Harrison Ford Landed A Lead Role From A Joke Gone Wrong

Shrinking creators Brett Goldstein and Bill Lawrence sent the script for the Apple TV+ series to Harrison Ford but never expected he would call them back.

By Sckylar Gibby-Brown | Updated

harrison ford shrinking

Harrison Ford may be known publicly as a grumpy old man, but he’s also one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. After breaking away from the TV movie scene in 1977 when he was cast in his most iconic role ever—Han Solo in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, the Indiana Jones actor avoided the small screen for 45 years. Now, in addition to making the fifth Indian Jones installment, Ford has returned to television, starring in the Yellowstone spin-off, 1923, and Apple TV+’s Shrinking. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Ford was sent the Shrinking script as a joke.

Ted Lasso collaborators Brett Goldstein and Bill Lawrence wrote the script for Shrinking, a comedy about a grieving therapist who forgets his ethics and becomes bluntly honest towards his clients, thereby changing their lives and his own in the process. While Ford was their dream casting choice for the role, they never thought that they would actually land the prestigious actor (who hadn’t done TV in decades) for the part.

The Shrinking creators must have caught Harrison Ford on a good day because he accepted the part. Although, as it turns out, it was more than just a good script that would turn the fates so Ford would star in Shrinking next to Jason Segel

It was a combination of a lot of things, including the fact that Harrison Ford, like the rest of us, was stuck in the middle of a global pandemic and anxious to get back to work. Also, with the rise of streaming, television and series projects have become more prestigious in recent years, attracting actors like Ford who would have previously turned up their noses at a series project. Both streaming and broadcast shows have upped their production values with better scripts, sets, actors, and stories.

shrinking series premiere

Between the pandemic making changes to the industry and newly respectable streaming projects coming out of the woodwork, Harrison Ford was suddenly interested in trying out a show, and then the script for Shrinking magically landed on his desk. So, Ford called Goldstein and Lawrence about their comedy project, and Goldstein, who had never expected to hear back from Ford, ignored the call because The Fugitive actor’s number wasn’t saved in his phone.

Luckily, Ford left a voice mail, and Goldstein was able to set up his dream meeting.

Goldstein later told Stephen Colbert on The Late Show that his meeting with Harrison Ford went extremely well, with Ford complimenting the script and signing up for the project right away. Ford, on the other hand, remembers things a bit differently, saying to The Hollywood Reporter that he accepted both jobs on Shrinking and 1923 without ever looking at a script and putting his trust in the showrunners that the series would be good. 

Whether or not Harrison Ford had actually read either script before signing on, it seems that the actor’s gut feeling was enough since both Shrinking and 1923 have been released with critical acclaim. 

In addition to working on television, Harrison Ford is adding other new credentials to his filmography and will soon be breaking into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Ford is set to play Thaddeus ‘Thunderbolt’ Ross in Captain America: New World Order and Thunderbolts. Both movies are in pre-production with a 2024 planned release date.