New York Tyrant

Interview with Harrison Ford, 2019
by Brad Phillips

Jordan Castro

- Good afternoon Mr. Ford. It really was quite a bit of working tracking you down.
- Nice to meet you - I, I can't remember if you gave me your name.
- Absolutely Mr. Ford, absolutely. So, you're closing in on eighty years old right now! You're really just hanging tight there aren't you? No more Mr. Leading Man I guess, I mean no, not unless you're leading a band of geriatric...
- I'm sorry, what paper did you say you were from?
- Absolutely. Listen, anyone ever call you Harry? Back in the day maybe, the good old days as they say.
- No, never.
- Three syllables are a bit much no? So, Harry tell me.
- Where's the camera? The notebook? Who's that man making a sandwich in my kitchen?
- Like I said, real hard to track you down, almost as if nobody in Hollywood knew who you were. What? Tony quiet now, serious interview here. What? Sure, tuna salad if he's got it. So Harry
-  Really, nobody calls me that, and...
- A Time for Killing!
- What? (Mr. Ford appears terrified, covering his face with his hands)
- Your first film Harry. 1967. Googled it, based on the poster, definitely unwatchable in my opinion.
- What about it?
- Well the thing is, Star Wars. Everyone knows you from Star Wars. Star Wars Star Wars Star Wars. Pretttttty mainstream stuff in our opinion. Then you had that bit part in Apocalypse Now, must have got you laid back then hey, working with fat Francis? Art house film. But Star Wars. Thing is Harrison, I'll go the full three syllables as a gesture, ok, a gesture - thing is, Star Wars came out in '77, A Time for Killing in '67. You were in a few pictures, and I do mean a few, over the course of that decade, minor roles I imagine, I mean I haven't seen American Graffiti, because well, fuck it really - probably something my grandparents thought was 'cool and subversive' - automatic pass for me right there - but ten years. 
- When you say 'mainstream in our opinion' who're you talking about?
- Got a bit of a piece of food on your chin Harry, there - wait, I got it. What's that, eating a pear before we showed up hey? Bosc or Bartlett? Bosc is absolute garbage if you ask me. Mush. I eat Bartlett and only when they're hard enough to crack your fucking jaw open Harry. 
- Listen. My manager...
- C'mon, you want to play that game? The Hollywood game, like you got a manager? Like we had to 'grease some palms' to come talk to you? Christ Mister Harrison Ford, we used a skip tracer to find you. Pay your phone bills and you can keep all the food on your face you want.
- What do you want?
- Those ten years, before Star Wars. you were just a kid really in that first film, the unwatchable one, what was he Tony, twenty-five? That's right, and in Star Wars you were thirty-five. What happened during those ten years Harrison? All the ladies love Harrison Ford, People Magazine said it, World's Most Handsome man or some bullshit. The ladies want him, the men wanna be him, that old bit. It doesn't take an expert to know that between the ages of 25 to 35 is when a man is at his most attractive. Did you think it was just women? So why couldn't you get the roles Harry? I mean you've obviously, as an actor, just got such an overabundance of range, haven't you? 
- (Laughter from the kitchen)
- I know Tony, I know. Essentially two facial expressions. The drinking game. Which Harrison will we get tonight type thing. But he doesn't know it, or does he? Do you know Harrison?
- Know what?
- What? How'd you pay the bills for those ten years Mr. Ford? A man as attractive yourself, to both men and women alike. Are there some film reels out there you paid to buy back once you started making money? What'd you call them then, blue movies? Did you do pornography Harry. That's the question here. Don't see how I could be more direct about it. Male on Female, Male on Male, Male Male on Female, Male Male on Male, Male Male on Male Male, Solo Male. Your body is just fantastic, I mean the tone, the lines, both hard and soft seeming, hairless as a skinned cat. Surely they must have been beating down your door those San Franciscan cineastes with the wholesale Vaseline and strobe lights on lease scene. Tell me I'm wrong Harrison.
