All about Harry....FORD
HARRISON FORD FANS IN AUSTRALIA
Action film fans still crazy for Dr Jones
HE may have played Han Solo and the President of the US, but it was another of Harrison Ford's characters that sent the crowd into a frenzy in Sydney last night."Hopefully we'll be doing another Indiana Jones very soon," the Hollywood sex symbol said as hundreds of fans roared with joy.
Ford -- best known for playing the fedora-wearing, whip-cracking adventurer in the Indiana Jones trilogy and the galaxy-saving Solo in the Star Wars series -- was in Sydney with his girlfriend, former Ally McBeal star Calista Flockhart, for the Australian premiere of his new movie Firewall.
And despite getting on -- he turns 64 this year -- Ford still appeals to women of all ages, many who grinned broadly and fanned themselves as he passed them on the red carpet.
After an earlier trip to Taronga Zoo with Flockhart's five-year-old son, Liam, Ford -- accompanied by his 41-year-old partner -- faced the Australian media for the first time in more than a decade.
"It's been a while, it's good to be back," he said.
In Firewall, which opens nationally on March 2, Ford plays a computer specialist who is forced into robbing the bank he works for in order to save his family.
It is the first role in three years for Ford, one of Hollywood's most prolific actors, who has more than 50 credits to his name.
He said he took the role in the hope of making "good entertainment".
"I just thought it would be a good movie for an audience, I thought it would be a good ride for them," Ford said. EDITOR'S NOTE: AND IT IS PRETTY GOOD. FORMULAIC, BUT FUN.
Similarities have been drawn between Ford's Firewall character and Jack Ryan, the CIA analyst he played in Patriot Games (1992) and Clear and Present Danger (1994) -- the action thrillers based on the Tom Clancy novels -- in which he tries to save his family while saving the world. EDITOR'S NOTE: "FIREWALL" IS OK, BUT IT PALES IN COMPARISON TO THOSE EARLIER FILMS. THE WRITING IS JUST NOT NEARLY AS INTERESTING, AND THE PLOTS OF THOSE CLANCY WORKS ARE JUST MUCH MORE INTRICATE. SORRY, HARRY.
Ford shrugged off the idea that he was attracted to playing the more family-orientated, thinking man's action hero.
"I like to play a real person who's got a real life, and that often includes a family," he said.
"And then something (often) happens that an audience might enjoy watching."
With fans waving Indiana Jones album and DVD covers for Ford to sign, it was clear which of the actor's roles was their favourite.
But Ford was less forthcoming about whether he had any sentimental favourites over his 40-year career.
"I don't have a favourite, I'm afraid; I just work," he said, shrugging his shoulders and smiling that famous crooked smile.
Ford on his upcoming slate
Caught up with the always quietly reserved Harrison Ford this morning for a quick chat in sun-drenched Melbourne.
First bit of news, the science-fiction film he was going to do, “Godspeed”, has been canned.
“Godspeed is gone, that was a space project with James Cameron”, he says of the project, which would have told of a crisis on an international space station. EDITOR'S NOTE: DRAT.
Rumoured to be his next project is “Manhunt”, which is “about the capture of John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of Abraham Lincoln.” So is it?
“That would seem to be next”, smiles Ford. Um. Seem to be next? Why so tight-lipped…
“[There’s] a bunch of other things that have come to fruition...recently", he added.
Sounds like ‘The Man in the Hat’ – um, that’s Indiana Jones for the three up the back – could be ready to go. EDITOR'S NOTE: MAKE IT RIGHT, OR DON'T MAKE IT. (IN CASE ANYONE ASKS ME...THAT'S MY SPIN).
AND THIS NEXT ITEM IS SORT OF/KIND OF HARRISON FORD RELATED....
Where aging cowboys ride off with dignity
Feb. 17, 2006. 06:27 AM
You know you're watching a lovingly constructed concert movie when the colours onscreen match the tone of the songs. That's exactly the case with Neil Young: Heart of Gold, Jonathan Demme's respectfully understated document of a concert the 60-year-old singer-songwriter performed last summer at Nashville's iconic Ryman Auditorium.
Surrounded by friends and musicians he has strummed with for more than 35 years, Young sings of aging and remembrance against a simple backdrop of autumn-tinted images: wheat fields, farmhouse interiors, distant orange sunsets. The effect of the antique embellishment is homespun and minimal — like the music — and provides a resonant visual context for the artist's verse images of family, friends, old guitars and dead dogs.
Young isn't that old, but he's old enough to make even songs he wrote as a young man, like "Heart of Gold," "Old Man," "Needle and the Damage Done" sound as though they were just waiting for the singer to age into them. ("Old Man," sung by old Young, is particularly moving.)
