Alden Ehrenreich has been front and center in films directed by the Coen brothers and Warren Beatty, but he’s about to be thrown into the global spotlight with the May release of “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” The film is world premiering at Cannes next month after enduring much publicized behind-the-scenes drama. Original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired by Lucasfilm after several months of production and Ron Howard was brought in to finish the film. Ehrenreich addresses the director change in a new Esquire profile.
“From the first screen test on, we played around with it a lot. We tried a lot of different things, rethinking behind the scenes,” Ehrenreich said about Lord and Miller’s style. “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.”
The actor said it was “emotional” to find out the directing duo had been let go after months of working with them one-on-one to get the character right. Ehrenreich said he had a “good relationship” with Lord and Miller, and it’s not lost on the young actor that the pair cast him in the role in the first place. As for the rumor that some “Solo” cast and crew applauded upon hearing about Lord and Miller’s exit, Ehrenreich said that couldn’t be further from the truth.
“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.”
According to Ehrenreich, the transition from Lord and Miller to Howard went as smooth as possible. He credits the veteran filmmaker for being able to get “everybody enthusiastic” about his direction for the movie at a time when they had just spent months filming Lord and Miller’s version. Everyone on set thought what Miller and Lord had shot was good, so they’re firing cast doubt on both the past and future of the film. Howard helped ease those tensions.
“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,” Ehrenreich said. “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.”
Howard ended up finishing “Solo” in time for the film to keep its May release date, and it turns out that it might just be the first of many appearances Ehrenreich has as young Han Solo. When asked by Esquire how many “Star Wars” films he signed up for when he accepted the role, Ehrenreich confirmed three: “I don’t know if that’s officially, uh, public,” he said. “But—yeah.” IndieWire has reached out to comment from Lucasfilm and Disney.
“Solo: A Star Wars Story” opens nationwide May 25. Head over to Esquire to read Ehrenreich’s profile in its entirety.