- You're wrong. I've never been in any film like that. I have no idea where this is coming from. 
- (At this point Mr. Ford's personal care assistant opens the front door with her own key. Cued by a knowing glance, Tony rushes towards her and manages to convince this seemingly kind older woman of unknown ethnicity that the two of them are his nephews, up from Oakland for a rare visit, and they'll take care of all of it, yes, even the sponge bath, why not? Love knows no bounds.)
- Who was that?
- I don't know what you mean Harry. Are you hungry? I don't think Tony finished his sandwich.
- Where's the goddamned tape recorder or camera? Why aren't you taking notes?
- Don't know what you mean. Not a fucking clue what you're on about. Let’s get back to business Harry can we do that? 
- (Tony lets a stunning woman in through the side door off the kitchen. Six feet tall, jet black hair tied in a pony tail high on her head, sheer baby blue shirt revealing small high breasts and a flat stomach. Refulgent green eyes. Small waist, shirt tucked into a short black patent leather skirt. No tights or stockings; that sort of pornographic nude leg, the bluish tint of videotaped sex gleaming on the thighs like oil. White ankle socks. Black ankle boots. Her face is whiter than the rest of her body, made more dramatic by lipstick and kohled eyes. Tony walks her towards the interview area. She observes both men with an expressionless face, then allows herself to be led out of sight into a room guarded by overgrown ferns.) 
- Who the hell is that?
- What? You mean the camera operator Harrison? Pretty girl isn’t she. But look, time is money as people like to say out here.
- I need to take my medication.
- Harrison. Let’s go back in time, make a mental picture, that sort of thing. The year was 1979, Star Wars had just changed the world. 1979, complete fucking piece of shit year wasn’t it. You’d been trying your best, doing the gay pornography circuit between auditions, landed a few bit parts in mainstream films. What do you do that year Harry? Why you divorce Mary Marquardt you fucking bastard. Been with you since you were a high-school jock with dreams of making it on the silver screen, which, right there we’ve got a rare but compelling homosexual narrative worth a motion picture of its own. I mean what a classic piece of shit thing to do. Get famous, dump the woman that supported you. Do you think it’s somehow redeeming that you had your weird elfin wife Calista take care of Mary while she was dying? Paid the medical bills for her, bought her a home?  Nothing more than the most obvious guilt, sadly cliché and to my mind, reprehensible. Better to leave her to die alone than to condescend to her that way, having Calista, who disappeared from a promising career after marrying you, wipe your first wife’s stinking sclerotic brow. I can tell you Tony agrees with me wholeheartedly on this one.
- That’s none of your bus- (Mr. Ford becomes flustered and coughs repulsively, his face turning red) Mary’s still alive!
- Absolutely. You really do just, I mean Calista, what’s she been up to besides playing bingo? You really do decommission these women don’t you. I guess with Calista you realized the age gap was large enough that she’d help you ‘pass over’ as they say while still being young, and therefore pretty enough for you? 
- I want
- What a disgusting fucking year that was, 1979. Let’s take another trip down memory lane shall we. The year was 1983, disgusting, just in a different way. Well, I’ll give it to you this time, your second wife was only eight years younger than you. Old Melissa Matheson, screenwriter, blah blah. Tibetan activist as if she could be more fucking predictable. Do you know something Harry, do you know that the Dalai Lama himself doesn’t want Tibet to separate from China? You fucking white saviors. Free Tibet? Leave Tibet Alone more like it. So you make some films, real fucking think pieces between Star Wars and Melissa. Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Empire Strikes Back, and then I guess you’d either fucked every available orifice in the Republic of California or found someone else who had shared the same incurable STD as you and decided to settle down again. All the papers used the same term to describe Ms. Matheson when the divorce was happening. Do you remember what it was Harry? ‘Long suffering’ – she was the Long-Suffering Wife of the best paid actor in Hollywood, Harry Ford. This fucking woman wrote E.T. Harry, do you understand the depth of feeling a person needs to possess to write a film like that? And how do you celebrate her, her devotion, her womanhood, her personhood for fuck sake. You drink like a fish. You fuck every pathetic female new to Hollywood looking for some screen time. I wouldn’t be surprised if you were sitting outside the bus terminal in a chauffeured car picking them up. 
