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Harrison Ford Was Working as a Carpenter When Cast in Star Wars

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Harrison Ford Was Working as a Carpenter When Cast in Star Wars

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It’s not unusual for fans to hear tales about their favorite actors’ careers prior to fame and money. Superstar celebrities such as Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp had various odd jobs to support themselves before to making it big, and so did Harrison Ford.

He is most known as the ‘non-superhero superhero’ Indiana Jones in the namesake series as well as the ‘cynical loner’ Han Solo in the Star Wars saga; the latter garnered him international fame and skyrocketed his career, making him one of the greatest stars in Hollywood. The journey, however, was riddled with challenges and had it not been for doors, Ford might never have gained his big break.

Harrison Ford engaged with some of his fans during a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) session in 2014. He discussed his career path and how he got to his current position during the session.

Ford opened by discussing his time working on “Star Wars: A New Hope” and how he was approached to appear in the film.

The actor went on to say that he was a carpenter back in 1997 when he was portraying the legendary character of Han Solo. Ford stated that his primary occupation at the time was carpentry.

Ford learned how to work with wood entirely on his own. In order to provide for his family after being unsatisfied with his early career results playing Hollywood bit parts, Ford trained as a professional carpenter. He borrowed books from the Encino library to learn his craft.

The future Han Solo once slouched toward Bethlehem with the subject of Griffin Dunne’s film when she was living in Malibu, according to the recent documentary “Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold.”

“I spent a couple of months there in their house, every day,” Ford says. “First thing in the morning, last thing at the end of every day, explaining why we hadn’t made more progress and how it was going to cost even more money.”  Dunne is Joan Didion’s nephew, and it took him six years to finish his film about her, which had its world premiere at the New York Film Festival and is now streaming on Netflix.

Ford continues, “I think I became their carpenter for the same reason I became their friend. It’s that I was out of my depth, kind of. I didn’t know where I was going, how I got there.  Didion could most definitely identify to such type of existential contemplation.”

Ford and George Lucas’ connection is mostly based on their work together on the Star Wars film series, although they were already coworkers before the movie’s development. They had developed a working relationship while collaborating on the coming-of-age movie American Graffiti.

Ford’s involvement in Star Wars was not certain, despite their relationship. In fact, Lucas had no intention to use any American Graffiti performers in Star Wars.

Ford said, “I had already done American Graffiti with George Lucas. George Lucas made it clear that he was searching for fresh faces and that he was not interested in working with anybody he had previously worked with on American Graffiti.”

Before earning Jerry Tokovsky’s ire and falling to the bottom of the recruiting list, he had appeared in “extra” parts in a couple movies. Harrison Ford made the decision to seek a backup career to support his family after being told by the chairman of Columbia Pictures that he had “no future” in Hollywood and being dissatisfied with the kind of jobs being provided. He went on to become a successful self-taught carpenter.

“Through carpentry, I fed my family and began to pick and choose from among the roles offered,” he once said. “I could afford to hold out until something better came along. But I never gave up my ambition to be an actor. I was frustrated but never felt defeated by my frustration.”

The actor then revealed on Reddit that he was working as a carpenter in 1997 when he portrayed the renowned part of Han Solo. Ford said that his primary occupation at the time was carpentry.

Ford had invested some money in the project since he wanted to rebuild a home. Sadly, he was unable to purchase the supplies needed to finish the renovation. In order to get some extra money, he decided to pursue acting.

Added Ford “I had helped George Lucas audition other actors for the principal parts, and with no expectation or indication that I might be considered for the part of Han. I was quite surprised when I was offered the part.”

The film Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom was released in 1984, the year these images were taken. Ford returned to the character of the valiant archaeologist in this sequel to 1981’s Raiders of the Lost Ark.

These photos, which were shot in August 1984 at Ford’s home in Mandeville Canyon, Beverly Hills, show Ford at his workshop with his equipment and lathe as well as the completed product of his labors.

Lucas made an exception for Ford even though he had previously said that he wanted to work with fresh performers for Star Wars. By chance, he saw Ford working on a carpentry project for Francis Ford Coppola’s office, and he invited the actor in for an audition.

“I was working on a elaborate portico entrance to Francis Ford Coppola’s offices, working as a carpenter when George walked in with Richard Dreyfuss to being the first of the interviews for Star Wars. Somehow that rang a bell with George, and I became, eventually, Han Solo.”

In order to avoid having his previous movie becoming known as “American Graffiti in space,” director George Lucas had a fundamental criterion while hiring for his subsequent movie, Star Wars, in 1976. Roos urged that Ford be cast as Han Solo by Lucas. He ultimately hired Ford to construct a door for him at the American Zoetrope headquarters, where Lucas had organized the casting call, to allow their “serendipitous” meeting, in order to demonstrate his argument.

As Fred Roos recalls, “Harrison had done a lot of carpentry for me…He needed money, he had kids, he wasn’t a big movie star yet. The day he was doing it, George happened to be there. It was serendipitous.”

Lucas and Ford had previously collaborated on other projects before “Star Wars.” It would be their most well-known joint effort, though. Lucas and the “Star Wars” franchise are now well-known.

Ford has also solidified his place among the most recognizable actors in the world. Ford has never been particularly embarrassed to talk about his modest upbringing, especially now that he has established a successful career.

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