Woody Harrelson has had a long and colorful career. He is known for roles such as Billy Hoyle in White Men Can’t Jump, Haymitch Abernathy in The Hunger Games franchise, Tallahassee in Zombieland, and serial killer Mickey Knox in Natural Born Killers. He recently starred as Rex Walls in The Glass Castle and will next be playing Tobias Beckett in Solo: A Star Wars Story.
Thandie Newton is an English actress. She is most known for her critically acclaimed role in Crash, which she received several awards for. Thandie’s film career has held a variety of versatile roles like Nyah Nordoff-Hall in Mission Impossible 2, Dame Vaako in The Chronicles of Riddick, and Condoleezza Rice in W. She is currently playing the beguiling conscious robot Maeve on HBO’s Westworld. Both can be seen next in Solo: A Star Wars Story, which will premiere in theaters on May 25, 2018.
Screen Rant got a chance to talk with both Woody Harrelson and Thandie Newton on Press Day, where we discussed Val’s relationship with Beckett, how secretive they had to be working on a Star Wars film, and how helpful the practical sets were in informing their character choices.
SR: How would you describe Val’s relationship with Beckett and what does she feel about Han?
Thandie Newton: Oof. Didn’t you get that from watching it?
SR: I did, but I didn’t want to give out spoilers.
Thandie Newton: Well, then I’ll be spoiling it if I tell them. Okay. I feel, I don’t want to give anything away because I think it is a shame. That’s why it’s called spoilers because they spoil it. But I will say that Val is the lightning rod of sobriety and seriousness among this band of people. She’s the momma who is looking out for everybody and making sure that ultimately, you know, we take our lives seriously because life is precious. [gasps] Isn’t that what she’s like?
Woody Harrelson: That is what she is like.
Thandie Newton: That is what she is like because she’s not just all tough. There’s a softness too and you get that from this relationship she has with this guy, which I love how the movie doesn’t overplay the sexy wexy nature of this relationship. They have this connection that’s kind of tantric.
Woody Harrelson: Kind of primal.
Thandie Newton: It’s tantric. It’s just very still and it’s there and you believe it. And I think that is, Woody and I were talking earlier about how they are the mom and dad of Han’s new persona as he goes forward after this movie.
SR: Now both of you guys are no stranger to secretive productions with Venom and Westworld. How does Star Wars compare to that?
Thandie Newton: Well, you did Venom.
Woody Harrelson: The most secretive I’ve ever seen.
Thandie Newton: Westworld is so secretive.
Woody Harrelson: Are they?
Thandie Newton: You can’t have a cell phone on set.
Woody Harrelson: Oh. I was surprised they let you have cell phones on set with this one. But, you know, when you go outside, you got to put a cloak over top.
Thandie Newton: Yeah. Because Star Wars! We didn’t have that with Westworld.
Woody Harrelson: You don’t even have a script.
Woody Harrelson: Like I bet you have a script with Westworld. You don’t even have a script. You have to enter this very intricate password.
Thandie Newton: It’s true. But they literally give you a special Ipad with your script on it that they then take back at the end of the day.
Woody Harrelson: An E-reader.
Thandie Newton: Yeah. An E-reader.
SR: So you guys obviously play a big part in raising young Han to an extent. Can you talk to me about the practical effects because everything looked practical on this, which is crazy.
Thandie Newton: Oh, yes. I know. That’s really interesting actually because, when I first put Val’s costume on, I felt like that kid’s game Buckaroo, where you hang bits on the donkey before it kicks its leg up. Because I had stuff hanging off: pipes, ropes, another rope, a belt with a base, and I’m like, “Hey. This is a lot of stuff. What is this?” And, literally, the costume designers would tell me the uses for each thing and each thing had a use, which I actually used while we were making the movie. So, I mean, that is, I love that pragmatic, pragmatic chic.
SR: I like it.
Thandie Newton: Wouldn’t you say? And your character too.
Woody Harrelson: It may be militant sexy. Who makes militarism sexy?
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019