an excerpt from Still the Same After All These Years

This article is a short excerpt from a 1994 Vanity Fair article by Virginia Campbell. The full article can be found at the Harrison Ford Web.

Q: Many people cite the scene where you and Kelly McGillis dance in the barn in Witness as one of the most romantic, erotic scenes in the movies. I talked to Peter Weir about how he directed the scene and he said that with romantic scenes you always go back to Alfred Hitchcock because nobody did it better. Do you agree with him on that?

A: I haven't a clue what he's talking about. The way I remember it, we needed them to have a moment alone. Not a lot of it was scripted. We just set up the situation and lightly rehearsed it and shot it. There was not a lot of thinking about it. It was clear that it was about anticipation and violating the rules. Peter asked for a suggestion for the music and I picked it. It was Otis Redding, wasn't it? No. It was Sam Cooke. Sam Cooke. Go back to Hitchcock? Go back to Sam Cooke if you want romance. That's where I'd go. I don't know about Hitchcock. To me he never created a believable human relationship. I find his films incredibly stilted.

Q: I think Weir was talking about the whole choreography of erotic scenes.

A: Maybe what he's talking about is that romance is not about coupling. It's about attenuating the moment before it happens, and it never has to happen. I think Barbra Streisand said about Sydney Pollack that he's the master of foreplay. That in his films people rarely end up doing it, because by that time all the pleasure and anticipation and the interest are gone, except for the people who are getting to do it. It's much more fun to watch the tension and anticipation than it is to watch people shtup.

Q: Do you think sexuality, as it exists in movies, leans more egregiously toward vulgar or toward the boring?

A: Sometimes it gets boring first, and then it gest vulgar. Sometimes it's vulgar to start out with and then that's boring. It's certainly some combination of those two characteristics.


Q: When you worked with River Pheonix-on The Mosquito Coast, and he also played the young Indiana Jones-did you fear for him at all?

A: Nope. He was strong, quick, happy, well-adjusted. He had a great relationship with his family. He was a terrific person. I'm really....very sad about what happened

Q: It seems to have been a matter of drugs

A: I don't think there's any way you can say that River had the kind of personality that becomes drug-dependent. But I think he was a person who became interested in everything and excited by everything and loved to get into any kind of shit just for the knowledge and experience. I don't think he sought fun through drugs. The quest wasn't for a high, but for an opening up and engagement in the world. He was a sweet, wonderful boy


Q: What were your feelings after the failure of The Mosquito Coast?

A: I adored that movie. If people didn't want to see me be mean to kids, I understood that. But I was thrilled to have made that movie, to have worked with Peter Weir, to have been in Belize for five months, to have worked with River and Helen Mirren. That was a success for me

Q: One story writen about you quoted "close friends" as being of the opinion that your character in The Mosquito Coast was so much like you the film could have been called The Harrison Ford Story. What did they mean?

A: I don't know who [said it] and I don't know what they mean, except that I have the capacity for the kind of indignation and ire that [Coast character] Allie Fox showed at the injustice and wrongness of the world-I don't pin it on the Japanese or whoever else Allie used as excuses for his own failure but....

Q: You also don't seem to have his propensity for going off the deep end

A: No, I don't