Early in ”K-19: The Widowmaker” (July 19), Harrison Ford urges his men: ”Vee dee-liver, or vee drown!” So much for the all-American hero of ”Indiana Jones” and ”Patriot Games.” Ford, 60, takes a creative risk by playing Alexi Vostrikov, the captain of Russia’s doomed nuclear K-19 submarine (adoringly dubbed ”the Widowmaker” by its crew). Based on a 1961 episode that survivors were — until recently — forbidden to talk about, ”K-19” shows Vostrikov deciding whether to ride the wounded sub to its destruction or let his crew be saved by the U.S. troops anxious to get on board and steal the ship’s high-tech secrets. EW.com talked to Ford about the film, mother Russia, and the difficulties of getting the ”Indiana Jones” crew together for one last go.
”K-19” is the first time we’ve seen you with a foreign accent. Did you have to work on that particularly?
The hardest work on the accent was to convince [the producers] that using it was an appropriate thing to do. There were people who were involved on the financing side of it who were scared to death of the idea, but I thought it was important to remind the audience that this was a Russian film — or a film about Russia.
What was their hang-up with the accents?
They were concerned that they had an American movie star and they wanted to protect their investment. And it was exactly the point to me that we had to disabuse the audience of a point of view that they are seeing an American movie star.
You spoke to a number of the survivors of the real-life incident that ”K-19” is based on. How did they feel about the film?
One of the things they felt was a bit of confusion about why Americans were interested in telling this story. I think they felt very strongly that they wanted their story told accurately. What that meant finally was that they didn’t want to be mischaracterized, although we did have to fictionalize characters in order to help tell the story. I think they wanted to make sure that we had legitimate interests and weren’t just trying to make a movie about a bunch of buffoons who made mistakes and caused their own suffering.