When Lucasfilm was purchased by Disney back in in 2012, they not only committed to a brand new Star Wars trilogy but also announced that there would be a series of spin-off movies set in the same timeline.The first of those spinoffs, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, is set for release later this year. The second of these standalone ventures will be a Han Solo origin story set in the smuggler's younger days (in-between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope).
After months of feverish speculation, with names such as Taron Egerton (Kingsman: The Secret Service) and Dave Franco (21 Jump Street) reportedly coming close to getting the part, the iconic role eventually went to young Alden Ehrenreich. The 26 year old from L.A. has previously worked with a number of revered directors such as Woody Allen on Blue Jasmine, Francis Ford Coppola on Tetro and the Coen brothers in their star-studded comedy Hail, Caesar! - but Ehrenreich's addition to the Star Wars franchise marks the most high-profile gig of his career so far by some considerable distance.
The actor, speaking with Interview Magazine, has now sat down to discuss both his varied and colorful career and his forthcoming role as the galaxy's premiere scoundrel. On his career so far, Ehrenreich said:
"I remember feeling like there was no way I could've imagined that something like Tetro would have happened to me. And it's a little bit about how I felt about Hail, Caesar! and now Star Wars. I could not have predicted those things happening to me. But I'm just happy they come along... I think it's still very surreal. When I worked with anybody like Woody Allen or Francis, there's the name, and your understanding of who they are before you meet them, that stays in your head a little bit... And then slowly you get to know each one of them as a person, and that becomes a kind of separate entity, where you just know the human being. Like I've known Francis for so long I think, "Oh, Francis." And then you see his name on something with The Godfather, and you go, "Oh, yeah. He's also that." The person you knew of before you met the actual person."
When asked about his Star Wars experience specifically, Alden stated:
"Well, I had an audition process that went on for a long time, and I got to spend a lot of time with the guys who are directing the film [Phil Lord and Christopher Miller]. Getting to be around them and being around the world a little bit has been the main experience so far. I did my audition on the Millennium Falcon for one of my screen tests, which was pretty cool... I'm just excited to be a part of the movie."
Although the Han Solo movie is still in its early pre-production phase, Ehrenreich did confirm that he was in London for Star Wars related "prep stuff" but maintained that he didn't know whether the movie itself would be shot there. The actor also confirmed that he still had no clear idea of how he will portray the character, adding that he hasn't had any communication with previous Solo actor, Harrison Ford, about the role but confirmed that he is a massive fan of the Star Wars movies.
Alden himself might not yet know how he'll play Han Solo but certainly, the young actor's image and visual appearance in somewhere in the ballpark of a young Harrison Ford and his rugged good looks could definitely suit the character's working class charm and brash arrogance. Ehrenreich's acting pedigree is also hard to deny, especially given that he was brought into showbiz by a certain Mr. Spielberg who may have made a successful film or two.
In the modern Internet age, it's not uncommon for fans to judge an actor's suitability for a role long before the movie itself is released (just ask Ben Affleck and Daniel Craig). As such, Alden Ehrenreich's casting as one of geek culture's most renowned figures having managed to avoid such a backlash is commendable in itself. Indeed any skepticism that does surround the Han Solo movie is more centered on whether exploring the character's origins will tarnish fans' fond memories of the rogue smuggler - and whether any actor, regardless of talent, will be able to live up to Harrison Ford's memorable performance.
Source: Interview Magazine
- Star Wars: Rogue One / Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) release date: Dec 16, 2016
- 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