If Star Wars has taught Hollywood anything, it's that it will be a life-altering experience for any of the actors cast in the film saga. Unbeknownst to the Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford in 1977, the original movie would quickly make them global superstars, which only added to the pressure of any new actor to join the subsequent episodes in the ensuing years.
Some, of course, were established names like Liam Neeson in The Phantom Menace, so the change wasn't as much a shocker. Unfortunately, the shock did hit Jake Lloyd and Hayden Christensen, the two actors tasked with playing young Anakin Skywalker, and in a mostly negative sort of way when the prequel trilogy was maligned by critics and fans.
One actor who feared the latter scenario was Jack Reynor, an Irish actor who already scored his big break with a major role in Transformers: Age of Extinction when, according to The Irish Times, buzz grew that he was being considered for a role in The Force Awakens and, after that, the title role in Phil Lord and Chris Miller's Untitled Han Solo Star Wars Anthology Film. And while some actors would kill for such an opportunity, Reynor, in an interview with the publication makes it seem that he's thrilled the role didn't happen.
"That Han Solo movie is going to be really tough. I think the guy who is doing it is a really good actor, but, for myself, I was afraid of it. I kept thinking: if you f**k this up you’ll ruin people’s childhoods. If it doesn’t turn out great, you won’t be forgiven. That’s a lot of responsibility. And even if it goes great, you’ll do it, people will know you only from that and that defines your career. That would be very difficult. For me, working on original material is very important.”
That "guy" Reynor is referring to, of course, is Alden Ehrenreich, who is currently in production on the film with the co-directors and co-stars Donald Glover, Emilia Clarke and Woody Harrelson. And Reynor – who naysayers may feel is making an excuse for not being cast – has some great points. There's a lot of pressure on any actor, established or not, to step into the shoes of an iconic role, much less one defined by an actor the stature of Ford. Add to that the idea of somehow making the role of Han Solo your own instead of doing an imitation of the famed space pirate.
As much as what's riding on Ehrenreich's shoulders, Lord and Miller have to be feeling the pressure, too. With the blockbuster successes of The Force Awakens and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – which proved there's a viability for creative and box office success beyond the core trilogies – all eyes will be on microscopes come May 2018, dissecting even the subtleties of the young Han Solo film and what it means for the future of the franchise.
As for Reynor, he seems content with his career, and even suggested in The Irish Times interview that Age of Extinction soured any aspirations for him living and working in Tinseltown. With the announcement this week from Disney CEO Bob Iger that the studio will produce Star Wars films through 2030, it seems like a pretty safe bet that Reynor won't be auditioning for any of them.
Source: The Irish Times
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019