going. Because (a set) is an amazing atmosphere where everyone matters and everyone contributes. And any good idea can fall from the sky.

You said the main reason for returning to the part of Indiana Jones was to see him in his older years and how he handles things differently than when he was younger. What is the most important thing that You Wouldn’t you have known when you were younger that you know now?

This is a reference to Phil Stutt: Keep moving. Forward movement. Do not stop. Don’t stand by and watch your accidents. “There’s nothing to see folks. Keep moving.”

Interview slightly edited for clarity and brevity.