Harrison Ford, 80, isn’t retiring: ‘I don’t do well when I don’t have work’

I enjoy the wording of Chris Wallace’s current show, because Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace? can have many readings, and mine is always, Is anyone actually talking to him?” After his woefully inadequate moderating of the first presidential debate in 2020, I thought he was going to be encouraged into retirement (he’ll be 76 this year). Instead he has his own show, where this weekend he hosted Harrison Ford–on the promotional trail for Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, opening in theaters this Friday–and pestered Ford (who will be 81 next month) about his retirement:

Harrison Ford simply isn’t ready to retire from Hollywood.

As Ford appeared on Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace?, the 80-year-old Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny actor told host Chris Wallace, “I don’t do well when I don’t have work,” when asked whether he’s given retirement any thought.

“I love to work. I love to feel useful. It’s my jones,” Ford, who turns 81 next month, said during the interview. “I want to be helpful.”

“It is the people that you get to work with,” he continued, when Wallace asked what aspects of making movies he loves. “The intensity and the intimacy of collaboration. It’s the combined ambition somehow forged from words on a page. I don’t plan what I want to do in a scene, and I don’t feel obliged to do anything. But I am, I guess, naturally affected by the things that I work on.”

Elsewhere in the appearance, Wallace asked Ford about what he meant by saying he desired the new movie to be “ambitious” in his final turn as Indiana Jones. The actor said he wanted the film to “confront the question of age straight-on, not to hide my age, but to take advantage of it in the telling of the story.”

“I feel very strongly that it does [pull it off],” he added, before noting: “It’s time for me to grow up,” as he moves on from the longtime action-adventure franchise.

“Six years ago, I thought maybe we ought to take a shot at making another one. And I wanted it to be about age because I think that rounds out the story that we’ve told and we’ve brought it to the right place,” he said, opining that 2008’s Kingdom of the Crystal Skull did not end with “a real strong feeling of the conclusion or the closure that I always hoped for.”

“Speaking to this issue of age, not making jokes about it, but making it a real thing,” Ford added of his desire for the new film.

When Ford–who has been filming scenes for the next Captain America movie lately–spoke with PEOPLE recently, he said he has not lost any of his love for the film industry.

“I probably enjoy making movies more now than I ever did,” he said. “I don’t want to be young again. I was young, and now I enjoy being old.”

[From People]

The whole episode is available now and runs thirty minutes long (although I’d wager that the actual interview time is closer to twenty minutes if you cut out the excessive use of film clips). Wallace starts out with a real winner, when he lobs the following question at Ford: “Why is it that for fifty years people have wanted to sit in the dark and watch you?” I think that may be the most perfectly-worded question in the history of journalism. Glorious, and matched only when Wallace then asks about Ford retiring, and Ford shoots him a look that essentially says, “I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed in you.”

Truth be told, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen Harrison Ford be such a range of emotions in such a short time frame. There are moments of giddiness, like when he shares that Christopher Walken was almost Han Solo and nearly shouts “Which would have been FANTASTIC!”, and moments where he’s weepy, recalling colleagues and mentors who have passed. Clearly, it’s the people he gets to work with that bring him joy and fulfillment in his career, and why he doesn’t want to stop. Why should he? He also gives great credit to writers for why he’s still working so much right now. As for this final installment of Indiana Jones tackling age? I’m sorry, but all I’m seeing in my head when I hear that is the SNL take–like now he’s using the whip to help get him out of bed in the morning. Or the lost artifacts he’s hunting down are his meds. You can tell by the printing on the label that it’s an early Walgreens-era-filled prescription, before its overhaul of the DuaneReade empire… PLEASE someone at SNL write that skit! (Once the writers’ terms are met and the strike is over, of course.)

Photos credit: UPPA/Avalon, James Warren/Bang Showbiz/Avalon

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12 Responses to “Harrison Ford, 80, isn’t retiring: ‘I don’t do well when I don’t have work’”

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  1. Anne says:

    It’s a shame we don’t more widely talk about how hard retirement is on many people. I’ve been watching my dad go through this after he retired at age 71. Work was his entire life and identity, and he has no friends of his own aside from my mom. He is straight up depressed, but his traditional up-bringing makes it impossible for him to come to grips with it and seek help. We’re a close-knit family and trying to get him through, but wow it’s hard.

