After five decades as a movie star, Harrison Ford has started his 2023 out by headlining two new TV series: Yellowstone prequel 1923 and Apple TV+ comedy Shrinking.
The latter series, co-created by Jason Segel, Brett Goldstein and Bill Lawrence, follows Segel as a grieving, widowed therapist pushing the ethics of his profession, with Ford as a senior shrink trying to keep him on the right path. Ford told The Hollywood Reporter at the show’s Los Angeles premiere on Thursday that upon reading the script, “the dialogue was good, the situations were interesting, the characters were interesting and I was pretty much hooked.”
Though the star’s classic roles have often been laced with one-liners, Shrinking marks his first true comedic role; “I always feel like doing comedy, I enjoy doing comedy,” Ford confirmed of his interest in the genre. And of his recent pivot to TV, he said it’s not part of a grand career plan to take over the small screen: “To me it doesn’t make any difference, it’s just where you see it really,” Ford said of the shift. “This is probably more like TV than 1923 is, 1923 is really like a movie you can see at home if you want.”
Just because he’s embracing at-home streaming content doesn’t mean he’s given up on theatrical, though, adding, “I wish that we were back in theaters for more of the work that we’re doing because that’s a really important experience culturally — a popular movie that everybody gets the chance to see is an interesting cultural phenomenon,” with a hope there’s a shift to “regain the theatrical experience.”
Segel, who also worked as a writer and EP on the series, recalled his first day on set working with Ford as a “really proud” moment.
“You have an overwhelming sense in your life that we’re all fighting, ‘Oh no, is something wrong?’ And when you’re acting across from Harrison Ford it’s really hard to feel like something is wrong,” he teased, adding that the project was “an amazing gift” when Ted Lasso duo Lawrence and Goldstein called him up with an idea about grief and therapy.
“We had a lot of great advisors from the therapy world and we’re all pretty therapy-ed up, so between our experience and theirs, we really tried to figure out where the ethical lines were, the moral lines, and stay within them but push as far to the line as we could,” Segel said of the process of creating his character, who breaks some therapy rules by telling his patients exactly what he thinks about their problems.
“I think part of what the show explores is the only way we’re going to get through any of this shit is together,” Segel continued. “We all feel a sense of isolation, we’ve all been through something really weird the last few years, and kind of grasping onto each other’s hands and laughing our way out of this hole is an important thing.”
The first two episodes of Shrinking are now streaming on Apple TV+.