What Co-Stars Have Said About Harrison Ford

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Vote up the best Harrison Ford memories from his co-stars.

It's not hard to see why Harrison Ford was one of the most popular stars of the 1980s and 1990s. He redefined machismo, adding a dash of Bob Hope hesitancy and wry humor to the stoical Clint Eastwood man-of-action mode. Unafraid to show fear and willing to get beaten onscreen by an über-tough German mechanic or flee like mad from a bunch of Stormtroopers, Ford knew how to keep his persona relatable. He winked at his audience, but not too much.

After entering the hallowed halls of geekdom not once but three times (as Han Solo, Indiana Jones, and replicant-hunter Rick Deckard), Ford broadened into acclaimed non-genre flicks like Witness, The Mosquito Coast, Presumed Innocent, and The Fugitive. It's been one hell of a 40-plus-year run. Still, at the end of the day, he's just a guy, and a guy who's had to work with lots of other entertainment professionals to make his career happen.

Here are tales of Harrison Ford, the man - rather than the motion-picture icon - from people who spent time with him on location and on soundstages day after day.

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  • Anne Heche Said Ford Was A 'Hero’ For Working With Her After She Came Out
    Photo: Six Days, Seven Nights / Buena Vista Pictures

    Around the time that the action/adventure/rom-com Six Days, Seven Nights was gearing into production, rising star Anne Heche was having some career trouble.

    Heche had brought then-partner Ellen DeGeneres as her plus-one to the premiere of 1997's Volcano, setting off a storm of controversy and gossip. In an era when it was still not the done thing for top stars to be openly gay, Heche feared bad publicity would cost her a spot in the Harrison Ford picture.

    Ford himself phoned Heche to put her concerns to rest. As she later recalled:

    He said, "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn who you're sleeping with. We're gonna make the best romantic comedy there is, and I'll see ya on the set." He's one of my heroes. He fought a battle for me, and I would be on any desert island with him any day.

    2,360 votes
  • Jonathan Ke Quan Said Ford Taught Him How To Swim
    Photo: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom / Paramount Pictures

    Vietnamese-American actor Jonathan Ke Quan (AKA Ke Huy Quan) earned the everlasting affection of movie fans with two 1980s performances: as Data in The Goonies and as Indy's sidekick Short Round in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Quan crushed both roles and it's not an exaggeration to say he gives Sean Connery and Karen Allen a run for their money as "best Indy sidekick ever."

    Quan has fond memories of the Temple of Doom production and his relationship with Ford, who seems to have taken on a big-brother role for the young actor:

    It was a very, very happy time. We all stayed in the same hotel in Sri Lanka and we'd go back to Harrison's hotel room and hang out. He even taught me to swim.

    On the set, Harrison played jokes on Steven all the time. There's one shot where the mine car pops up into frame. Right before we did it, Harrison got ice-cream cones and gave some to me and Kate. When Steve said, "Action," we all popped up with ice-cream smeared all over our faces.

    2,061 votes
  • Mark Hamill Said Ford Got So Mad Once, He Tried To Saw The ‘Millennium Falcon’ In Pieces
    Photo: The Empire Strikes Back / 20th Century Fox

    It warms every film geek's heart to know that Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford are friends in real life. Hamill's Luke Skywalker is easily the best "buddy" co-star Ford has ever had, and as time goes on, the chemistry between them - particularly in 1977's Star Wars - seems more and more perfect. The comic tension between the earnest, wide-eyed kid and the seen-it-all rogue propels so much of that first film's second act that it's impossible to imagine two other actors in those roles. 

    Hamill has his share of amusing anecdotes from their days acting together and has revealed that only he had a sense of humor that could soothe Ford's temper when on-set tension approached a breaking point. In a 2001 interview with Empire, Hamill recounted a particularly wild incident on the set of The Empire Strikes Back:

    You heard about Harrison taking a saw to the Millennium Falcon because he got so mad? People were coming up to me[,] going, "You gotta stop Harrison, he's sawing up the Falcon." It was made of wood and he just took a saw to it. I love Harrison. I got to stop him because I can make him laugh when he gets really, really mad.

    The story may be hard to believe, but one thing checks out: Ford, a carpenter, certainly knows his way around a saw.

    1,562 votes
  • River Phoenix Said Ford Was ‘A Very Logical Man’
    Photo: The Mosquito Coast / Warner Bros.

    River Phoenix played Harrison Ford's son in 1986's The Mosquito Coast, while in 1989's Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, he played young Indy himself.

    In 1988, between the two roles, Phoenix had this to say about his co-star:

    I didn’t know what to expect in the beginning. [Ford] was very down to earth, a very logical man, a very smart man, really educated. Practical. He’s sturdy. He seems like psychologically, he’s a sturdy man. A real father figure. In control. Very centred.

    It was Ford who suggested to Steven Spielberg that Phoenix be cast as young Indy in Last Crusade.

    After Phoenix's untimely passing in 1993, Ford remarked, "He played my son once, and I came to love him like a son."

    1,321 votes
  • Ryan Gosling Took A Punch From Ford, Then Got A Peace Offering
    Photo: Blade Runner 2049 / Warner Bros.

    During a fight scene in Blade Runner 2049, lead actor Ryan Gosling took a real punch from Harrison Ford, who later assured Graham Norton that it had been a mistake. "He was walking backward, I was walking forward, the camera was handheld, you have to make the punch look like it's intended," Ford said by way of explanation.

    "It's not just a punch, though," Gosling said. "A Harrison Ford punch is a different animal." When Ford said "[i]t was not a good punch," Gosling shot back: "I'll be the judge of that, okay?"

    Ford said he later went to Gosling's dressing room "with a bottle of Scotch in hand" to apologize, and poured a glass for his wounded colleague. Gosling apparently wasn't in a very chatty mood, though, so Ford left - taking the bottle with him.

    1,464 votes
  • Kate Capshaw Said Ford Reminded Her On-Set That She Was ‘A Gal In A B-Movie’
    Photo: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom / Paramount Pictures

    Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is a paradox. Now considered the darkest of the Indy movies, it also had perhaps the purest 1930s vibe of them all, with a plot largely lifted from 1939's Gunga Din and a central romance even more packed with fast-paced screwball banter than the Indy/Marion relationship from Raiders.

    Folks to this day debate whether Kate Capshaw's Willie Scott was more endearing or annoying - though she certainly endeared herself to director Steven Spielberg, who married her. But one thing she nailed was that rapid-fire back-and-forth that made Temple of Doom feel like a supercharged relic of Hollywood's Golden Age.

    Capshaw recalls that Ford knew exactly what kind of movie they were making, and advised her to lean into the B-movie elements rather than worry about deep characterization issues:

    We started in Sri Lanka, right in the middle of the movie, struggling to find who we were. Harrison was constantly reminding me that I was a gal in a B-movie and that I didn't need to put notes in the margin. "Faster and funnier" was all the direction we got.

    1,188 votes