- Fuck y 
- Let me just unfold this printout here. From the Daily Mail. Reliable news source for a lot of people Harry, don’t try to pretend it’s not. Here’s some memorable lines describing the period leading up to the divorce. And I’m gonna read them very slowly for you so that you don’t miss a word.
- Who’s your boss?
- Absolutely Harry. Okay. Bear me with me now.
- (The interviewer takes a folded piece of paper from his jacket pocket, spreads it out in front of himself, then proceeds to read the following in an extremely slow and methodical manner.)
     - Ford was seen in a Manhattan bar, rolling around on the floor with a young woman during a boozy night out on the town.
     - And worse was yet to come. In November the Indiana Jones star was pictured stumbling out of a number of strip clubs in Kansas.
     - Waitresses said Ford introduced himself as 'Tom the meat processor' as he sat in front of the stage and handed out cash to strippers.
     - The actor was also spotted visiting strip clubs in Nebraska and Florida, where a Miami exotic dancer claimed: 'Things got very hot and heavy between us - and I mean extremely hot and heavy.'
     - On location in Russia, Ford was seen dancing with a number of young women and was said to be sporting a 'giant love bite' on his neck.
     - Friends said that his 50-year-old wife would cry herself to sleep reading about her husband's exploits.
     - Despite the public humiliation, Melissa, who wrote the script for ET, reluctantly allowed Ford back into the family home.
     - In the hope of keeping her husband away from the bright lights of Hollywood, she insisted they spend time together at their isolated 800-acre ranch in Wyoming.
     - However, it is believed that problems persisted and Melissa decided enough was enough.
     - The friend said: 'He had begged for another chance. He promised to give up his womanizing ways and stay faithful but, of course, it never happened. The moment he got the chance he was off chasing anything in a skirt.'
- (Mr. Ford was now crying openly. His palms flat on the table, staring blankly ahead at his interlocutor)
- Is this right Harry, were you Tom the Meat Processor? You think the children that were moved to tears by E.T. should have to even know the world they inhabit is full of men like yourself who think of women as meat, who think of themselves as meat processors? It’s un-fucking-forgivable. Melissa crying herself to sleep and still willing to give you another chance. You fucking prick. 
- I want y
- Shut your mouth. Well she’s dead now isn’t she, poor Melissa. Never did marry again, apparently died of a broken heart, although you can call it cancer like the doctors did. What’s cancer though but the body eating away at itself cause it can’t bear its own memories anymore. You sure did process that meat though didn’t you Harry, you processed poor Ms. Matheson, who did nothing but change the lives of children and, naively in our opinion, attempted to help Tibetans.
- I want y
- Fine. We’re almost done anyway. Tony’s working upstairs with Greta on the camerawork. You should see how a man looks crying when shot from above through the verdant latticework of a healthy fern.
- I never saw a single camera.
- Absolutely Harry. But, let’s get back to what we were talking about before. The Indiana Jones films, the ones you made with that Steve guy, the one who did the thing about the list. Shrimper’s List. What?
- (Tony yells out the name Schindler from upstairs)
- That’s right. Steve Schindler. So those films, that must have really helped with the processing plant hey Harry? What naïve desperate young woman doesn’t love a fake brooding mystical archeologist with impeccable balance and facility with multiple weapons? 
- If I don’t take my medication-
- Tony! Have Greta bring down a selection of pills from Harry’s cabinet up there. Just root around, Harry’s looking a bit pallid, we need him at his best.
- Am I supposed to be promoting
- Promoting? That’s right Harry. We’re here to discuss your film Frantic, made under the direction of Hollywood’s most celebrated rapist Roman Polanksi. But we’ve got to cover some other ground first.
