fordsThere’s no excuse in the modern age for not knowing who Harrison Ford is. He is, all at once, Indiana Jones, Han Solo and Rick Deckard. And these three are all at once Harrison Ford. There’s no debate on this whatsoever – no one in this universe ever said “Robert Redford should’ve be Indiana Jones” or “I wish Han Solo was less snarly and and less sarcastic”. If you don’t know Ford, you don’t know 20th century cinema. And if you don’t like Ford, you’re on the side of darkness.

There’s a little more leniency for not knowing who Anthony Ingruber is. The 25-year-old Netherlands-based impersonator makes a respectable splash on YouTube where his best vid (yes, a Han Solo impersonation) has about half a million views.

But he has only just started to make blips on Hollywood’s radar, a part of the world that still has gravity despite the Internet. Ingruber has seized a very important mantle: he is the millennial incarnation of Harrison Ford. He made a strong case for this in the Lee Toland Krieger’s 2015 feature The Age of Adaline. In this magical realist romance, Ingruber plays a younger flashback version of a character portrayed by a 73-year-old Ford (William Jones) with freakish likeness in both look and voice. Ingruber’s screentime in the film is short but his performance is arguably integral to the film’s cinematic storytelling. Ford’s veteran star stature and on-screen persona for a film like Adaline present an intimidating challenge for any actor sharing same character name: you not only have to play your character, you have to play Ford. Anything less could have rendered the pivotal (and beautifully shot) flashback scenes unusable.

There are two uniquely-paired parts to this. Firstly, Ingruber is a deeply talented mimic and not just of Ford. Secondly, he looks astoundingly like a younger Ford with his deep-set eyes and prominent nose (notably, though, Ingruber’s dimply smile is much more baby-faced than Ford’s grumpy scowl).

There are a million impersonators out there and some of the best have launched lucrative careers at open-mic nights. Ingruber’s role in this film is a story of good luck in the age of internet discoverability. But more deeply, his talent for mimicry comes from his childhood experience, learning how to blend in as a perennial “new kid” in new schools and new cultures as he followed his Australian diplomat father from posting to posting across the globe.

It’s not surprising that Ingruber’s name is among the swirl of rumored candidates for Disney’s proposed Star Wars feature that focuses on the early life of Han Solo (due for release in 2018). It’s a long list and a long shot but he has a surge of fan support for the role (Chris Pratt is also among actors rumored to be a possibility). Some Star Wars fans reject the idea of Solo being played by a Saturday Night Live-type impressionist but Ingruber acknowledges the craft of acting is more than just the ability to mimic and his fans argue he is up for the task.

I asked Ingruber some questions about how his experience shaped his talents and where he wants to take them. Below is an edited email interview he was kind enough to grant

What countries have you lived in?

Ingruber: I was born in the Philippines in 1990, and then lived in Canada between 1992-95, Australia 1995-99, Cyprus, 1999-2004, Back to Australia until 2005, then new Zealand until 2011. I went to live in Canada again until 2013 and now I have settled in Holland. This doesn’t count the amount of countries that I have visited in between these times because that list is much longer! My father is actually Australian by Austrian descent, and my mother is Dutch.

Where do you say you come from and where do people think you come from based on your accent?

Ingruber: I usually reply with the opposite of the country I am staying in. It takes so long to give my full biography and confusing nationality. I suppose the country I would call home would be either Holland or New Zealand. I tend to get American as my guessed nationality but at times my accent slips more into an Australian twang.

I think my ability to mimic so many accents is definitely thanks to my international upbringing and experiences. As a teenager, I actually re-learned the Australian accent in order to fit in when my family and I moved back to Australia after living in Cyprus where I picked up the American accent.

What were the challenges of always being a new kid in a new school in a new country? How did your talent for impersonations develop and help you?

Ingruber: It was always really hard having to constantly move and rebuild my life in a completely alien environment at such a young age. Bullying was a problem in some countries when I was younger but I think that taught me the skills needed to adapt and defend myself rather than using physical violence by avoiding it with good social skills.

One of the skills I used was avoid being the “awkward new kid” and instead be the funny guy. When I was 13 I discovered I had a talent for impersonating various actors that I had grown up watching like Harrison Ford and Jack Nicholson. I went really fast from feeling like an outcast to being the class comedian and building up a good social life.

I realized during my high school years that acting was something I really enjoyed doing and something that attracted me. The impressions were what started the ball rolling in that direction but as I got older I started to also produce original pieces and work on my skills to try to pursue acting as a career. I always kept doing impressions on the side through YouTube as the fanbase that I grew all really enjoyed my work and it’s wonderful to know that what I’m doing is appreciated.

Given your international childhood, do you think you face the same struggles with identity, loyalties and friendships that other so-called “third culture kids” do? And did you ever consider espionage as a career?

Ingruber: As a kid I did have that James Bond fantasy; going to exotic locations and that sense of danger. As I got older I realized I’d much rather be an actor playing James Bond so there no actual danger and a lot more glamor.

I do feel like I have no real national identity; if there was a war between the countries I grew up in, I don’t know which side I would fight for.

I’m lucky enough to have made some amazing friends in all different corners of the world. My closest are from Cyprus, Australia and New Zealand.

I think my life has been filled with vast experiences in all kinds of different countries and cultures and that’s something some people don’t get to experience. I do feel that I have been forced to leave my best friends behind and that’s really difficult.

As a kid, I tried to fit in but as I got older I decided to just be myself and find people that like me for who I am.

When did people first start saying you looked like Harrison Ford? How did you end up playing a younger version of his character in The Age of Adaline?

Ingruber: When I first started doing the impressions in high school, my friends and even teachers started to point out that I did look quite a bit like him.

I was discovered through my YouTube video by the director, Lee Toland Krieger, himself. I believe he was looking for reference photos of young Harrison Ford in Google and I came up. He then contacted me for a screen test and explained they were looking for someone who not only could convince the audience that this character would grow up to become Ford but was also a competent actor as well. Working with Lee, we found a good balance with delivering a natural performance while also using the mannerisms that the audience identify with Ford.

I think it’s impossible to be a good impressionist without being an actor as well. I feel it is a branch or style of acting the same way drawing and painting are a form of illustration. I think it’s important to always try to build on your strengths as an actor but doing impressions is like being let out to play and have some fun.

I think my first real role was an awesome coincidence that it required me to use the skills I developed as a kid doing my impressions but at the same time showing that I could deliver a convincing performance as well. I hope that it leads to more opportunities and allows me to go after some really diverse roles in great films.

So are you going to be the young Han Solo in a new Star Wars film?

Ingruber: Unfortunately I can’t divulge anything at this time!