Note: Part of this was in response to a now deleted write-up. The write-up in question implied that actors have no choice in the roles they play. The italicized text below is from that write-up.
That said, Harrison Ford does not choose the movies he is in. It does not work that way in Hollywood. It is the casting directors who choose actors for movies, though in the case of a famous actor, such as Harrison Ford, it can be the director or even the producer who picks him.
The only choice an actor has is to go to an audition or not to go. However, not going to an audition equals to a professional suicide. Hollywood auditions are not open to the public. The actor's agent works hard to get the actor to be even allowed to audition. An actor who misses a couple of auditions may as well say good-bye to the movies.
That includes stars. In Hollywood one day you may be a star, the next day you may be a has-been.
This is so patently untrue it's almost funny. If you're talking about struggling-actor-Joe-Nobody, then yeah, the agent busts his ass to get the audition, and the actor takes any job he can find... be it summer blockbuster or hemorrhoid cream ad. However... any A-list actor in Hollywood (and this includes Harrison Ford) can choose whatever role he or she wants. Not only that, but they can demand whatever salary they want. I don't know where you got the above idea, but here's how it works...
A studio obtains rights to a film. In some cases, it's the director or producer that has the rights, but unless you're an indie film developer, you need a studio to fund your picture. It then undergoes a long, drawn out period of development, where screenwriters edit the script, and preliminary copies of the script are distributed to potential actors and directors. Not directly to the actors or directors, mind you, but to the agents of those actors and directors. The agents pass on scripts to their clients, who can decide whether or not they are interested. James Woods fired his agent after he failed to receive a script for Reservoir Dogs... his agent felt that the salary offered to Woods for the picture was insulting, so he didn't even bother to pass it on.
Directors and producers can express an interest in who they want for certain parts, but that by no means requires an audition. Ridley Scott wanted Dustin Hoffman for the part of Blade Runner's Deckard. Hoffman wasn't interested (note: this didn't exactly amount to 'professional suicide'). Harrison Ford was chosen instead. And everyone knows how Ford got his part in Star Wars -- George Lucas was
one Han Solo short for his ensemble cast audition, and asked a nearby carpenter to stand in. It just happened to be Harrison Ford. Burt Reynolds was allegedly tapped to play Han Solo, but he dropped out to do Smokey And The Bandit.
Once a director, film crew, and a relatively solid cast are selected, the film is greenlighted. Principal photography, special effects, soundtracking, promotion, and editing begin. A release date is set and trailers are released. If someone walks out at THIS point, it could be considered professional suicide. Still, it didn't stop director Kevin Reynolds from walking away from Waterworld.
The point is, good actors have their choice of roles. Rumor has it that Leonardo DiCaprio had over 200 movie offers after Titanic (why he chose The Beach is anyone's guess). Don't let anyone fool you... Harrison Ford is directly responsible for the roles he chooses. In
the past couple of years, he's turned down Proof Of Life (which went to Russell Crowe), The Perfect Storm (which went to George Clooney), and The Patriot (which went to Mel Gibson).
As for why he's turning down these roles? I don't know... maybe it's because he's pushing sixty, and he's trying to make a career turn away from full-blown action hero?