So you think Harrison Ford is too old to be Indiana Jones 4? Well, think again! In his latest film, Firewall, Harrison plays a bank security specialist; when his family is held hostage by Paul Bettany, he’s forced to steel $20 million from his own bank.
What Paul doesn’t know is Harrison turns the tables on him, and his team at the end. Not only that, but Harrison and Paul kick the crap out of each other in the final showdown.
In fact, the 63-year-old Harrison did most of his own stunts. I asked him about his choices for picking roles and if he gravitates towards the action films. His answer was a bit modest, but very true. He said, “I do the action as much as possible; I always have from the very beginning. I think it’s very important to be able to look into the character and feel his fear, or his triumph, or his pain, or his exhaustion, than to be on the back of a stunt man’s head. And I know how to do it; I’ve been doing it for 30 years, it’s no big deal. And it’s not that I wanted to do the action, all of the action, it’s just I knew, I know how to do it. I know how to do it safely, I know how to do it without hurting other people, without hurting myself; just do it, it’s not a big deal.”
When I looked at him on screen, I truly was beyond impressed at his ability to nail a certain jump, or a punch, or a kick, or leap through window. What about a stuntman? Harrison, as he says, knows how to do it, but does have to go to the double once in a while. “I work with people I trust, and who trust me. And there have been times where I’ve said ‘I can do that if you want me to’ and they ‘I think it would be better if they do it’ or whoever is doubling me for it. There’s one scene in this film that I didn’t do in the fight sequence; and I knew it was going to hurt, and the stuntman knew it was going to hurt – and we were both right, it hurt.”
To me, that’s incredible; I’m 27 and I wish I had at least 20 percent of his energy. The former Han Solo takes his exercise seriously, not working out, but playing tennis – every day! “[I play] four or five times a week if I’m off, probably three times a week when I’m working. But that’s about it, I’ve suffered a very lucky, genetic accident.”
With regards to working out, Sean Connery was 59 in 1989 for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. We know he worked out extensively to get ready for that part. In two years, Harrison will be 65; how much more can they hold out on shooting a fourth installment?
If you look at him now, he’s ready; but, when pushed about what’s going on, he gave us the same answer we’ve been hearing for the past three or four years. “I’m just waiting for the script to be ready; everybody agrees that we’re close, we’re excited about it, I’m looking forward to working with Steven (Spielberg) again. The audience is there for it; I’m looking forward to it.”
I know I, for one, cannot wait for ‘Indy’ back on the big screen!!
But, back to Firewall. A lot of technology is thrown around, and what you may not know is Harrison is pretty good with gadgets in real life. So, taking this role was right up his alley, and it was the story that really attracted him. “I found it interesting to do a story that was based on contemporary issues of computer privacy and identity theft; I think people are interested in that. And what I saw for myself was a character with an interesting acting problem, which was sustaining the tension that this character was under for 95 percent of this film. It was interesting how to phrase that simple kind of melody that it does become interesting and the energy sustains and builds in that right way.”
Well, it does build, but not to the extent that it could. Unfortunately, the story falls short towards the end of the film. But, I’ll bring up that fight sequence again – just to see this amazing 15 minute battle between Harrison and Paul is worth the price of admission.
In the film, Virginia Madsen plays Harrison’s wife; he’s got two children played by Jimmy Bennett and Carly Schroeder. Needless to say, these kids are so experienced in films and television shows. But, they’re still kids; and there’s a lot of language and violence that goes on during this film – and of course, off camera.
When we asked director Richard Loncraine about having the kids on set, he told us Virginia was the protector. When we talked to Paul about the kids, he basically said the same. When we asked Virginia about taking on a maternal role on set, her answer was a bit surprising. She did agree with what the others were saying; after all, she does have an 11-old son in real life.
What I think surprised us all was she mentioned Harrison as being protective of the kids. So, naturally, we had to ask Harrison about that; his answer was priceless. Dead panned serious, he responded, “What the fuck is she talking about it?” The room busted out laughing, including Harrison. He then continued with a more generic explanation. “No, I have children, and I respect that, and I respect their innocence. But these are not innocent children; these are highly trained professional actors in little bodies. Both of them are remarkably gifted young actors, and it’s just a joy to watch them. As it is to watch our five year-old appropriate and understand; watching my child is very interesting to me.”
As far as the film, I’d recommend checking it out. It’s a fairly decent story, and to watch a 63-year-old man do some of these stunts is incredible!
Firewall opens in theaters February 10th; it’s rated PG-13. For more information, clips, pics and trailers click here.
Check out our interview with Paul Bettany here.