Harrison Ford Talks 'Ender's Game' Controversy, Dodges 'Star Wars' Rumors (Q&A)

7:00 AM PST 10/18/2013 by Gregg Kilday
AP
Harrison Ford

The 71-year-old star, set to receive a Career Achievement Award at the Hollywood Film Awards on Oct. 21, distances himself from Orson Scott Card and pays tribute to Tom Clancy.

This story first appeared in the Oct. 25 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

Harrison Ford will be honored with a Career Achievement Award at this year's Hollywood Film Awards. But at 71, the actor, who never has been busier, isn't inclined to spend all his time looking back at his résumé.

This isn't your first career award. You received the AFI's Life Achievement Award in 2000. How do you approach such evenings?

Fearfully.

Really, why?

It's concentrating on the past when all I really see is the present and the future. I'm grateful for the kind attention. I'm hoping that it will turn out to have a useful purpose.

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You've been having a busy year. Were you looking to work more?

No. The projects were numerous, but the time spent on each was not unmanageable, and they were all opportunities I wanted to take advantage of.

Some critics were surprised to see you in a character part, playing Dodgers GM Branch Rickey in 42.

I'm grateful to [director] Brian [Helgeland] for giving me the opportunity. It was a really important American story that deserved to be told, and it gave me a chance to play a colorful and interesting character. If people were surprised, all the better. I much prefer to resemble Branch Rickey than Harrison Ford. One is an advantage to the film, and the other is not.

And then you took a role in The Expendables 3.

Yeah, it was five days' work, and I was on my way to Indonesia, and it looked like it would be fun to do in Bulgaria on the way, and I'd never worked with Sylvester [Stallone] before.

So what type of action scenes did you end up doing?

Just flapping my gums.

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Your next film, Ender's Game, opens Nov. 1. How did you find working in a big visual effects movie has changed since you did the first Star Wars?

Well, I don't know if it changes the experience of playing a character. The capacity to generate effects is very compelling. The danger of so much visual excitement is that you lose the human story, which is what connects emotionally to the audience. But all the people involved were very passionate about the ideas in the film. It was more ambitious than just another kinetic exercise.

Are you concerned at all that the film has been caught up in a controversy because of the anti-gay remarks from Orson Scott Card (who wrote the book on which it is based)?

No. Those opinions are not expressed in the book that was written 28 years ago. If it were not so clear to me that the people involved in the making of the film did not share his opinions, I might be worried about it. But knowing none of us involved in the film share his personal opinions, it's extraneous to the movie.

What were your thoughts on the recent death of Tom Clancy? He was critical of the adaptations of Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger.

It was complicated. He was a great inspiration for me. His work is obviously unique, wonderfully detailed material from which to derive movies. But he was never terribly happy with [director] Phillip Noyce and [producer] Mace Neufeld and me for making the necessary adjustments to turn the books into films so they would be a popular success.

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So what's the status of you playing Han Solo in the new Star Wars sequel?

I think even to say it's unresolved is kind of an enhancer. I prefer not to have to be confronted with  that.

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