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Harrison Ford talks going shirtless at 77

No, Harrison Ford isn’t sporting that grizzly beard because he’s gone off the grid after “Star Wars” killed Han Solo in “The Force Awakens.”

Ford, 77, went full-on feral for his role as expert outdoorsman John Thornton, who befriends leading dog Buck in “The Call of the Wild” (in theaters Friday).

The new screen adaptation of Jack London’s famed 1903 novel, set in the 1890s Klondike Gold Rush, features an unusual screen pairing: Ford and “Planet of the Apes” motion-capture actor Terry Notary, who plays Buck.

Having the human actor, who was digitally transformed into the massive sled dog, helped Ford.

“I had an emotional relationship with this consciousness that was Terry Notary. And he became the consciousness of Buck,” he says.

Ford spoke to USA TODAY about the perils of burly facial hair and his impressively “Wild” shirtless scene.

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Harrison Ford as John Thornton with his trusted dog Buck in "The Call of the Wild."

Question: In those scenes where you are patting Buck on the head, was it hard getting used to head-patting Terry Notary?

Harrison Ford: Petting him on the head wasn’t the weird part. Rubbing him on the belly was a little weird at first. We got over it real quick. It just becomes normal.

Q: Your beard is glorious. How long did it take?

Ford: It took about 3½ months. Then I shaved it off. And then we did some reshoots. So I had to grow it again. My wife (Calista Flockhart) will never forgive me for that. But it was right for the character.

Q: It looks great! How could she not love that beard?

Ford: You don’t have to scratch me behind the ears or rub my belly.

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