About six years ago, Anthony Ingruber posted a stellar impression of Harrison Ford as Han Solo on YouTube. To date, about 370,000 people have watched the young actor talk of parsecs and the Kessel Run, his mouth curled into Ford’s sardonic smile, eyes darting under suspicious brows.
Fast forward a few years and Ingruber hears that a movie called The Age of Adaline — about a woman (Blake Lively) who has stopped aging — is looking for an actor to play the younger version of Harrison Ford.
“I submitted my video and didn’t give it a second thought as I was under the impression I would be just one of hundreds auditioning for this part,” says Ingruber, now 25. “I learned later that the director, Lee Toland Krieger, had actually found my YouTube video personally and had spoken to production and was keen to get me on board.”
The son of a diplomat, Ingruber was born in the Philippines but grew up in Australia, Cyprus, New Zealand, Holland and Canada. From age two to five he lived in Ottawa, where he learned to skate and play hockey. Then, in 2011, he moved back to Canada where he spent nearly three years in Toronto trying to get his acting career in gear. When his visa ran out he moved back to Holland to be near family.
That’s when the call came to return to Canada, specifically Vancouver, to shoot The Age of Adaline. “Absolute bewilderment and shock comes close to describing my reaction to that phone call, followed by excitement and a feeling of a boyhood dream come true.”
An image of Ingruber in the film’s trailer looks as though special effects were used to morph his face with Ford’s. “Ha ha, thanks very much, but no that was me,” he says.
Of course, Ingruber and Ford’s scenes take place in different eras, so there was no guarantee the two would even meet.
“We were filming a scene in the late evening in which [Ford] has a flashback to when he first meets Adaline as a younger man,” recalls Ingruber. “Throughout the day, the producers, assistant director and pretty much everyone on set was asking me if I had met him yet and whether or not I would like to. I, of course, said I would but I wasn’t sure how I would react....
“After we wrapped for the day, the crew was waiting with cameras and captured that moment for me. It was something truly special and discovering that your childhood hero is also such a kind and friendly person was a fantastic experience.”