We Interviewed Harrison Ford And Definitely Weren’t Screaming Internally The Whole Time Or Anything

*violently breathes into a paper bag*

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What’s it like to talk with Harrison Ford in person?

For me, a lifelong Star Wars fan, pop-culture obsessive and fan of the man in general, the prospect of doing so was a big deal. I got to the hotel where the junket was underway, after a red-eye flight and a quick shot of whiskey in a nearby bar to loosen me up (when I explained to the bartender what I was about to do, he went from reticent to decidedly sympathetic). The PR people kept saying “he’s pretty tired today,” at which point I twigged: I was about to talk with a 73-year-old veteran of the industry on a very humid day, after he’d been through at least 20 similar interviews.

I’d spent the week asking friends how many interviews Harrison Ford must have done in his lifetime, and the answer was inevitably “thousands”. I host a kids show, and once did two days of interviews. After the third one my brain was pretty much tapioca pudding, so I was sure that upon sitting down opposite the actual Harrison Ford I’d encounter an understandably cranky old man who would proceed to pollute my enjoyment of every character he’s ever played.

Instead, after being ushered through several holding areas by hushed assistants, I was led around a corner where I saw him. Just sitting there, looking exhausted. “Hi, Mr. Ford, I’m Paul.” He smiled very slightly, nodded, and shook my hand, saying it was nice to meet me. Me. It was nice of him, to meet me. My inner child screamed, and I calmly sat down. The interview commenced.

Here is what I learned from my interview with Harrison Ford. First of all, he is extremely nice, both on and off camera. He is friendly, charming, and understated. He is very softly spoken. He pauses a lot, partially I suspect to parse what has and hasn’t been used as an answer hundreds of times already. He makes a great deal of eye contact with you when he talks, and he listens very careful to what you say to him. He is also very handsome, and I had to restrain myself from opening with “Hello, Harrison Ford, oh my god you are handsome aren’t you.”

When talking with someone of this magnitude, you’re given very strict guidelines as to what you can and cannot ask, and the one directive with Mr. Ford was to, in the words of Red Leader in A New Hope, stay on target. We had to talk about Star Wars. So as much as I would have loved to have whipped out my impression of Sean Connery in The Last Crusade, or grill him about Rick Deckard in Blade Runner, or tell him how explosively I cried when I first watched Regarding Henry, I stuck to the topic at hand.

Which, given how excited we all are about The Force Awakens, wasn’t hard.

When we were done, he shook my hand again, I thanked him, and as I was ushered out of the room, one of his handlers stopped me and said “those were some good questions.” Having spent all my usable words on Harrison Ford, I babbled something that sounded like a basketball gratefully deflating, and saw myself out.

The Force Awakens opens nationally on December 17.

Paul Verhoeven is the host of Steam Punks on the ABC, hosts the gaming comedy podcast 28 Plays Later,, and tweets from @PaulVerhoeven