Harrison Ford, The Character Actor

One of the negatives of growing old in Hollywood is diminished box-office draw. Any aging star will attest to diminishing returns in their latter years. Over time some fans just move on. Others feel that at a certain point an actor is just too old to continue portraying certain characters.

On the positive side is the ability to seek out different roles, to play against type. An aging actor can opt to be a co-star and not have the weight of carrying a movie. In the latter half of his long career Harrison Ford has experienced the positives and negatives of growing older in Hollywood.

For a time one could argue that he was the biggest movie star in the world. But as time passed it seemed that unless he was portraying a world traveling archaeologist or a galaxy trekking star pilot his box office returns were limited.

Undeterred Harrison Ford continued to make movies and took advantage of the plus side of aging in Hollywood. He embraced more character driven roles. Since he was no longer the box office star that he once was he was now in a position to fully embrace these roles.

Three of his latter day films showcase his most success forays into character acting roles. The films are 42, Paranoia and The Age Of Adaline. Ford is clearly a member of the supporting cast in these films. And he is allowed to veer from his familiar look in each of these roles.

In the  2013 movie 42 Harrison Ford portrays Branch Rickey. He is almost unrecognizable in this role. A testament to his acting skills and the fine makeup work.

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In Paranoia, also released in 2013, Harrison Ford’s look is incredibly different from what fans have come to  expect.  His character Jock Goddard sports a buzz cut and thick black frame glasses. Not the typical look for Harrison Ford, but he makes it work. The film also features Gary Oldman in a supporting role. Their scenes together are the highlights of the movie. Watching these two veterans go head to head is a pleasure.

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The Age Of Adaline (2015) is a fantastic movie and  I really love his look in this film. This is clearly Blake Lively’s movie, but Harrison Ford’s role as William Jones is crucial. His acting in this film is some of his best in recent  years.

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Despite being past his Hollywood prime Harrison Ford has still managed to find box office success.  One only has to look at the ticket sales of the films  Star Wars: The Force Awakens  and Indiana Jones And The Kingdom of The Crystal Skull.  The buzz surrounding his appearance in Blade Runner 2049 is almost certain to translate into movie ticket sales. The recent announcement of a fifth Indiana Jones movie is sure to keep the 74 year old actor quite busy.  In the midst of all of these big budget blockbusters it is great to see him play smaller roles.  These parts give him an opportunity to really display his undervalued acting abilities.  He may be past his Hollywood prime, but he does not appear to be slowing down anytime soon.

Troy T.

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