HOLLYWOOD – Han Solo, Indiana Jones and Force Ten From Navarone star Harrison Ford has written his autobiography A Humble Carpenter: Like Jesus and the Studio Exec is proud to publish EXCLUSIVE extracts.
From Chapter One.I’ll never forget the first day my dad gave me a hammer. It was a proper tool, not some toy.While he was working, I would sit in his workshop surrounded by the smell of sawdust, wood chip and glue and I’d hammer nails into a block of wood.Years later I would be hammering a nail into a door frame as I renovated Francis Ford Coppola’s office in San Francisco when the big man would say to me, ‘Hey would you like a part in my new movie, Apocalypse Now?’I looked at him for five seconds, then I said, ‘Can I finish this first?’…Of course Apocalypse Now was an incredible film to be involved in.I still wasn’t thinking of myself as an actor. Money from my carpentry was putting the clothes on my children’s backs and I was loathe to start pursuing a dream I had tried and failed to achieve once already. Harvey Keitel was supposed to be the star but something went wrong and Marty Sheen was brought in to replace him. Then Marty had a heart attack. Then there was a typhoon and the stage for the Playboy bunnies sequence was swept away.Suddenly Coppola grabbed me.‘You’re a great actor,’ he said. ‘But now I need a carpenter.’I looked at him for five seconds, then I said, ‘I’ll get my tools.’
From Chapter Two.As good as it was to get some acting work with Francis, Apocalypse Now was not going to get the phone ringing. My role was small and I was basically an exposition vehicle. Still, Francis is a loyal friend and when I got back to San Francisco he promised he would help me find work.There was a young director he knew from film school who was going to make a very exciting film about the birth of rock and roll in small town America.I thought that this might be the chance I needed and I was very excited when George – that was his name – phoned and said he wanted to see me. I went out to his house the next day and he showed me into a room. There were piles of books on the floor.‘You see these,’ he said. ‘I don’t know what to do with them. I keep tripping up on them, there in the way.’I pointed to an alcove. ‘I could put some shelves up there.’‘Shelves?’ he said, suspiciously.‘Yeah,’ I said. ‘Book shelves.’He thought for a moment and then began to nod excitedly, ‘Yeah book shelves! That sounds terrific.’I was so happy to have got the job, I drove straight home and told my wife. ‘But what about the movie?’ she said.Women! Always thinking of something else.
Harrison Ford’s A Humble Carpenter, Like Jesus is available from all good book stores.
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