We’ve known for over a year that original Han Solo actor Harrison Ford had lunch with his younger counterpart Alden Ehrenreich, just before he took up an earlier version of role for this summer’s stand-alone spinoff “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” But it wasn’t until today that we learned just what kind of advice the legendary star gave to the up-and-comer.
Thanks to Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and “Solo” director Ron Howard, we now have some details about just how that meeting influenced Ehrenreich’s performance, and in what other ways Ford contributed to the upcoming origin story of his famous Star Wars scoundrel.
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While Alden Ehrenreich (“Hail, Caesar!”) has said his exchange with Harrison Ford essentially boiled down to the Hollywood elder statesman saying, “Tell them I told you everything you needed to know, and that you can’t tell anyone,” there’s apparently much more to the story.
According to a quote from Kathleen Kennedy in Entertainment Weekly, “What [Ford] did so beautifully for Alden was he talked a lot about what he remembered when he first read Star Wars, and what George had done with Han. Who the character was and the conversations he had for so many years with George about how that character developed”
“He gave Alden that kind of insight which was invaluable. There were several times in the course of making the movie where Alden would actually recount some of the things that Harrison had pointed out. I think that was really, really helpful to him.”
Kennedy also noted that Ford thought Ehrenreich was a “Good kid, good kid. Really good kid,” adding “It was perfect, classic Harrison.” She followed up by sending Harrison Ford a copy of the “Solo” script (written by Lucasfilm icon Lawrence Kasdan with his son Jon) which he read and approved.
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Then, director Ron Howard (“Apollo 13”) sought advice from Ford when he took over the project from original helmers Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who left the production due to creative differences.
“Harrison’s a very thoughtful actor and an artist, and I wanted to know what he learned about the character,” reported Howard in the EW piece. “He said that Han is always torn between that sense that he was, in a way, an orphan, and therefore both yearned for connection with people and struggled with it at the same time. I thought that was pretty interesting.”
“Solo: A Star Wars Story” is scheduled to be released into theaters on Friday, May 25th.