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Interview: Solo: A Star Wars Story Actors are Big Fans

May 22, 2018

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By: Lynn Barker

Alden Ehrenreich (Beautiful Creatures) and Donald Glover (SpiderMan: Homecoming and TV.’s “Atlanta”), lead actors playing Han Solo and Lando Calrissian in the new Star Wars film Solo: A Star Wars Story told us that, as kids, they were huge fans of the franchise and were honored to bring beloved characters to life in a backstory film. Actors Paul Bettany (Vision in the Avengers films) and Emilia Clarke (of the “Game of Thrones” TV series) created new characters Dryden Vos and the mysterious Qi’ra and were just as stoked to enter the Star Wars universe. Read the interview to learn more!

Lando (Donald) at the Falcon controlsLando (Donald) at the Falcon controlsCourtesy of Walt Disney Pictures

Q: Alden, what did it feel like for you to sit down in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon?

  • Alden:  It’s really wild, it’s really exciting.  It’s kind of bigger than you can even wrap your head around. Being in the Millennium Falcon is very, very cool.  You get in (the cockpit) and you can’t believe you’re in it and it’s so surreal and that’s what everybody you bring to set wants to see and they have that experience, too.  And then, a couple months into shooting in (the film), you’re inside of it and you’re flying it.  You know where the buttons are.  You know how the chair feels, you know the yoke and you feel like, okay, this is kind of like my ship now and that is deeply gratifying.

Finally Han and Chewie rule the FalconFinally Han and Chewie rule the FalconCourtesy of Walt Disney Pictures

Q: Do you know how Harrison Ford feels about the movie and you playing Han?

  • Alden: I wanted to talk to Harrison, just to kind of pay respect and have him give blessings for the film and so we had lunch, I guess, two years ago and he was really encouraging and really supportive and then we went off, shot the film and just today I was doing an interview and they asked ‘Is there anything else you’d like to ask him?  Because he’s’… and he was behind me!  He’s so enthusiastic about the movie. It meant so much to me and I know for Ron (Howard, director) and everybody, it’s just such a huge deal to have him really genuinely love it and enjoy the film. It meant a lot to me that he took the time to come out here and do that. It was awesome!

Han and Chewie, the dynamic duoHan and Chewie, the dynamic duoCourtesy of Walt Disney Pictures

Q: I can imagine! What did you do to study the Han character and pay tribute to the other Star Wars films yet make him your own?

  • Alden: The way I went about it pretty much was to watch the original movies very early on and just absorb how the character is operating in the world.  Harrison and the whole Star Wars universe are so rich and there’s so much to it so I tried to kind of take in as much of that as I could very early, because I had the role for quite a long time before we actually shot.  And then I had to put all that aside and forget about it and, and play this guy where he is now in his life, because it’s most important, I think, that it feels like a real person. Then move on to where he is in this story.

Han and Qi'ra in a quiet momentHan and Qi'ra in a quiet momentCourtesy of Walt Disney Pictures

Q: Donald, stepping into the shoes of Lando, I know you were a big Star Wars fan.  Your father was a huge Lando fan. What was that experience like for you? 

  • Donald: I think as much as any seven-year-old boy, you pretend to be him. I had a Darth Vader light saber and I bit it off and I gave it to Lando and then my mom wouldn’t let me have the light saber anymore because she thought I’d choke on it (everybody laughs).  Then I heard they were making these and I told my agent, ‘If they’re making anything with Lando in it, I have to be Lando!’.  And he was like, ‘I hear you but I don’t like your odds’. I auditioned like it was like the only role I wanted in the world, because it really was. So I’m just really happy to be part of this experience. My dad kind of imprinted me with this kind of Star Wars’ longing. 

Charming LandoCharming LandoCourtesy of Walt Disney Pictures

Q: Emilia, your new character Qi'ra has such an air of mystery around her.  What was it like playing her and what is her relationship with Han and the rest of the gang?

  • Emilia: Playing mysterious is quite difficult but it was really, really fun.  You need to keep tabs on her throughout the movie. Because she is a mystery, she is one of the harder characters to discuss. We meet her quite early on with Han and then they're separated for whatever reason and when we find her again, she seems to have lived a pretty dark life in that time.  You can’t quite figure out what it is that’s happened to her in the time that you haven’t been with her and who it is that she is now. I think that’s a question that kind of keeps coming up throughout the movie.

Qi'ra (Emilia Clarke) greets Han after a long timeQi'ra (Emilia Clarke) greets Han after a long timeCourtesy of Walt Disney Pictures

Q: Paul, your character Dryden is terrifying and spooky. How was playing him?

  • Paul: Yeah, he’s a lot of fun to play and you know, again, it’s written really beautifully. I came on set really quickly and Ron (Howard, director) whispered, “Oligarch,” in my ear and I went, “Got it!” (note: an Oligarch is a powerful business or political leader). Having come from Avengers where Vision is fundamentally good, playing somebody who’s just deliciously bad, I’m really okay with it. No neurosis.  No guilt.  Just super happy about being evil (laughter).  He’s really good at hurting people, too.

Paul Bettany as Dryden VosPaul Bettany as Dryden VosCourtesy of Walt Disney Pictures

Q: Was there a scene that was particularly hard to get right?

  • Paul: I blew my first take which was meeting everybody. I had to shake hands with Chewbacca and I kind of started shaking his hand and I went in for a cuddle and it was embarrassing but I think everybody was really relaxed about it and, you know, people were saying that everybody does that.

Han (Alden) always in troubleHan (Alden) always in troubleCourtesy of Walt Disney Pictures

Q: Alden was it just daunting and awe-inspiring for you to be in the middle of a Star Wars film and on the sets?

  • Alden: Every day. I mean, every day you’re walking into a new set that these craftsmen and designers built and they’re the best in the world.  And you walk into these incredible environments with 300 different creatures that are actually there, that are actually built and then, you know, you do your scene so yeah.

Lando in one of his many capesLando in one of his many capesCourtesy of Walt Disney Pictures

Q: Donald, Lando wears these amazing capes all the time. Did you have a fave one?

  • Donald: At the end of the film, there’s a tiny white summer cape but it’s short and not functional at all but it makes a statement. It’s like ‘I’m not giving up on this cape thing’ (laughter) so I love that cape, because it really is just all flare.  I wasn’t able to bring any capes home with me but the fur cape I had, they had extra material and they made a pillow out of it for me.

Courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures

See Solo: A Star Wars Story in theaters now!

Have Your Say

Are you up for a new, younger version of Han Solo? Are you excited to see Lando and his early relationship with Han or….you couldn’t care less? Tell us all about it with a comment!