imply put, Harrison Ford is the
man. Yeah, Clint Eastwood is close, Paul Newman could put up a fight, and De Niro is De Niro – but Harrison, with his charisma and too-cool-for-school nonchalantness, brought the world of cinema such ridiculously cool characters as Indiana Jones, Han Solo, and Rick Deckard. Outside his iconic, hugely popular roles, he’s shown how good he really can be in his films like The Mosquito Coast
(a role which gave him his only Oscar-nomination to date), and Frantic
. Of course, it’s no secret that the past decade of Harrison’s career can be considered a huge slump (of the six movies he’s been in since 1998, K-19: The Widowmaker
is probably the only one worth remembering at all), and considering the amount of pull he has in the woods of Holly – even now, I bet he still has the power to do pretty much whatever he wants – it’s nothing less than a shame.
I don’t think all of the blame should be put on Ford’s shoulders though, despite the fact that he has the final say in the projects he chooses. I think a lot of it comes from the frustration of the failures that come from the risks he takes (at the top of his star power in the mid-80s, The Mosquito Coast, which Ford claims to be his favorite film he’s been in, only pulled in a measly $14 million; recently, his big risk K-19 didn’t even make half of its budget back). In a way, he probably felt that this isn’t what the public wanted from him and since he makes films for an audience and understands that, he tried to choose more “conventional,” “acceptable” roles. I’ve talked before about how Harrison was going to star in an adaptation of A Walk Among the Tombstones, which had a script written by Scott Frank (who went on to write and direct the phenomenal The Lookout) and was to be directed by Joe Carnahan (Narc, Smokin’ Aces). In this drama-thriller, Ford was to take on the role of Matthew Scudder, an alcoholic private-eye who is hired by a drug dealer to find the men who kidnapped and murdered his wife. Eventually, Ford decided to back out of the deal, and the movie ultimately fell apart. In an interview for The Lookout earlier this year, Scott Frank finally opened up about why the whole deal fell apart:
“I think he [Ford] was concerned about the darkness in that character. … He said that to us. He said his customers wouldn’t want to see him in something like this, to which I would argue I’m not sure he has the same customers that he once had. I think there are a lot of people who’d love to see him in this. I still would love to see him do this movie. It’s the perfect movie for him but who knows?”
Can you imagine Ford in that role? I absolutely drool at the near impossibility of talks somehow restarting for this and the film coming together and seeing Ford in a role that promises to be not only complex, but a little out of his comfort zone and much darker than we’ve seen from him in the past decade. That quote above makes it pretty obvious that Ford just doesn’t think people want that though, and that’s understandable and it’s hard to blame him. There are many reasons people act and I can think of three reasons that stand out above the rest: acting for oneself (I’d put Daniel Day-Lewis here), acting for the fans (yep, this is where I’d put Ford and I think it’s why he’s making another Indy too), and acting for the money (I think every actor in Hollywood has a little of this in them).
So, it’s easy to understand why I’m (cautiously) optimistic about Harrison Ford’s upcoming Crossing Over. I have plenty of reasons to be doubtful: it’s a multi-character intersecting drama about a controversial issue (i.e. Crash, Babel), it’s written and directed by Wayne Kramer (The Cooler, Running Scared) who I find simply mediocre at best (and way too over-stylized for my taste), and it has a cast of solid, but somewhat washed-up actors (Ray Liotta, who has sunken to the depths of Uwe Boll, Ashley Judd, who hasn’t done anything worthwhile in years, and Sean Penn, who’s last memorable film was in 2003). Still, I’ve been hopefully that this, along with the new Indy 4, will bring Harrison out of that slump that he should have never been in in the first place. Not so much for him, because he has nothing left to prove and he shouldn’t feel like he does, but I want this for me, for completely selfish reasons, because ever since I was a little boy, probably three years old I’ve looked up to Harrison Ford as a hero. Because he truly is the greatest living movie star.
You can check out some previously released photos of Ford on the set of Crossing Over right here, and you can see the newest picture released at the top. You can’t tell how a film will turn out from simple, leaked pictures like this, but man, oh man, do I want this to be good (whenever it happens to come out, which I’m guessing might not be until next Fall). If not, at least we’ll have Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which will be awesome and definitely make me completely giddy like a child when I finally see it (the only way I could have been more excited for this movie was if I had been cast as an extra like I had hoped and tried for – see: Indiana Jones and the Cast Crusade – when my friend and I drove six-hundred miles for the casting call. Oh, how much sweeter life would be!).