Harrison Ford prefers to use few words, and to choose them carefully. He has been famous for four decades, vaulted into celebrity at the age of 34 when he appeared as Han Solo in the first Star Wars movie, and since then he has become nearly as famous for granting interviews in which he tries to share the bare minimum about whoever it is he might really be.
“It’s always better,” he says, over a breakfast frittata in Boston, “not to talk about it, I think. Just fucking do it. Don’t ’splain it. Especially if you’re getting away with it.”
As I am his breakfast companion today, and as he’s here to be interviewed, this doesn’t seem like a promising trajectory. I feel obliged to remind him that I am in the ’splain business.
“Yeah,” he says, with that gravelly drawl. “I know.”
You might think, then, that an interview with Ford would be a boring and futile exercise. And yet it’s not, not at all. In large part, this is because Harrison Ford is more interesting and more entertaining when he’s avoiding questions than most people are when they’re answering them. I could spend all day listening to Harrison Ford try to find ways to stop me from asking him things. He has a grouchiness that’s kind of like a charisma all its own, and he has an aversion to shameless self-revelation—which is not quite the same thing as secrecy. But there’s also a natural law of conversation: Talk long enough to someone, and some kind of picture will emerge.
Here, for instance, is a somewhat typical example of the kind of exchange Ford seems to prefer.
“I’ve been very, very lucky. Extraordinarily lucky. Many, many people with, you know, more brains, more talent, cuter, have not had the luck that I’ve had.”
Well, to a degree that’s true for anyone who’s successful. But at the same time it sidesteps—
“Well, let’s sidestep it then.”
You’d sidestep all day if I let you!
He gives me an amused look. “I don’t have to write this shit.”
I laugh despite myself, and he continues.
“I’m not hurting you, am I?” His default stance—even if it will turn out to be untrue, ultimately—is that pretty much anything he has to say, he already said long ago. “When you go back and you do your research and you see all this reams of shit that’s been written, there really isn’t anything left to say. Because I haven’t just changed my mind last night. It’s the same old shit.”
Yeah, but even that is kind of interesting.
“Well,” Ford says, looking somewhat dismayed, “that’s my mistake.”
Read more at GQ.