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Harrison Ford lightens up in cop comedy

By KAREN BUTLER, United Press International   |   June 26, 2003 at 12:49 PM   |   Comments

NEW YORK, June 26 (UPI) -- Harrison Ford doesn't know why everyone is making such a big fuss about his recent comic turn in "Hollywood Homicide."

After all, he reasons, he has been making funny movies for years -- long before well-respected dramatic actors Robert DeNiro and Anthony Hopkins started peppering their resumes with comedies.

"I have always done comedy," Ford recently told United Press International. "From the very beginning of my career, I've had the opportunity to do comedies. I always considered 'Indiana Jones' comedy. I had a comedic role to play in 'Star Wars.' And then I did a lot of romantic comedies, which by their nature are somewhat less funny than this movie, which is pushed a little further. 'Six Days Seven Nights' was pushed pretty far, but 'Sabrina' was meant to be a romantic comedy."

"Hollywood Homicide" is a buddy movie that pairs the "Air Force One" actor with "Pearl Harbor" heartthrob Josh Hartnett.

"I haven't done a comedy for a while," said the 60-year-old actor. "The last comedy I did was 'Six Days Seven Nights,' unless you count 'K19: The Widowmaker,' which a lot of people did. So, I was looking for a comedy, and this one came along. There wasn't much of a script, but it seemed like a really strong concept, and I always liked director Ron Shelton's work."

Noting that his latest film offers him the opportunity "go a little further" than he ever has before, Ford said he tries to stagger his film projects so he doesn't repeat himself.

Asked why he doesn't take more roles that require him to yuck it up, the actor known for his portrayals of wise-cracking adventurers like Han Solo and Indiana Jones -- and, in later years, various somber men in grave situations -- explained, "I get opportunities, but I'm not always available."

"I do a mix of different kinds of genres, different kinds of characters," he continued. "When this came along, it seemed like a real good idea at the time. A nice contrast to 'K-19.'"

Although Ford does not count going to see movies as one of his passions, he admitted that he enjoys them when his kids drag him out to watch one or he catches a good film on television or video.

"I like all kinds of comedy," he remarked. "I like the quieter, more sophisticated things, but I also really liked 'Liar, Liar' and 'Dumb and

Dumber.'"

Asked what he thought of his young co-star, who plays a rookie cop who moonlights as a yoga instructor, but dreams of being an actor.

"I'd seen his work and was happy to have the opportunity to work with him," said Ford, describing Hartnett as a young man possessing "an aspect of uniqueness" he has never seen before. "I think he's a capable young guy, very personable, who cares desperately about his work. He has a very different approach to it than I do. I think he'll be around long time."

Just how do their work styles differ?

"I'm a little bit more improvisational and less worried about how to make something work," Ford replied.

In recent interviews, Hartnett candidly admitted feeling awe-struck while working with Ford, an actor he has admired all of his life.

"It worked for the characters in the movie," the older man said of his relationship with Hartnett. "I didn't do all that much to make him comfortable."

That said, Ford doesn't see how his and Hartnett's experience differed from that of any newcomer working with an old pro.

"I think that happens in everybody's life," observed the former carpenter. "A young reporter working at your paper would not have the experience you have and be intimidated. That sort of thing happens."

For some, meeting people who have preconceived notions about them might make them feel uncomfortable, but Ford said he doesn't even notice now unless it becomes an impediment. One thing that does bother him, however, is how little accountability there seems to be when it comes to the press reporting the personal lives of famous people.

"I'd like very much to have my private life kept out of the public eye," he mused. "The most bothersome thing is: there is no test of truth anymore.

"Celebrity journalism, this obsession with celebrity that is serviced by a large portion of the press is, I think, very corrosive and in fact, because of the way our laws are unless you can prove harmful intent -- just being wrong ... being inaccurate -- is not actionable," he argued.

Worse than gossipmongers are the paparazzi, he said. "They drive me crazy. I hate them."

Of course, Ford probably has to deal with them a lot more now that he has left the tranquil life of his Wyoming ranch and the alleged anonymity of New York City to live with girlfriend Calista Flockhart in Los Angeles, but the actor insists that it is how you live your life, not where you live it that

matters.

"I don't think there's anything toxic about Hollywood especially," he contended. "It depends on who you hang out with. How you conduct your life. Whether you want to live in a big, crowded, busy city with bad air or not. Every big city has its problems. I don't live in Wyoming anymore because my

kids are in school in (Los Angeles)."

Noting that he has no problem sharing "some" of his life, the notoriously private actor emphasized that he draws the line at his children being photographed and said he doesn't usually disclose personal details about his relationships. Ford argued that if people want to know who he is they should simply go see his movies.

"You'll find out a little bit about who I am," he promised. I've been in the public eye for 30 years. If somebody doesn't have a sense of who I am, that's OK with me. I feel what I have to do is offer good product, and I feel quite happy to take advantage of this opportunity to bring it to people, but my private life is not anybody's goddamn business."

Ford clarified his position when a journalist at a Los Angeles press junket interrogated him about his current romantic relationship with Flockhart. Asked if he was happy and in love, as a recent People magazine article suggested, the actor grumbled: "Come on. I can't do that. I never have been comfortable talking about my personal life, and it's little to late to start now. I'm happy and I think we'll let it go at that."

"Hollywood Homicide" is in theaters now.

© 2003 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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