In Paranoia, Harrison Ford portrays an executive at a tech company and upon researching for the role, the legendary actor found something a little disturbing.
“One of the things that the film talks about which to me is the most interesting, because I’d always presumed there was no such thing as privacy, is that if you offer people something or create a perceived need or value in a service that you offer, people will forget about it,” Ford said.
“They will want that newest wrinkle in technology and will give up freedoms and personal privacy in order to have it. And that’s the nature of marketing for these kinds of devices.”
Previewed in the Paranoia trailer, the film follows Liam Hemsworth, who is trying to get a full time job at Gary Oldman’s tech company. He impresses Oldman so much, that the executive orchestrates it so Hemsworth will work for rival Ford’s organization and spy on them for Oldman. Before long, Hemsworth can't decode which side of the coin he is on, and which side of the ethic's line he has crossed.
It is a fiercely competitive world that operates in Paranoia, and Ford found it about as different from his thespian world as one could be. One of the best movie quotes in the entire movie is when Ford’s character says, “Competition breeds innovation.” The actor adored the line, but admitted he could not bring that mentality into his line of work.
“The character’s perceptions about competition creating innovation are appropriate to the story that we’re telling and the world that he lives in. But you asked me something about acting, and that phrase doesn’t apply,” Ford said. “Acting is not about competing. Acting is about cooperating. Acting is about collaboration. It’s about your utility, your usefulness, your capacity to add to the work that has already been done and will be done. You’re just part of a team. I never feel competitive about acting.”
Proof of that camaraderie spirit of acting, is how overjoyed Ford was to reteam with Oldman, who he worked with on Air Force One, featuring Ford as one of our Top 10 Movie Presidents.
“When I knew that he was attached to this film, it was a big part of the draw. I had enjoyed very much working with him in Air Force One and I was looking forward to the opportunity to work with him again,” Ford said. “He’s fun. You never know what he’s going to do and what he’s going to look like or who he’s going to be. I enjoyed it.”
Ford’s character makes his appearance midway through the first act of Paranoia. Before he graces the screen, the audience already has an opinion on the character from the way Oldman and Hemsworth have talked about him. Ford relished the opportunity to buck expectations when he first waltzes into the action.
“For me, a character is made up out of those things that help tell a story and my own experience which helps me string it all together. This is a character that’s preceded in his appearance onscreen by a body of opinion about him -- who he is, what he is, how he’s behaved in the past. I wanted my first appearance onscreen to complicate that,” Ford said.
Ford, soon to be seen in Ender’s Game, found his Paranoia director game for whatever he brought to the table. “Robert (Luketic) was wonderfully collaborative about things like that. When I showed up with a shaved head, he was okay with that. When I said I wanted to wear blue jeans and a T-shirt to my fancy house backyard party, he was OK with that,” Ford reported.
“Those are the kind of things which I use to help describe a complicated character. The guy’s bad to the bone, but there’s no fun in seeing that presented that way. I thought there were interesting opportunities in the construction of the script and the sophistication of the filmmakers that would allow me to create a character different to what I’ve played before.”
Since the world of Paranoia centers heavily in the highly competitive world of the tech set, we wondered where on the scale from ignorant to obsessed he sits when it comes to technology.
“That’s a wonder in which I have developed some capacity because that’s something I want to do. But, I don’t want to be a slave to electronic devices. I don’t want to be connected to my friends. I don’t want to send snapshots of my dog and cute pictures of my family life to my friends and family,” Ford said.
He then “poked” fun at Facebook. “I don’t want to be liked, by pushing a button [laughs]. I don’t really use it for very much. I like books. I don’t like to read things on the internet. I don’t have much of a connection to it.”