By Steve Persall
Times Film Critic
Like the characters that made him famous, Harrison Ford prefers action to talking.
Not that he won't do interviews, but Ford won't enjoy it, either. It's an occupational hazard he handles with courtesy if not candor. Even promoting a rare comedic role in Morning Glory — playing pompous TV anchorman Mike Pomeroy — can't bring a smile to his voice over the telephone.
Ford recently spent a week in Japan at the Convention on Biological Diversity, pushing for the United States to join a worldwide commitment to preserving the environment. We got him on the telephone the day after returning home:
This week you're saving the world and selling a movie. I have questions on both subjects. Which would you like to address first?
Well, the world still seems to be there; let's sell the movie.
Fair enough. Why so long for you between making comedies?
I don't know. I mean, I guess first of all they don't ask me often enough. Second of all, when they do, sometimes I don't think the material has enough ambition. There's comedy and then there's comedy. I liked this script because there was wit and intelligence and something more to it than jokes.
It was the subject as much as it was the opportunity for me (to be funny). The relationship with the character that Rachel plays was really the lure for me. In the context of their relationship there's a lot of opportunity for some serious human reality, and laughs at the same time.
The script addresses the conflict between delivering hard news and fluffy entertainment. Mike Pomeroy is a dinosaur in the modern media age, but he's right.
Yeah. That's always a nice aspect to a character, when he's right and the audience in some sense can recognize the fact that he's right. I don't know that we have a place to go to get the news these days. Certainly, I think the networks are still trying very hard to do serious news, but so much of what we see is sugar, sugar, sugar.
In a recent CNN.com essay on biodiversity, you wrote that the ecosystem is at a tipping point. What was the tipping point that moved you to action?
I've been on the board of Conservation International for almost 20 years, so if there was a tipping point it was 20 years ago when I recognized that a lot of nature was under threat, and people who live in places that are important to save needed some help, as well . . . to benefit them and help protect the nature they live amongst. Twenty years ago it was a different game.
One last question about the movie: Your co-star Patrick Wilson is from St. Petersburg. Did he tell you his father (John Wilson) is a TV anchorman (for WTVT-Ch. 13), maybe for background?
He never mentioned it to me, no. Patrick's a very capable actor. He'll do well in the business. He's got some real chops.
Good looking, too.
Well, yeah, that doesn't hurt, I suppose. I don't know much about that part of it, you know.