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Morning Glory - Harrison Ford interview

Harrison Ford in Morning Glory

Interview by Rob Carnevale

MOVIE icon Harrison Ford talks about playing a grumpy, old school news anchorman in new comedy drama Morning Glory and working alongside Diane Keaton.

He also talks about his concerns for the environment and why he enjoyed working with Daniel Craig on forthcoming blockbuster Cowboys & Aliens.

Q. This is a comedy and you give a brilliantly dry comic performance. But we so rarely see you in comic roles, so is that by choice or because people don’t send you enough?
Harrison Ford: Well, I think there’s not a lot of wit in comedy anymore. In America nowadays there’s a lot of adolescent humour and I’m sort of a little too old for that. So, I was grateful to have this script. I thought it was very well written, as Rachel said, and I thought the character was an interesting one for me to play.

Q. What’s been your experience of watching or not watching morning television?
Harrison Ford: My experience comes from having appeared on morning television over the years to promote films, so I have been part of all kinds of morning shows. I certainly do admire those people that do it well, and there are a lot of people, I think, that do. My own character is a pretentious, stuffy, self satisfied person who really only has respect for what he’s done – his particular form of journalism, and that was something I could understand… what Mike’s point of view was about morning television.

Q. I would describe Mike as an old school journalist and one who’s always done the job properly?
Harrison Ford: I’m sorry? Well, he thinks he does. He thinks it’s a sacred profession and in a sense it used to be. In the United States, the most trusted man in America was Walter Conkrite, who kept his opinions out of it until nearly the end of his career, when he came out against the Vietnam War. I still think that the network news anchors do a very good job of… they have the resources, they have the budget in order to do it. But there’s another brand of news now that confirms whatever political prejudice you have, it’s full of bombast and vitriol and I think that contributed to the divisiveness and lack of civility in American culture, so I do regret it.

Q. You have a fantastic rapport with Diane Keaton in the film, but how easy was it to make out that you didn’t like her when she’s clearly so likeable?
Harrison Ford: Well, I’m in it for the money, that’s what I do, and it was clear that that was the relationship. It was fun to work with her because she’s very inventive and smart about what she does. I’ve always admired her work and she was a pleasure to work with. Roger [Michell] is a really helpful director. He sets up a situation very well and it was quite easy and fun to do.

Q. There’s a scene where you are sat with a group of news legends. What were you talking about off-camera? Was it news?
Harrison Ford: Chicks! What we were doing was terribly bad jokes. It was midday in a bar with no drinks waiting for them to get the light set up. I’d never met any of them before. They were all very charming. But their jokes were terrible. So, that’s what we did. We sat around telling jokes, we didn’t talk about the news business really I think at all.

Q. Harrison, you obviously have a great sense of humour, but what makes you laugh? What do you watch when you want to see something funny?
Harrison Ford: Well, I laugh a lot at largely inappropriate junctures and I enjoy a good joke. I can’t say I could nominate anybody in particular. Steve Martin makes me laugh, Robin Williams makes me laugh.

Q. Piers Morgan is heading to America to step into the shoes of Larry King. In your opinion, how is he going to hack it in America filling the boots of the man who wore the most famous braces in your country?
Harrison Ford: He’s promoting his show largely by professing to be looking for the truth from his subjects. So, I shall have nothing to do with him. I’m not interested in the truth, I’m interested in selling product. If you want the truth, go someplace else. It’s not my business.

Q. Environmental issues are very close to your heart and last year you went to Japan to attend the COP10. Why is the environment so close to your heart and what would you say that COP10 last year achieved?
Harrison Ford: Well, I’m delighted to be able to be involved in communicating about the environment. For 25 years or so, I’ve been involved with an organisation named Conservation International and it was at their behest that I went to Nagoya to urge the adoption of their agenda, which is to urge the 192 nations that were assembled there… by the way, only three nations on the planet are not signatories to the UN Convention on Biodiversity. One of them is the Holy City, the Vatican, the other is Andorra, and guess what the third one is… The United States of America.

So, I went not only to urge the protection of more of the terrestrial surface of the Earth and the ocean, but to urge the American government to step up to the plate and use that opportunity to urge that we become a signatory to the UN Convention on Biodiversity. I feel that there were some significant agreements at Nagoya. They were followed up by some positive approaches at Cancun, which came after that. So, it’s an ongoing battle and I’m happy to be able to be a part of it. It’s critical that we make significant attempts to address the issue so that our children can have something left in the world to live in – it’s that simple.

Q. You have such a recognisable face… I remember a few years ago you were photographed taking a canal boat holiday in Wales. Is that the sort of thing you find you can do regularly that means you’re able to keep a low profile?
Harrison Ford: On a canal boat in Wales? Yeah! That was good fun. Whooppee! But I’ve also taken a few canal boat holidays in narrow waterways in France… and it was really fun and a real pleasure.

Q. Your character in Morning Glory is described as the third worst person in the world. So how did you get into character? And looking ahead, can you talk a little about Cowboys & Aliens?
Harrison Ford: I found little difficulty in slipping into the skin of the third worst person in the world. It was a very well written script, the character was quite clear, the path of the character from being the third worst person in the world to perhaps the fourth through the relationship that he has with the character who Rachel plays was a clear dramatic obligation, and it was very fun to play that character.

Cowboys & Aliens is coming out in July this year and it seems to be the kind of movie people go to these days more than once. I’m delighted to be involved in one of those. I think everyone involved did a bang up job. It was wonderful working with Daniel Craig. He’s quite a funny, smart guy. The director, Jon Favreau, has done the last two Iron Man films. So, it’s a very different kind of movie, I was very happy to do it, I love Westerns, it was great to be outside all day on a horse, and I play a grumpy old man in that as well.

Read our review

Read our interview with Patrick Wilson

Morning Glory is out on Blu-ray and DVD on May 23 from Paramount Home Entertainment.