Chicago suburbs reject Harrison Ford statue over cost and actor’s memories of bullying
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A Chicago suburb reportedly gave up land this week to build a statue of actor Harrison Ford, who attended high school in the city.
The aldermen of Park Ridge, Ill., city council said they were concerned about the cost of a statue, that the land was coming from out of town and whether Ford, who was allegedly bullied when he was a teenager, would appreciate the recognition, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Ford told GQ in 2017 that other kids regularly pushed him down a hill starting in his sixth year.
“So I was the new kid on the block, and I was kind of short and geeky, I guess,” he said. “I would go up the hill, then they would push me down the hill, and I would go back up the hill, and if there was enough time, they would push me down the hill again.”
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Surprisingly, he said he didn’t really mind – at least to think about it now – adding that he still doesn’t have much “emotional attachment” to the events of his childhood anymore. He said he focused more at the time on girls having “sympathy” for him because of the bullying.
In light of those sentiments, Park Ridge Mayor Marty Maloney said this week, “Based on some things I’ve heard right through Park Ridge lore about Harrison Ford and the departure of Park Ridge, I just want to make sure he was comfortable with what we’re doing if we take that step on it.”
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The pitch for the statue came from Omri Amrany, an artist and owner of the Rotblatt Amrany studio based in Highwood, Illinois, who has been behind other celebrity statues like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson in Chicago and Napoleon Dynamite at 20th Century Fox Studios in Los Angeles.
Amrany had said that if the city approved the land, he would contact Ford. He suggested the statue could increase tourism in the area.
“It has a huge fanbase and it’s easy to imagine people from nearby communities stopping by to have their picture taken with a sculpture,” he told the city council.
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Ford has starred in the “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” franchises since the 1970s and has been in a host of other blockbusters from “The Fugitive” to “Air Force One.”
Ridge Ald Park. Harmony Harrington said she was concerned the pitch was not local and had received no support from the community.
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“I know we were approached by a very reputable art studio with maybe a broader view than some of us of what this could be for our city,” she said. “But for me, I’d love to see projects like this come from scratch; it means audiences and others are really invested in that desire.”