There’s a million things Harrison Ford would rather do than give interviews, like stick hot bamboo slivers under his fingernails, especially when the subject is Star Wars.
But somehow, maybe it’s his style of humor, or maybe it’s because he looks like Howdy Doody, Conan O’Brien’s has been somewhat able to tame the beast here and there, maybe one of the only interviewers who can at least get Ford to crack a smile. (This possibly makes him the Harrison whisperer.)
Along with Robert DeNiro, Billy Bob Thornon, Tommy Lee Jones and Lou Reed, Ford made The Onion’s list of 17 Notoriously Prickly Interview Subjects, as “His body language is slouched and defeated; his answers are short, curt, and mumbled; and when the questions aren’t to his liking, he lashes out.”
O’Brien is an infinitely more skilled interviewer than I realized because he was able to ask Ford about his “grumpy image,” and Ford got a big laugh when he replied it was “horseh*t” on the air. (O’Brien got a good laugh out of it too.)
O’Brien even got away with asking about the infamous Holiday Special. Ford looks hilariously scared and uneasy when the subject comes up, becoming shell-shocked at trying to remember it. “No! It doesn’t exist!” When Conan says he has a piece of tape of it, Ford reaches across the desk and tries to strangle him.
Then O’Brien got out of Ford that his current wife, Calista Flockheart, took their son to see the Smurfs, the rival movie that actually embarrassingly beat Cowboys and Aliens at the box office opening weekend. (The final box office tally came in on Thursday claiming those little blue bastards actually edged out Cowboys. This has become like the Bush election recount in Florida…) Ford joked he’s going to try and get the money back his kid spent on the movie.
Then O’Brien brought out a Papa Smurf doll, and let Ford tear it apart on the air. (And truth be told, Ford had a pretty fiendish glint in his eye.) As we’ve seen a lot of times with celebrity interviews, especially with reluctant celebrities, sometimes you really have to go the extra mile for that Q&A gold, and if it takes the mutilation of a smurf doll, so be it. But hey, that’s why they pay Coco the big bucks.