Alden Ehrenreich and Donald Glover Talk About What It Means to Become Han and Lando
Playing Han Solo was bigger than anything Alden Ehrenreich could wrap his head around. He wanted to get it right so he asked to have lunch with the original Han Solo, Harrison Ford.
Ehrenreich not only wanted to pay his respect to the actor who made the role iconic, but also get his blessing, Ehrenreich said during a press conference for the movie recently. That was two years ago and Solo: A Star Wars Story comes to theaters on Friday. Ford surprised Ehrenreich during an interview on the day of the movie premiere to tell him how much he loved the movie.
“It’s such a huge deal to have him really, genuinely love it,” Ehrenreich said.
Reimagining a legendary Star Wars character wasn’t just a big deal for Ehrenreich. When he was a kid, Donald Glover would pretend to be Lando Calrissian, the cool smuggler and original owner of the Millenium Falcon. When Donald Glover heard about the Solo project he called up his agent and said he had to have the role.
“I told my agent, I was like, if they’re making anything with Lando in it, I have to be Lando. And… and he was like, I hear you. I don’t like your odds,” he said.
This was more than two years ago before Donald Glover was everywhere, winning all the awards (Emmys and Golden Globes for the FX Show he created and stars in and a Grammy for his group Childish Gambino). His agent’s words were exactly what he needed to hear.
“I really did audition like it was like the only role I wanted in the world,” he said. He was so happy to be part of the experience because his father, “imprinted with me this kind of Star Wars longing. Because it does feel like the Bible to me in a lot of ways.”
Thandie Newton, who plays the smuggler Val, said there is something incredible about being on the set of a Star Wars movie. She brought her then 2-year-old son with her to the set one day and she watched as he walked over to R2D2. The guide operating R2D2 made R2 talk to her boy. And the boy talked back.
“My little boy didn’t have anything to do with Star Wars, but these characters have a kind of magnetism that is unparalleled,” she said. ” I was like seven when the first movie came out. I’ll never forget it. That scroll of white going into black, John Williams’ music, it was — this stuff imprints on your psyche.”
Ron Howard knew he was taking on something extraordinary when he was called in to take over directing duties after Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were let go after four months into making the movie.
“The level of anticipation is unlike anything I’ve ever done,” he said.
It’s not the first time he’s jumped into something that had huge expectations; he also directed the documentary The Beatles: Eight Days a Week. He’s at the point in his life where he likes to take chances and not be too concerned with the outcome, but at the same time when it was announced that he would be directing Solo, he immediately thought, “Ron, don’t f*** this up.”
You can decide for yourself on Friday when Solo: A Star Wars Story opens nationwide.