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Phil Lord and Christopher Miller may have had a different style of moviemaking than what studio brass had in mind for Solo: A Star Wars Story, but that doesn’t mean they were making a bad film, star Alden Ehrenreich explained in a cover story with Esquire.
The 28-year-old actor cleared up some rumors that plagued the Star Wars installment’s production after news got out that the directing duo had been fired for clashing with producer Kathleen Kennedy and writer Lawrence Kasdan.
Oscar-winning director Ron Howard was brought in to take over the picture last summer.
“They had a different style than Ron in terms of the way we were working,” Ehrenreich told Esquire. The Han Solo actor explained to the magazine that he liked the script and liked the duo.
“From the first screen test on, we played around with it a lot. We tried a lot of different things, rethinking behind the scenes,” he said. “That was yielding a different movie than the other factions wanted. I knew what I was doing, but in terms of what that adds up to, you’re so in the dark as an actor. You don’t know what it’s shaping up to be, how they’re editing it, so it’s kind of impossible without having seen those things to know what the difference [of opinion] was, or exactly what created those differences.”
Kennedy and studio execs were reportedly not happy with the directors’ improv process, which ate up a lot of time and went way off script.
Ehrenreich said he didn’t know how bad it got behind closed doors. “The actors are at the kids’ table, unless you’re also a producer of the movie. So you’re really kept out of all the backroom dynamics of what was going on,” he said.
And the directors broke the news to Ehrenreich that they had been sacked, he told Esquire.
“They said, ‘We were let go,’ and that’s it,” he said. “They had mentioned there were some disagreements before, but they didn’t get into it. On a personal level, it felt emotional, for them to be going after we’d set out on that course together. Because I spent a lot of time with them, and we had a really good relationship — they also cast me. But I think at that point, they were kind of on board with [the decision], too.”
Ehrenreich also makes it clear he was not the one who asked for the duo’s dismissal. He also addressed the rumor of an acting coach being brought in to help him. “[Writer-director Maggie Kiley] was part of conversations that happened for a couple weeks at one point, but that was basically it.” He added that she was brought in to be a resource for the entire cast.
And, no, there is no truth to the report that cast and crew broke in to applause when it was announced that Lord and Miller had been fired, the actor said.
“That’s bullshit,” Ehrenreich said. “For a crew to do that would mean they hated [Lord and Miller], which was not by any stretch the case.”
Singing Howard’s praise, Ehrenreich said production was able to get back on track almost immediately once the veteran director was in the door.
“Everybody’s hackles are raised a bit, and Ron had this ability to come in and deal with morale and get everybody enthusiastic about, A, what we’d already shot, because I think his feeling was that a lot of what we’d already done was really good, and, B, the direction for the next piece of it,” he told Esquire. “He knew how to navigate a tricky situation, and almost from the first or second day everybody pretty quickly recharged and got excited again about the movie.”
Also worth noting, Ehrenreich let it slip that he has signed on for three films (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story star Felicity Jones had multiple films in her deal, too.)
“I don’t know if that’s officially, uh, public. But — yeah,” he said.
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