That's one of the more extraordinary things about this movie: it's about getting old and feeling both wistful and contented with it. As you're watching, you find yourself wondering if this man, who sang about feeling old when he was barely 25, was ever the kid you could swear he once was.
Like the co-ordinated western gear (designed by the renowned country and western outfitter Manuel) worn by the entire on-stage ensemble, or the battered old guitar that once belonged to Hank Williams, Young wears his age like he was born to it.
Young looks like an old cowboy in Heart of Gold, and the movie reminds you just what a good place the west was once for getting old. In dozens of the movies my father used to take me to when I was growing up (and he'd take me to see anything that rode into town on a horse), the spectacle of old cowboys shaking off the dust became as dependable and familiar as some of the faces that emerged.
Now that I look back on it (and I blame Demme's movie for putting me in the mood to do so) I'm amazed by how many westerns of the '60s offered fertile dramatic terrain for aging male movie stars to grow old with grace and virility intact. But the thing about these movies, which displayed such leathery, lived-in faces as John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Richard Widmark, James Stewart, Robert Ryan, William Holden, Dean Martin and Lee Martin, was their interest in aging. They were about getting old and facing the fact. Westerns provided a rich context for the exploration of twilight masculinity.
I don't think any filmmaker probed the relationship between aging, dying and the old west quite as deeply as Sam Peckinpah, who was making movies about over-the-hill desperadoes when the director himself (who was raised on a California ranch) was still in his 30s.
Like Young, Peckinpah seemed something of an old man before his time. In his second movie (recently released on DVD), Ride the High Country, Peckinpah cast the seasoned cowboy-movie stalwarts Joel McCrea and Randolph Scott as a pair of adventurers all too aware of their impending extinction. All they wanted, to quote McCrea's famous line: "is to enter my house justified." And that's precisely what the movie, and a great many westerns in general, offered to long-in-the-tooth leading men: a mythic shot at redemption, and an opportunity to enter their houses justified.
After appearing in literally dozens of westerns, the great and vastly underappreciated Randolph Scott rode for the last time for Sam Peckinpah. Ride the High Country was his sunset movie. He was 63 at the time: three years older than Neil Young in Heart of Gold and the same age as Harrison Ford in the new techno-thriller Firewall.
Perhaps because Firewall is the kind of contemporary cornpopper conducive to such meanderings, I couldn't help but re-imagine the movie as a western. After all, it is about a guy who comes home one day to find his family taken hostage by bad hombres, and it does address the elementary western theme of resorting to violence in the name of protecting one's kin. Plus it also has in its lead a past-prime action hero with a certain knack for laconic restraint.
Personally, I've always thought Ford was an actor born for the verbal sparseness of the western. It was just a fluke of historical timing that he became a huge star after the sun had more or less permanently set.
And as predictably crowd-pleasing as it is to see the much-loved veteran of the Star Wars and Indiana Jones movies mop the floor with nasty British actors half his age and several inches taller, and as pleasantly wish-fulfilling as it might be to imagine myself at 63 coming home to a 43-year-old wife like Virginia Madsen, there remains something distressing about watching Ford in a movie like Firewall. I think it's because the movie implicitly denies the actor his age. It's never really an issue, and you never get those moments, which are so rife in Peckinpah and a movie like Unforgiven, where the hero is confronted by the possibility that he might be too old to do what he has to do — that failure is indeed an option.
This is what gave those old-goat westerns both their power and their poignancy. You knew how hard it was for justice to be dispensed under the circumstances. But you knew it had to be dispensed, and not just to set things right. An old man's dignity depended on it.
EDITOR'S NOTE: THIS IS VERY GOOD FOOD-FOR-THOUGHT. ALTHOUGH MALE ACTORS GET ANOTHER 20 YEARS TO WORRY ABOUT THIS, IT IS AN ISSUE FOR THEM AS WELL AS FOR THEIR FEMALE ACTING COMPADRES.
OF COURSE FOR THE WOMEN, THE OVER-THE-HILL PASTURE BECKONS AT ABOUT AGE 35 OR SO, BUT THE QUESTIONS OF AGING AND TRUTH AND ACCEPTANCE OF LIFE-PASSAGES ARE STILL SIMILAR.
AND WOULDN'T IT BE NICE TO GET BACK SOME OF THOSE OLDER FACES...MALE AND FEMALE...PLAYING THEIR AGES AND LETTING US SEE THE ENTIREITY OF THE AGE SPECTRUM? (JUDI DENCH...AND WHO ELSE?!)