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“I think I made a mistake”: Harrison Ford Still Regrets Rejecting Major Movie Role That Won George Clooney an Oscar

"I think I made a mistake": Harrison Ford Still Regrets Rejecting Major Movie Role That Won George Clooney an Oscar

Harrison Ford has cemented his place as one of the most legendary actors in history, with his roles in beloved franchises like Star Wars and Indiana Jones earning him a dedicated global following. However, despite his many accomplishments, there is one particular role that still haunts him to this day: Robert Barnes in Syriana.

This powerful political thriller, which ultimately earned George Clooney an Academy Award, was originally offered to Ford. However, he turned it down due to his disagreement with certain aspects of the script, which he felt were not truthful.

Harrison Ford
Harrison Ford

How Syriana Almost Didn’t Happen: George Clooney’s Award-Winning Performance

Released in 2005, Syriana remains a powerful and thought-provoking political thriller that delved deep into the corrupt nature of the oil industry. The film, which featured an outstanding performance by George Clooney as Robert Barnes, tackled complex themes of greed, power, and political manipulation, shedding light on the disturbing realities of the modern world.

Despite the critical acclaim and box office success that Syriana ultimately garnered, it’s hard to believe that the film almost didn’t make it to the big screen. Clooney himself admitted that he was surprised when the project was given the green light, given the bleak climate in America at the time.


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In an interview, Clooney recalled the time when he first read the script for Syriana and how it immediately struck a chord with him. He said.

“I was surprised Warner Bros. stepped up. It was green-lit two years ago and back then the climate in America was very dark. It was like McCarthy in a sense. People would come to me and whisper, ‘I agree with you’ and I’d go, ‘Why are you whispering?’ Everyone turned into chickens—-.”

George Clooney
George Clooney

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Despite the challenges and being made on a modest budget of $50 million, Syriana managed to gross $94 million at the box office, making it a respectable success. The film also received critical acclaim, particularly for George Clooney’s exceptional performance, which earned him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Missed Opportunities: Harrison Ford’s Regret Over Passing on Syriana

At the beginning of the Syriana project, the filmmakers considered Harrison Ford for the role of Robert Barnes. However, Ford ultimately turned down the role, citing his disagreement with certain aspects of the script that he felt were not truthful.

“I didn’t feel strongly enough about the truth of the material and I think I made a mistake. I think the film underwent some changes and I think a lot of it is very truthful. The things that I thought weren’t, were obviated after I left the table.”

Despite his initial reservations, Harrison Ford expressed regret upon seeing the finished film, realizing that he had missed out on a great opportunity.

“I saw a bit of (director) Steve Gaghan’s movie Syriana and I wish I’d played the part that was offered to me – George’s part.”

Harrison Ford
Harrison Ford

Also read: “Absolutely Not”: James Gunn Debunks Rumors He’s Replacing Michael Keaton’s Batman With George Clooney in DCU Chapter One

Passing on Syriana was a missed opportunity for Harrison Ford, who could have potentially earned an Oscar for his portrayal of Barnes. As with many Hollywood stories, actors who turn down roles that later become iconic or award-winning are not uncommon, and the Indiana Jones star is no exception. Although he has had numerous successes throughout his illustrious career, the decision to pass on Syriana still lingers as a what-if moment.

Nonetheless, Harrison Ford’s legacy in the film industry is unquestionable, and his contribution to cinema will undoubtedly be celebrated for generations to come. While he may never know what could have been, his extensive body of work stands as a testament to his talent and impact on the world of film.

Source: The Things

Written by Minhaz Ahamed

Minhaz is a writer who delves into the complexities of the human experience through his writings, with a focus on cinema, psychology, and philosophy. He finds solace in writing and uses it as a means of exploring and understanding the world.