When most actors take on a role like Dr. Robert Stonehill, a medical researcher devoted to battling a fatal childhood disease, they sit down with some real-life patients. But not Harrison Ford. “My character is a research scientist. He’s a medical doctor, but he
doesn’t see patients,” Ford explains. “His interest in the disease is on a cellular level; it’s an intellectual puzzle for him. He really is not comfortable with meeting sick people. So I didn’t do that.”
“Extraordinary Measures” follows John Crowley (Brendan Fraser,) a biotech executive who devotes himself to funding research for a treatment for Pompe disease, a degenerative neuromuscular disorder from which two of his young children suffer. Ford’s Stonehill is the brilliant, reclusive scientist he teams up with. But while Fraser had the burden of portraying a living, breathing person, Ford had more freedom, since Stonehill was based on several researchers. “Because the character is a fiction, we had the opportunity to make him up out of those things that helped tell the story,” Ford explains.
Ford also had the luxury of developing the character. “I saw what luck and success I had as an opportunity to twist it up and do something different,” Ford says of his decades-long career. “I’ve always sought out different genres and different characters. The reason I continue to do it is because it’s so much fun for me.”