- Working with Roman was a privilege
- Ha! Tony you hear that? 
- (Tony and Greta can be heard laughing upstairs, then the sound of breaking glass.)
- So you and Steven Schindler make these films about Doctor Indiana Jones! James Bond meets, well, name a famous archaeologist. The money must have just been flooding in Harry. Would you say the money was flooding in? Did it flood money?
- Roman has always been an actor’s director.
- For fuck sake. Do you, kids watched those movies, the ones about looting the sacred treasures of indigenous people, do you realize that? Children. Oh, Mary understood what children needed, E.T. knew what children needed. You and Schindler though? Not so much in our opinion. Tony what do you think?
- (Sounds of sexual intercourse are all that can be heard upstairs.)
- What’s happening up there?
- What’s that? Oh, hair and makeup Mr. Ford, hair and makeup. Seems that they want to reshoot an earlier scene.
- But I haven’t memorized my lines and
- Don’t worry Mr. Ford. You saw Greta no? 
- I
- Right, truly gorgeous. And gifted. A real talent, won’t let this city bring her down. Moral fortitude, a rare thing. She’ll be holding up the lines on a piece of, I mean, it’s really just that one line.
- My wife’s missing. No, she wouldn’t have met up with an old flame
- Exactly right Harry. She was kidnapped, wasn’t she? All these French cops being so, what’s the word,
- (Tony shouts out French! from upstairs)
- That’s right, being French. Real condescending types.
- But I saw her bracelet. Aren’t you going to do anything? She’s been taken.
- Perfect Harry, see, you don’t need Greta. To be honest, it’s Tony and I who need Greta, and quite badly at that. You’re doing fine. Just have to fix up your hair, looks like a bird had a seizure in it. 
- My wife’s missing!
- Exactly. Where is Calista anyway? We’d heard she left you, then when that nurse came round with her own key to the house, well, did Calista get tired of Tom the Meat Processor, or is it that you couldn’t process Calista’s meat anymore Harry? It’s one of two things really. Either she got sick and tired of you being a fucking bastard, or you couldn’t give her what she needed anymore. Which was it?
- I want to talk to Roman
- (Peals of laughter from upstairs)
- She’ll be back in no time Harry. Probably went out for a bite to eat, maybe lunch with the girls. So you and Steve Schindler, Raiders of the Lost Ark you thought, why not? But how, I mean he did that film about the list, how could he be so blind to it himself, did you not see the racism in that film Harry?
- I don’t know what you’re talking about. And if I don’t take my medication soon 
- Tony! You and Greta get down here with Mr. Ford’s medication.
- (Greta appears first from behind the ferns and begins to descend the staircase. Tony follows her, his dick still half erect. Greta is stark naked save the ankle socks and boots, Tony has nothing on at all. Truly an aesthetic singularity, Greta looks like a Helmut Newton model, all strength and sheen. Harrison Ford stares, unaware that he’s drooling. His interviewer also stares at the two of them as they approach with a small box. Greta winks at the interviewer, he winks back, she sets the box on the table and her and Tony disappear again into a side room.)
- Well, here’s a galaxy of pills Harry, which ones suit your fancy?
- I don’t, she always
- Ok. Greta? Come sit with me.
- (Greta returns, a cigarette in her plump lipsticked mouth, still nude save the footwear. She moves toward Harrison Ford, pulls back his chair, and plants herself in his lap.)
- Mr. Ford! Is that your cock or are you happy to see me?
- (Ford begins to cry again, his arthritic hands unable to properly clasp Greta’s high breasts. She opens the box on the table, pulls out a fistful of pills at random and lays them on the table in front of the weeping Ford, who looks to his interviewer for help and is greeted with a wink and a smile.)
- Alright then. I recognize some of these little fuckers. Vicodin, Clonazepam, Dilaudid. My, you must be terribly ill Harry, why don’t you just give up the ghost?
- That’s rude Joel.
- You’re right Greta.