    • NG_76 says:

      My father is going to be 76 this year and he is still at work everyday. He wont retire, I don’t think he would know what to do with himself.

    • Lara (The Other) says:

      After my father had to retiere, he decided to work as a self emploey consultant and is graduadly reducing, just taking on intressting and fun projects and spending more time with the kids, grandkids and trvelling with his wife.
      I think we should find a way as a society to offer especially consulting opportunities to older people who still want to work (bosses woh can not exept that their time is over are terrible) while making sure that those who can´t work anymore or want to retiere can afford an acceptable standard of living.

    • Aud says:

      This is why my father in law won’t retire, he has no idea what to do without work.

      • ME says:

        Volunteer work maybe?

      • TheVolvesSeidr says:

        @ME, that’s what my dad when he retired. He was 80 years old delivering meals on wheels to the “old folks”. He was such a cute old man.

  2. Mcmmom says:

    I’ve watched my father and two fathers-in-law struggle with what to do with themselves after retirement – it can be a really tough transition. My grandfather did thirty years in the navy, retired for a few weeks, then went back and did three more years. After he retired for good, he worked for a bank for 20 years and he spent his free time organizing tour groups for other seniors. The man could not sit still – and he beat stage 4 cancer and outlived my other grandparents. If all goes according to plan, I will retire from my current position when I turn 60 and then I hope to have a second career being useful – and then, when I’m really old, I want to work at the speciality grocery store and help new chefs find fun foods to cook.

  3. StellainNH says:

    The lack of things to do is a concern I have for my husband. I have loads of hobbies and now I am trying to cultivate hobbies into him before he retires. We bought an RV in 2019 and plan to tour the country when he retires. The RV and its maintenance is what keeps him busy now. I hope that it will continue.

    • Foodie Canuk says:

      My husband retired young (58) 2 years ago. Prior to that, we had chats about what that was going to look like. Im 44 now and still have at least 10 or 15 years to go. We dont have little Canuks, so I wanted him to focus on growing his social circle. He has a very small group of friends and in spite of him saying he “doesn’t like people” he actually does LOL. So, he had some friends that were in a service club – I suggested that he join up with them and he has met some really nice gentlemen that he lunches with and recently, he even got a part time job. I think the biggest thing is that he has interactions with people and now has fresh stories to tell me. My grandfather is very old, still sharp, but with the exception of myself and some neighbors, his social circle is small, and he misses his friends that have passed very, very much.

      Not everyone’s partner or dad is going to do this, but if we can help give them ideas about these things in advance, it might at least warm them up to those new horizons. Retirement is not what it used to be. Jobs, children and life get in the way of who we might have *wanted* to be before everything else got in the way..I view retirement as a glorious way to invest in the person you wanted to be before all the responsibilities got shoved down our throats. (I personally would love to work in a flower shop or a Pier 1 and just be surrounded by bright colours lol) Annnnyway…just my 2 cents about nonsense.

  4. ME says:

    I noticed a lot of Boomer’s just don’t want to retire. Some of them have great pensions but don’t want to stop working. For most of them, their jobs are their whole identity. Many started working their jobs at 18 and stayed with that one job their whole lives. However, they need to retire. There are young people eager to take those jobs. You’ve had your turn, now it’s someone else’s. This doesn’t really go with acting, as we need actors of all ages. I’m just saying in the general public, if you are of retiring age, and can retire comfortably, please let your job go. There is a whole generation needing those jobs.

  5. Valerie says:

    Well, it’s a good thing he isn’t a woman otherwise his career would have been over 3 to 4 decades ago.

  6. jferber says:

    Valerie, yup. I came to say the same exact thing. And he should stop flying his airplane and crashing it because he will very likely kill someone sooner than later. It’s not just about him and his “joy.” It’s selfish and over-privileged.