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Don't panic at the title of this story. This is not an article claiming that Harrison Ford and James Franco are equally talented actors, or that they've had the same impact on movie culture, or that the son of the Green Goblin is as valuable a character as Indiana Jones and Han Solo. This is an article about Harrison Ford and James Franco as people, or at least the uncomfortable, bored, sometimes vaguely hostile people we know through their talk show, red carpet and junket interviews. In his 30+ years of stardom Harrison Ford has perfected his reputation as a cranky old man, to the point that even when he does interviews to promote movies he's the star of, he seems to have absolutely no interest in the movie, the person interviewing him, or anything but the clock counting down the minutes before he can finally go the hell home.
When Franco gave this interview to Playboy Magazine, defending his sleepy Oscars hosting gig and claiming that his new blockbuster Rise of the Planet of the Apes was very different from the movie he actually shot, I suspected he might be moving into "I don't give a shit" Ford territory. But as it turns out, he's been there for years. I've scoured the video evidence to prove not just how bored and uninterested Ford can seem in interviews, but that Franco is well on his way to challenging the guy for the Biggest Curmudgeon title. They may never beat the likes of Humphrey Bogart, who called one of his biggest hits Sabrina "a crock of crap," but if Ford is the current generation of grumpy man on an interview couch, Franco is definitely ready to lead us into the future.
1977-- Just before the release of Star Wars. Proof that Ford's grouchiness started at a young age, and before he was even famous. He won't even pretend he likes sci-fi, and lets out a few deep sighs before answering any of the questions.
1982-- Promoting Blade Runner on Letterman. Even when talking about Blade Runner, a movie he actually liked, he looks as uncomfortable on that couch as a dog wearing a sweater. But when Letterman brings up Return of the Jedi is when things really start getting uncomfortable. He's out of his chair before the segment is even over.
1992-- Promoting Patriot Games on Leno. I'm not actually sure where the movie promoting part of this interview takes place, but Leno kicks off by asking Ford about putting his handprint in the sidewalk out in front of Graumann's Chinese Theater, a moment many actors dream of as the pinnacle of their career. For Ford, it's apparently just a concrete-covered inconvenience.
2010-- Promoting Morning Glory on ABC News. Finally, back to Star Wars; all these years later Ford can finally admit why he was so stand-offish to that lady reporter back in 1977. Turns out, he didn't find Han Solo-- one of the most iconic rogue heroes in movie history-- interesting at all. Embedding is disabled for some reason, so click for the full video.
2007-- Junket interview for Spider-Man 3. Franco finally gets to step up as the villain in the final Spider-Man movie, but the thing was such a mess it apparently did nothing for him. The hostility in this interview is all in the subtle way Franco starts affecting a British accent, either to mock his interviewer or combat the boredom that's so evident on his face.
2007-- On-set interview for Finishing the Game. Franco had been relatively famous ever since the first Spider-Man came out in 2002, so I have no idea what he was doing in this tiny movie directed by future Fast Five genius Justin Lin. Apparently Franco didn't either, and was in no mood to play along with MTV's questions.
2010-- Toronto Film Festival red carpet for 127 Hours. It's not so much the long pauses in this interview that prove Franco is dying to run away from this red carpet. It's the fact that he actually rolls his eyes, right there on camera around the 13 second mark, that cracks me up. He's also actively avoiding eye contact with the interviewer, which is the final perfect touch. And this is for 127 Hours, a movie he actually liked, and one that got him an Oscar nomination! Oh, and speaking of those awards.
2011-- Hosting the Oscars. There are a million examples of how tuned-out and above-it-all Franco seemed that whole night, but why don't we start at the beginning, when Anne Hathaway steps out and grins at the audience, and Franco walks out with his iPhone in hand, as if he had one last urgent call to take before getting down to business. This clip's also not embeddable for some reason, but you can click through for the cringe-worthy goodness.