Sitting down to an exclusive Harrison Ford interview regarding Star Wars: The Force Awakens was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I will never forget. Post sponsored by Disney. All magical opinions are my own
Harrison Ford Interview for Star Wars: The Force Awakens | Return of the Han
“Who are these mommy bloggers?” I held my breath as the Disney PR rep told us that Harrison Ford asked the question. Once explained, he said a simple “cool.” Exhale. And then the childhood legend walked into the room.
Having done the research on past interviews of Harrison Ford, I expected the interview to go a lot differently. Between ear piercings and brash statements, I had prepared myself for the worst. But as any great Han Solo character would do, he kept surprising us. He was kind. He was quiet, almost a whisper as he talked. He was subtle and funny. We found ourselves propped on the edge of our seats straining to hang onto his every word. An exclusive Star Wars: The Force Awakens Interview that took me by surprise, who knew that a room of 25 bloggers could use our Jedi mind tricks to coax THE Han Solo into hanging with us just a little bit longer. Sit down with me as we explore Han Solo then, Han Solo now and the legacy of Star Wars, in the words of Harrison Ford himself.
The setting was intimate. 25 chairs line 3 rows as Harrison sat at the very front table. Surrounded by few nostalgic toys and a slew of recorders, Harrison gracefully eased himself into the chair….with a smile, I may add. Le sigh.
Han Solo Now
How did it feel to return to the role of Han Solo after 30+ years? Well, he didn’t run for the hair dye.
What was it like to come back to the legacy 30 years later?
It was familiar. Same thing, only different. I was there in service 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 [referring to when J.J. Abrams wrote Regarding Henry] twenty five years ago. It was an all together attractive prospect.
You know, 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.
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.
Was it hard to get back into the mindset after so many years or was it second nature?
No, you put on those clothes. You know, you turn around and see that guy in the Chewbacca suit. You know what the drill is. I have walked more than a mile in those shoes and it was a familiar path. I was happy to be back.
How much was improvised?
Every word was written in stone. [yes, that was sarcasm.] 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. A lot of the process of film making is problem solving, is saying this is not working, is it? How can we 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 that there are 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 (from the set)?
Han Solo Then
You knew that Harrison Ford was not going to get away from questions regarding his past. We held his hand (well, not literally…but I would have totally volunteered!), and took a walk down memory lane.
Do you have a favorite Star Wars moment from then?
No. 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 not generally disposed to do that. 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 a lot of the crew. Some of the older members of the crew have worked on the earlier films. But more often, 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. And it was fun to be back in England. The food has gotten a lot better.
When you read the first Star Wars script, did you have any concept of the legacy that it would become?
No, No. You’d be locked up if you came to that conclusion. But in the context of making that first film, I did recognize both the utility of my character to the telling of the story and there might be, you know, somewhere in this, in this meshugas, there might be some really strong elements that people would relate to. I really, 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 very interesting. 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.
I wasn’t expecting Harrison Ford to compare himself to a waiter. But check out this analogy.
Out of all of the toys that have been made in the last four decades, is there anything that you particularly like or do you collect any of them for yourself?
Well I mean, I just don’t get caught up in the toys. I really don’t care personally. [as he tucked the Han Solo toy on the table into his inner coat pocket…cue laughter] I mean, that’s great and that’s for other people. 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 til the right moment, you set 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. First of all, I wouldn’t get them for free if I wanted them. (Laughing again) So it’s not about, you know, it’s not about me. I’m not the customer exactly but I love working here.
The Star Wars Phenomenon
I felt a little pang of nostalgia and a tear in the eye as Harrison Ford reflected on what Star Wars has done for fans…perhaps including himself.
In your opinion, what is the most appealing to Star Wars fans?
You know, 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.
Rapid Fire Q&A
Then time was up. Could 20 minutes have passed so quickly? We were all waiting for Harrison Ford to rise when we saw the look of surprise on his face too.
Really? I just think there’s a lot of people here and…go ahead, I’ll make much shorter answers. Yes and no from now on.
Insert imaginary fist pump, here! Harrison Ford wanted to stay (or my amazing Jedi mind tricks worked)! So we hurried into the rapid fire question session where I was able to sneak in a quickie.
Was your interest of flying inspired by Millennium Falcon?
What take away do you have or what do you want the new generation to take away from Star Wars?
Their choice. (Such a Han Solo answer!)
What was the most challenging part of the process in making Star Wars: The Force Awakens? (BOOM – my question!)
There 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 luxury.
You mentioned you don’t collect the toys, but do you have any props that you’ve kept over the years for yourself?
I bought my horse and Daniel Craig’s horse from “Cowboys and Aliens.” I still have mine.
And then we took the group picture.
Do you see where I am for this #StarWarsEvent group shot? SWOON!!
And just like that, the interview was over. Chock full of amazing insider info and cool fan-girl moments, this definitely tops the list of incredible moments as a blogger. However as I reflected on this interview as a family blogger and the significance this movie is going to have on a lot of families around the world, I leave you with this quote.
I’m very grateful that these are family films…passed on as though there were some nugget of useful information or at least entertainment in them. Recognizing their value to the audience gives significance to me.
Hope you’re following along our #StarWarsEvent journey! Stay tuned for more amazing interviews next week, with J.J. Abrams, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and more! Have you missed the fun so far? Check out my photo tour of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens Global Press Event!
Are you excited to see Han Solo return in Star Wars: The Force Awakens?
This post is sponsored by Disney. I received an all-inclusive press trip in exchange for this posting. All Star Wars loving opinions are my own. Be sure to follow Raising Whasians via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube for more Disney movie updates!