Primarily known for his blockbuster franchises, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger, in which he played CIA agent Jack Ryan, Harrison Ford has also found success doing comedies, such as Working Girl and Sabrina. It’s been quite awhile since Ford has done a comedy, but his new movie Morning Glory remedies that.
In the film he portrays Mike Pomeroy, a legendary, cranky, cocky anchorman who is now hosting Daybreak, a national morning news show and ratings disaster.
In an attempt to save the show, Becky Fuller (Rachel McAdams) is employed as a new producer. Her solution for the sagging ratings is to pair Mike with Colleen Peck (Diane Keaton), a long time morning host diva.
Harrison Ford spoke of his venture back into the world of comedy at the press junket for the movie in New York.
What was it about this movie that attracted you?
This was one of the funniest, smartest scripts I’ve encountered. It had great dialogue, real relationships, a sophisticated sense of humor and I was just very attracted to the quality of it. I really enjoy doing comedy, but I usually don’t find comedies ambitious enough. This, I thought, was especially well-written.
What’s your take on Mike Pomeroy?
Basically, Mike finds the whole turn his life has taken humiliating. He does not consider this a fitting end to an illustrious career, hosting perhaps the lowest-rated morning show in the history of television. He finds it completely below his station, beneath his dignity. He takes covering the news very, very seriously and he’s certainly not about to cook or give household tips or banter with his co-host.
One of the things I felt I really understood about Mike is his ambition to do the best job possible. Mike does make snobbish judgments – judgments that might be vain, glorious and completely self-serving – but, at the end of the day, he wants to do the right thing because, in spite of what he might say or how it might appear, he actually really cares deeply.
In your preparation who were some of the real life counterparts that you looked at in creating Mike Pomeroy?
I didn’t want to imitate anybody else, I wanted to figure out who Mike Pomeroy was and then I wanted to be Mike Pomeroy as a network news executive. So I didn’t pattern my character after any particular newsman.
What’s his relationship with Becky like?
Their relationship is very funny, but it’s also quite emotional. There’s a real connection that develops between them. I think Mike raises Becky’s game by trying to impose his craft of journalism on the morning show, but she also pushes him to become more flexible, more accommodating, which, along the way, results in a lot of hilarious scenes.
I honestly can say I don’t think I’ve worked with anybody who brought more to a role on both a comedic and emotional level than Rachel. She’s the kind of actress who can make everything about a situation feel real.
What was it like working with Diane Keaton?
Diane brings something really special to this. She’s the perfect person to give as a good as she gets and we really enjoyed the opportunity we had to create a lot of sharp, pointed humor. The fun part is that it becomes the on-the-air contentiousness between them that makes Daybreak a success for the first time, because everyone tunes in to watch these two people who clearly can’t stand each other on the air together everyday.
How do you think we can prevent having the news become entertainment?
It’s coming from the public. We are less interested in a depth of understanding of the issues that face us in common. There’s not the sense of community that once was and is the power of any nation, and so we are exploiting divisiveness. I’m not talking as a patriot, I’m talking as somebody that wants to see the problems of our society addressed and I think that depends on appropriate information delivered in depth.
Do you watch these shows in the morning?
I’m the first person up and I turn on the news just to find out if there’s been a big accident overnight. That’s about as much news as you get first thing in the morning.
My news in depth comes from reading newspapers and I listen to the radio a lot. I also enjoy listening to the BBC news and CBC news has some very interesting things to say. But I can’t stand that cheerful morning stuff. I don’t want people that I have to know by their first names that early in the morning!