- Who’s Joel?
- Wasn’t your publicist named Joel?
- My medication. 
- Okay then. Give him that big white oblong one, the one with five three hundred stamped on it. Wait, give him two.
- Can I have one Joel?
- Sure, gimme one while you’re at it, no way my doctor’d let me have Vicodin anymore.
- Three of those green ones two Greta, the ones that say Teva.
- These?
- Yeah those are the Clonaz. Open up Harry, Greta wants to give you a kiss.
- (Ford’s mouth, already rudely agape, opens further. Greta pops the five pills in his mouth. Ford begins to choke and Tony rushes to the kitchen for water, coming back to pour it into Ford’s mouth while Greta tilts his head back.)
- Are they in there? Did you take your medication Harry?
- He swallowed them. Christ, give me the water. His dick’s soft as butter now, they sure work fast.
- (Joel and Greta each take a Vicodin. Greta raises herself off Ford’s lap, his gnarled hand pathetically grasping at her as she stands up. She pushes his chair back in quite hard, causing him to cry out. Making a move to pull it back a bit Joel waves her off.)
- Give me a kiss Greta.
- Fuck off Joel. I’m gonna go lay down with Tony.
- (Joel and Harrison both watch the highly watchable sight of Greta leaving the room, then Joel hammers his fists on the table.)
- Harry! Did you fuck Karen Allen on the set of Raiders? God she was hot. What am I asking, of course you did, you’re Tom the Meat Processor.
- But where’s Roman?
- (Ford struggles to keep his eyes open, his speech is garbled. Joel reaches across the table and quickly slaps him in the face.)
- This is bullshit! Where Roman
- For Christ sake Harry, Roman’s gone for the day. Probably has a pre-teen waiting for him in his hotel. Emanuelle Seigner. I mean, not much of an actress was she, but baby Jesus in the manger was she hot in that movie. Also in that other flick with Pete Coyote there, Bitter Moon. My god what I’d do to her. Twenty-two years old in Frantic, married to that creepy Polish midget. Were they married or just together? Marriage doesn’t mean too much in France does it? Or maybe it does. Were they or weren’t they. To be honest Harry we don’t have the budget for a research team. 
- I miss my wife.
- Which one Harry? Mary? Melissa? Calista? Sondra?
- Sondra. I need to find her.
- Shut the fuck up Harry. We’re trying to wind this thing up. 
- W
- We’ll give you a chance to look it all over before it’s published.
- Notebook. Camera.
- So I mean, Raiders itself, a lot of racism in the movie. A lot of ethnophobia. The Nazi thing, scared me as a child. What scares me now watching them all again is the racism, and then I think, Tony too, that was an extremely popular film. The whole franchise really. And did anyone ever notice how fucking anti-brown it was? You think if you make Indian people mystical and holy it erases the fact that you also make them appear disgusting and primitive? Because it doesn’t. KALI MA.
- KALI MA. KALI MA. KAL MA. KALMA.
- (Tony shouts out an impression of the character Short Round, Dr. Jones’ adorably stereotypical Asian sidekick. DOCTAH JONES DOCTAH JONES.)
- Short Round? Short Round help me!
- Harry, really. Do you honestly think Jonathan Ke Quan is here? That he’s gonna show up with some gadget that’ll send you down a secret passage to safety? He hasn’t worked in years, not on the big screen anyway. No, Short Round was just a racist character you and Schindler came up with, George Lucas too, that fucking grotesquerie, born without jaw or chin. Looks like my balls on a bad day he does. No, it’s just you me Tony and Greta Harry. And all this medication. That’s it. Sun’s going down too.
- SHORT ROUND!
- (Hysterical laughter from Tony and Greta, as well as the sound of a room being ransacked, wood cracking.)
- I have your line Mr. Ford.
- Line please.
- I need to take my medication.
- I need to take my medication.
- Greta! Mr. Ford needs his medication. Please come and assist me.
