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For Donald Glover, playing young Lando Calrissian has come with an unexpected complication.
Stepping into the shoes of the iconic Star Wars character played by Billy Dee Williams was always going to be challenging, but behind-the-scenes drama on the Han Solo spinoff became public in June when directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired over creative differences with Lucasfilm.
In this week’s Hollywood Reporter cover story, Glover is opening up about the changes on set, which saw Ron Howard step in as director.
“Ron is such a legend, and he knows exactly what the vision for what he is doing is. … [But Phil and Chris] hired us, so you sort of feel like, ‘I know I’m not your first choice … ,’ and you worry about that,” Glover told THR television editor Lacey Rose over a meal in London. “To be honest, I don’t know exactly what happened. I feel like I was the baby in the divorce, or the youngest child. The oldest child is like, ‘We know what’s happening, but we are keeping you out of it.’ And I’m just like, [Glover’s voice rises several octaves] ‘Was that scene good? How did you feel?’ ”
Glover also spoke about a lunch he had (in disguise) with Williams in January, three months after being cast as Lando. An admittedly nervous Glover expounded on ideas he had for the character: “I was like, ‘I’ve always felt like this character could do this, and he represents this, and I kind of feel like he comes from here, and it’s very obvious he has a lot of taste, so maybe he grew up seeing that from afar? Because I’m like that. Maybe he saw it from other planets and was like, ‘I want to be that.’ ” Glover said, laughing as he shared the memory. “He just let me ramble on and on, and then finally I was like, ‘So, what do you think?’ And he goes, ‘Yeah, I don’t know about all that. Just be charming.’ “
Shortly after the lunch in January, Williams spoke with THR about the two Landos meeting — and shared his own side of the story.
“He’s a very delightful young man, I must say. We had a very nice lunch and we talked for a very long time and it was very easy,” Williams said at the time. “He had questions about [Lando]. I guess he was doing what normal actors do, they just want to find out what direction they want to take so they gather their information. So, we just sat and talked, and I didn’t want to impose on anything he wanted to do — he’s got his own ideas, I would imagine. I know he has his own ideas. He’s a very talented young man. In fact, I was listening to some of his music [Childish Gambino, Glover’s musical alter ego] and it’s pretty good stuff.”
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