Having tackled corrupt cops in February's ''Dark Blue,'' writer-director Ron Shelton takes on the upstanding (if doughnut-scarfing) variety with a buddy comedy about two L.A. detectives (Harrison Ford and Josh Hartnett) who moonlight at other jobs -- a phenomenon Shelton got wind of through ''Dark Blue'' consultant and former LAPD cop Robert Souza (who also cowrote this film). So when they're not investigating the murder of a rap star, Hartnett's K.C. Calden is a yoga instructor and wannabe actor; Ford's Joe Gavilan is a down-on-his-luck real estate agent trying desperately to unload a house in the hills. ''There wasn''t a lot of script when I first signed up,'' admits Ford. ''I signed up on the basis of the idea -- which is something I never do -- [but] the mix of police work and real estate was a great comic opportunity.''
Homicide marks the fifth time Ford has played a police officer in a leading role (following ''Blade Runner,'' ''Witness,'' ''Devil's Own,'' and ''Random Hearts''), though this time his flatfoot is something of a loser. ''He's rumpled, he's in debt, he can't pay his alimony, he's a little grumpy,'' says Shelton, who also cowrote July's ''Bad Boys II.'' ''But Harrison embraced the flaws. It's like he was thirsty for it as an actor.'' Nevertheless, this schmo is Harrison Ford, so he still gets a hot love interest, a radio psychic played by ''Alias''' Lena Olin.
Ford hasn't had a summer hit since 2000's ''What Lies Beneath'' -- thanks for nothing, ''K-19'' -- so maybe it was wise to team up with current heartthrob Hartnett. But he soon discovered the risks involved in letting a 24-year-old newbie action star take the wheel for a dramatic chase scene. ''It was planned that we were going to be cut off by a police car,'' recalls Ford, who was in the passenger seat. ''He just got excited and [drove] right through his mark and hit the police car. He got whiplash, and I got a pulled groin muscle.'' Was Hartnett pretty sheepish for awhile? ''Oh,'' says Ford, ''I managed to make it last several days.''