I was invited by Disney to attend the #HanSoloEvent. Although all of my expenses are paid, all opinions are my own.
Ron Howard, the director of SOLO took a few moments to chat with us while we were at the SOLO Press Event in Los Angeles. Getting to talk to such an iconic director was an experience of a lifetime and I am so blessed to have had this opportunity. This is the first time Ron has directed a Star Wars film so we were excited to hear from him about his experience. Check out our Interview with Emilia Clarke and stay tuned for more interviews from this amazing trip.
Ron said that just the responsibility of the cast, especially Alden Ehrenreich is a daunting challenge. He knew that there would be a lot of judgement surrounding him and his performance but he’s such a cool customer and wore the responsibility very well. Ron said that he had talked to Harrison Ford about a week ago and he had seen the movie and told Alden that he loved what he did, he respected it. Harrison said, “of course I couldn’t announce that to anyone because no one speaks for Harrison Ford but Harrison Ford. So, it was amazing that he surprised us and really surprised Alden.”
Ron said that creating a newer, younger version of Han Solo was all about taking inspiration from Harrison Ford and he feels like “Alden thought a little bit about the body and that’s a sort of subtle almost subliminal link that you can create for the characters.” He related it to what he did for National Geographic when they did Einstein, Genius and Geoffrey Rush. He said that Geoffrey Rush was playing the older Einstein and Johnny Flynn was playing the younger. They worked together to work out some physical traits and some body language choices that the younger Einstein could use that he would then reverberate with the older Einstein. Ron said that “Alden, of course, had already thought about it. But then you also have Larry Kasdan who has written for the iconic Han Solo played by Harrison Ford so many times. It was not only right for the character but sort of familiar for audiences.”
When Ron was in London, he had scheduled a breakfast with Kathy Kennedy to just chat while he was meeting with other writers for Imagine Entertainment projects and working on things. He knew she was there and he booked a breakfast with her. Kathy asked if Larry Kasden could come because he was in town but she didn’t tell him why. When he got there, John Kasden was there too. The conversation changed about mid-way through where it kind of came out that they needed a director for the young Han Solo movie. John and Larry asked Ron if he’d ever considered coming in and directing the movie. At first, Ron declined and urged them to reconsider their decision.
Ron then read the script and was so compelled that it answered questions of what a young Han Solo’s life experiences would have been to shape him and push him toward that iconic figure that we would know later. He said that it surprised him and in ways it was really satisfying and logical but it also had these twists and turns that were unexpected.
Over about a period of three days, he began to weigh the opportunity and at a certain point his wife, Cheryl, said “I know you pretty well and I think you’re going to be disappointed if you don’t do this.” Ron said, she was right as she most always is.
As with any movie, there were some challenges and barriers that Ron saw along the way. He said “what I discovered though, is that the reason that these Star Wars movies resonate with us and we see them more than once is because they entertain us.”
He didn’t realize that as a fan but when he was directing the scenes he realized that’s a real challenge because you’ve got action elements, sci-fi elements and a blend of humanity and humor and drama and then these deeper bigger themes that really relate classic themes. Ron compared it to playing three dimensional chess to direct these scenes.
Ron said “I recognized and respected the movies that came before me all the more when I realized kind of how complicated it was. So it was a challenge but it was fun. George Lucas had said to me, you know, just trust your instincts. I think you’re going to find you’re comfortable in this filmmaking style. He was right.”
Ron puts some personal touches in movies that he directs but he said that there are no Arrested Development Easter Eggs in the movie. He did share that “Mitch Horowitz is creating season 5 which comes out May 29th and he’d planned some Star Wars stuff for George Michael to wear a Darth Vader helmet, playing around the with light saber and things like that.
Did you know that Ron Howard’s daughter is also a director? In fact, she is directing Jurassic World that comes out in a few weeks. We asked Ron how he felt about having that in the family and he said, “well, it’s hard not to root for your daughter and either way we’re in a very fortunate positions. This is an awesome experience being a part of Star Wars and this summer’s movie lineup was so unexpected. Once we realized that our movies were coming out like a month apart or something like that, it’s a gift.”
Ron shares that he gives 110% to everything that he does. Some things click, some things not as much. He just loves it as a lifestyle and it’s their way of life. Ron has felt very rewarded by this opportunity and he hopes fans feel really good about the movie because these movies are made for the fans.
In THE FORCE AWAKENS, we know that Han Solo dies and Ron said that it was ‘very powerful in that movie and reflected the kind of complexity and the thematic elements that I think give Star Wars movies their lasting value. It’s fun, it’s playful and it’s exciting but it also has these themes that are complicated and run deep. When your survival is at stake and you’re presented with choices that you might not necessarily be proud of, and it’s not just the Han Solo character, its many other ones, too.’ Ron shares that knowing the outcome of the story gives the Young Han Solo story even more power and more weight and in many ways makes us even more curious about what might have made him tick.
SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY HITS THEATERS MAY 25TH
ABOUT SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY
Board the Millennium Falcon and journey to a galaxy far, far away in SOLO: A STAR WARSSTORY, an all-new adventure with the most beloved scoundrel in the galaxy. Through a series of daring escapades deep within a dark and dangerous criminal underworld, Han Solo befriends his mighty future copilot Chewbacca and meets the notorious gambler Lando Calrissian, in a journey that will set the course of one of the Star Wars saga’s most unlikely heroes. The film stars Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Paul Bettany.
SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY
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