If there’s ever a time for actors to share some uncomfortable opinions, it’s the Oscars. As the outraged masses of Facebook will tell you, Hollywood is just too political these days. Luckily for us, Harrison Ford isn’t really concerned with what anyone thinks, so long as he can continue buying and crashing planes. Shuffling onstage to read the nominees for Best Editing at the 93rd Academy Awards, the always-surly Harrison Ford took the opportunity to share some editing notes about a 40-year-old movie called Blade Runner.
“I’d like to share some notes, some editorial suggestions that were prepared after the screening of, uh, a movie I was in,” joked Ford. “Opening too choppy. Why is this voice-over track so terrible? He sounds drugged.”
“Were they all on drugs? Dekker at the piano is interminable. Flashback dialogue is confusing. Is he listening to a tape? Why do we need the third cut to the eggs? The synagogue music is awful on the street. We’ve got to use Vangelis. Up to Zora’s death, the movie is deadly dull. This movie gets worse every screening.”
This wouldn’t be the first time Ford has taken a few shots at Blade Runner’s original theatrical cut. In fact, for decades, he was rumored to have sabotaged the studio-imposed narration, a rumor he put to rest in a 2002 interview with Playboy. He told Playboy that it wasn’t intentionally bad; it just happened to be bad.
I was compelled by my contract to do the narration. When I first agreed to do the film, I told Ridley there was too much information given to the audience in narration. I said, “Let’s take it out and put it into scenes and let the audience acquire this information in a narrative fashion, without being told it.” And he said it was a good idea. We sat around the kitchen table and we did it. When we got done, the studio said nobody will understand this f*ing movie. We have to create a narrative. They had already thrown Ridley off the movie - they were over budget. So I was compelled by my contract to record this narration, which I did five or six different times. Finally, I show up to do it for the last time and there’s this old Hollywood writer sitting there, pipe sticking out of his mouth, pounding away at this portable typewriter in one of the studios. I had never seen this guy before, so I stuck my head in and said, “Hi, I’m Harrison Ford.” He kind of waves me off. He came to hand me his pages. To this day, I still don’t remember who he was, and so I said, “Look, I’ve done this five times before. I’m not going to argue with you about anything. I’ve argued and I’ve never won, so I’m just going to read this 10 times, and you guys do with it what you will.” I did that. Did I deliberately do it badly? No. I delivered it to the best of my ability given that I had no input. I never thought they’d use it. But I didn’t try and sandbag it. It was simply bad narration.
Never change, Harrison Ford. Never change.