- (Greta returns, this time dressed as she was before, but also wearing a light jacket.)
- Tony says you gotta wrap it up Joel. Otherwise the rental car.
- Okay, don’t worry. Take out four Vicodin and snap them each in half. There’s an indent, they break easy. Give me all the Clonazepam.
- Okay Mr. Ford, let’s take a walk down memory lane. Do you remember when you first decided, you know what, football is alright, but I’m deeper than that, I’m a real thinker. I’m gonna try this acting thing out?
- (Ford looks upward. His hands flat on the table, tears streaming from both eyes.)
- It was American Graffiti. Zabriskie Point. My helicopter crashed. Calista came all the time.
- Very brave you were with that helicopter Harry, rescuing people out there in Wyoming when Melissa was trying to get you away from the ladies. You weren’t just hoping to come across a high school girl’s softball team whose bus had run out of gas, were you? I mean, Tom the Meat Processor, coming in on a helicopter like that, they’d have to express their gratitude for you somehow wouldn’t they? But I’m sorry, go on.
- Mary got mad at me. I mean, Karen. So pretty. Everyone was on the pill then.
- (Joel was powdering the Clonazepam by placing them under his credit card and running his cigarette lighter over it. Greta had given him the halved Vicodin’s and gone back to Tony. The sound of newspaper crunching and wood splintering was all that came out of the room.)
- I’m just going, do you want a drink Mr. Ford? I’m going to get a water. Can I get you a water?
- Roman was always so…an actor’s director. Really. And Kate. Steve didn’t care. Passed her around. I don’t know. We had an abortionist practically on retainer.
- (Joel pours two glasses of water. Bringing them back to the table, he sweeps all the Clonazepam into one glass with his credit card and mixes it up with his finger.
- Greta! Mr. Ford needs his makeup touched up.
- The whole Jack Ryan thing, I don’t know. It was money. Patriot Games, I mean. It doesn’t matter. Ally McBeal, I’d get them to tape it for me
- (Greta returns, standing behind Mr. Ford and placing the fragments of Vicodin in his mouth while holding his head back with her hand. Joel passes her the tranquilizer laced glass of water and she puts it to Ford’s lips. He begins to swallow the pills and she holds his head back with the glass at his lips until there’s no liquid left. Then she departs.)
- Do you think you’ve got some more great films in you Harry? I mean, is it too late for Harrison Ford? What can we expect next?
- (Tony and Greta both come out, fully dressed. Tony jangling car keys in his left hand. Greta stands at the window, looking outside. The sun is beginning to set. The sound of fire swallowing up air comes from the room they’d just left. Curtains are catching fire, wood is popping.)
- What’s that, smoke. Short Round. Can I.
- Greta, pull his chair out a bit. Give him some breathing room. 
- Mr. Ford, this has been really, what can I say? A privilege?
- A privilege Joel.
- It’s truly been a privilege. 
- Where a
- Greta, go start the car. Tony, if you didn’t, wipe everything down again. I need to take a piss.
- (Joel goes to the bathroom. On a basket next to the toilet are copies of People Magazine with Taylor Lautner and Chris Evans on the covers. He looks in the medicine cabinet and finds a full bottle of Percocet. Joel puts it in his jacket pocket, flushes the toilet and returns to Harrison Ford. Smoke is billowing out of the side room and flames finger the ceiling, inching towards the room they’re all standing in.)
- It’s time we go now Mr. Ford. Again, we’re all very grateful. I hope we didn’t take up too much of your time.
- My wife’s missing
- Let’s go everybody.
- (The three of them exit the house and get into their rental vehicle, Greta at the driver’s seat. They begin to back out.)
- So Joel, do you think we can do another? We’ve got the car until tomorrow at eight. 
- What do you think Greta?
- I’ve got the map here. Let’s see if Robert Redford’s home.
- I love you guys.
- Love you too.

 

***

Brad Phillips is an artist and writer based in Kingston, Jamaica.


1 comment

  • I love you

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