''NCIS'' star Mark Harmon reminisces about working with Jodie Foster, Kirstie Alley, Rob Reiner, and others

By Lynette Rice
Updated February 24, 2006 at 05:00 AM EST
Mark Harmon, Jodie Foster, ...
Credit: Stealing Home: Everett Collection

Television isn’t the only medium where Mark Harmon has left a strong impression. The 54-year-old NCIS star shared with Entertainment Weekly some thoughts on his three favorite big-screen roles:

Comes a Horseman (1978)
Harmon had a relatively small role in Alan J. Pakula’s quiet, romantic western about three Wyoming cattle ranchers. It featured an all-star cast that included James Caan, Jane Fonda, Richard Farnsworth, and Jason Robards. ”I’m dead before the titles stop, but I was there forever and I got to be on the set with Pakula every day. Farnsworth and Robards took me under their wing. It was like a masters class.”

Summer School (1987)
Director Carl Reiner cast Harmon — whom he first discovered while the actor was promoting NBC’s The Deliberate Stranger — in the role of a high school teacher who teaches a remedial English class for misfits over the summer break and tries to woo a snooty fellow teacher played by Kirstie Alley. ”That script was originally developed for Joan Rivers, so it’s pretty amazing to end up in that role with that director. It was a terribly risky thing to do, but Carl made it what it is and what it became. No one was making a lot of money. It was all about going out there and having a fun time doing this little film. And it became very successful. Carl kept saying we needed something at the end. I told him I had something: I had gone to a wedding at the Beverly Hills Hotel and while waiting for my car at valet, I started putting Chap Stick on because it was hot and windy. Then I heard this voice behind me say, ‘Can I have some of that?’ I turn around and there’s this very pretty brunet there so [I hand it to her]. I told Carl that and he made it the end of the movie. I’m walking on the beach with Kirstie Alley, who asks me if I have Chap Stick. She knocks it out of my hand, kisses me, and we roll down on the sand.”

Stealing Home (1988)
In this sentimental drama costarring Jodie Foster, Harmon played an ex-baseball player who returns home to bury his first love and old friend (Jodie Foster, in a critically acclaimed performance) who recently committed suicide. ”That was about a bunch of actors loving a script, going there and burning it on both ends for five weeks just to get it done. That was a fun one to make. I hear a lot about that role. People really found that movie on video.”

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