Entertainment & Arts

Star Wars: 'No nostalgia' for Harrison Ford

Harrison Ford in Star Wars: The Force Awakens Image copyright Lucasfilm
Image caption Harrison Ford said nostalgia is "not a big part of my emotional package"

Star Wars actor Harrison Ford has said he felt no nostalgia when he returned to the role of Han Solo for the first time in more than 30 years.

Ford joins other original cast members Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which is released later this month.

Ford said the film will show how "the relationships between him and other characters have developed off-screen".

And he hinted that fans will see "new aspects" to Han Solo's personality.

Ford and director JJ Abrams spoke to BBC News entertainment correspondent Lizo Mzimba about the film.

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Media caption"There are new aspects of his nature which we'll see" Harrison Ford on Han Solo


Lizo Mzimba: What was it about the way Han Solo was written in this film that convinced you it was right to come back?

Harrison Ford: I think it mostly lay in the telling of the stories of his relationships with other characters in the story. And the part he plays in the progression of the story, mostly through his relationships with the new young actors - Daisy Ridley and John Boyega principally in this new story.

And it had to do with the opportunity to work with my friend JJ Abrams, whose work I have admired for a long time.

LM: How much did you put nostalgia to one side and just concentrate on playing the role?

HF: Completely. I don't think nostalgia is very useful to me. There is a story to be told, there's behaviour to create or to bring to the screen that will help tell that story, and nostalgia is just not really a big part of my emotional package anyway.

LM: So it was easy when you met Chewbacca for the first time or walked onto the Millennium Falcon to put any emotion to one side and concentrate on being Han Solo and again after all these years?

HF: Yeah, you're there to bring some aspect of truth or recognisability to the moment for the audience.

Image copyright 20th Century Fox/AP
Image caption Ford has been reunited with his co-stars Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill

LM: What is it about the character that has made him such a favourite over the decades, and how has he changed in this film?

HF: Each of the characters has a part to play, and there are people in the audience for each of the characters. Princess Leia has people that relate to her more strongly than other characters. The same with Luke Skywalker.

Of the character that I play, who had a kind of ironic distance from the mythology, I think many people identified with that point of view, and so embraced the character of Han Solo.

This new opportunity to play the character again recognises a passage of time, and there are indications in the film about how he came to develop, how the relationships between him and other characters have developed off-screen and so it adds some degree of interest and there are new aspects of his nature, perhaps, which we'll see.

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Media captionJJ Abrams: "It's a lot of anxiety, an insane amount of pressure"


LM: When you started this project, you had a vision you wanted to put on screen and also a level of anxiety. How close to your original vision do you think you've got to, and how's the anxiety been?

JJ Abrams: It's a lot of anxiety. It's an insane amount of pressure.

But I will say that it is offset by the work that everyone has done. The amazing work that has - to answer the first question - not just helped realise a vision I had at the beginning of this process, but elevated it enormously and exceeded all expectations.

Every day as it gets closer to this movie coming out, I'm more and more excited for people to see the work this cast has done - the new and the established - and the amazing vision effects, the music that John Williams wrote. The work is the thing that has been, if anything, a salve for the anxiety.

LM: We're a few days away from release, yet so little is known about the movie. How hard has it been keeping that level of secrecy when you have got thousands upon thousands of people working on it over two years?

JJA: Mostly it's just about threatening them! No. It's been a group of extraordinary artists, designers, actors, musicians, marketers, everything.

It's been an amazing army of people on this campaign, but it seems like to a person... Everyone wants the same thing, which is for people to experience a Star Wars movie and not have it to be ruined like so many films are before it comes out.

I can't tell you how excited I am for you to meet these new characters and see the story, and it's frustrating that you haven't gotten to see the movie yet because it would be so much easier to talk about aspects of it, but at the same time it makes me nuts when I go to see a movie and I feel like I already know what's going to happen.

LM: How difficult has it been planning when you release bits of information and bits of footage, and has everything go according to plan? No bad moments?

JJA: We had a general sense of a strategy going out, but every day there's a new opportunity, a new request, a new slip, a new leak. There's always something going on.

Image copyright Film Frame/Disney/Lucasfilm/AP
Image caption British actors Daisy Ridley and John Boyega have major roles in the new film

Our focus has tried to be on making a movie that's worth people's time and not so much the selling of it, which I know a lot of people are doing full-time.

LM: John and Daisy are two Londoners, two Brits in the lead roles - what was it about them that convinced you they were right?

JJA: I was required to hire Brits... That's not true. They were just amazing. Daisy first of all is a revelation. She's unbelievable in this movie.

John, I already knew from Attack the Block, who I just adored in that film. I think he was 17 when he acted in that movie and made me laugh and made me cry and was just so wonderful.

I got to know him a little bit and we were all just lucky to find these actors, and our British casting director Nina Gold brought them in and we couldn't be more grateful.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is out in the UK and Ireland on 17 December.

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