For decades, Harrison Ford has delighted audiences with his performances in big-screen productions. He’s explored ancient ruins as Indiana Jones (and is doing so once more in the fifth film) and gotten into conflict with Greedo and more as Star Wars’ Han Solo. But these days, Ford is also taking over the small screen, more recently channelling his inner cowboy through 1923. Now, the beloved actor is taking on another fresh role alongside Jason Segel on Apple TV+’s Shrinking. The comedy series provides Ford with yet another opportunity to flex his polished acting muscles though, before he joined the show, he had one important question to ask of EP Bill Lawrence.
The veteran TV producer – who co-created the series with Jason Segel and fellow Ted Lasso alum Brett Goldstein – was psyched to work with Harrison Ford. Of course, before anything else though, he actually had to pitch the project to the 80-year-old actor. Lawrence caught up with CinemaBlend and discussed his pitch to the veteran star, and he was seemingly hooked rather quickly. However, Ford was still unclear about something in regard to his potential involvement:
So when we wrote the pilot, you know, he’s not in as much of the pilot, and when I sent it to him, I went, ‘You wanna do this show?’ He’s like, ‘Am I gonna be in more than the other episodes?’ I’m like, ‘Well, if it’s just a random actor, maybe not, but if you do it, yeah.’ [Laughs]
You can’t blame the actor for wanting to know just how often he’d actually appear on the show if he were to sign on. If anything, his query is proof of just how taken he was with the material that he was presented with. It’s not all that surprising that the producers were willing to expand the part for him. After all, how can you have one of the most prolific actors in all of Hollywood on your hands and not take full advantage of his abilities as a performer?
On Shrinking, Harrison Ford plays the role of Dr. Paul Rhodes, a celebrated cognitive behavioral therapist who’s recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. While grappling with his own situation, he’s drawn into the complex web created by his colleague Jimmy Laird (Jason Segel). The therapist, who’s grieving his wife, begins to break his profession’s code of ethics by being totally honest with his patients. When it came to the character of Rhodes, Bill Lawrence and co. were eventually able to tailor him to Ford’s voice and sensibilities:
When he said yes, we, of course, went back and rewrote every line to sound, in our head [, like Ford]. The coolest thing about writing for someone like Harrison Ford is, you know, you can just program his name on your DVR, and your DVR will suddenly start smoking and explode. So you could hear his voice in your head. And let’s be honest, 50 percent of the time, Harrison says whatever the heck he wants to say anyways.
He’s definitely a “call it as I see it” sort of performer, both on and off camera. (I’m still thinking about his on-brand thoughts about joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe.) At the end of the day though, it’s that honest and sincere demeanor that helped to cement his participation in this new show, and Bill Lawrence would probably agree that it’s all the better for having him.
Shrinking premieres on January 27, so be sure you have an Apple TV+ subscription so that you can check it out. Also, be on the lookout for other high-profile series that are set to debut as part of the 2023 TV schedule.