Chris Lee from Vulture interviews an anonymous actor from the Solo set in a piece entitled, Solo: A Star Wars Story Actor Shares New Details About the Troubled Production.
Vulture spoke to an actor who worked on Solo — for four months under the direction of Miller and Lord last year, and beginning in October with Howard — who provided a blow-by-blow. Although not one of the film’s marquee stars, this source was in a prime position to observe the directors’ contrasting on-set modi operandi. And according to his description, the production was divided into two distinct chapters: one disorganized and chaotic, the other controlled and efficient.
This runs in stark contrast to previous statements made publicly by the cast.
“I will tell you this much though,” Williams adds. “What saddens me most is I was very proud of the work that I did. What I believe I have created with Emilia Clarke and Woody Harrelson and Alden [Ehrenreich, who plays Solo]… I thought it was some great work. We was on the spaceship, and we all had these amazing scenes together, and I thought it was a great opportunity, and I thought it was some great stuff. It’s unfortunate the world won’t get to see it.” ~Michael K Williams
So who’s telling the truth here?
The Vulture interview continues:
Vulture’s source, who declined to be identified because he is not authorized to publicly discuss the movie at this time, felt Lord and Miller were out of their depth, more cut out for light comedy — like The Lego Movie and 2012’s big-screen adaptation of 21 Jump Street, the movies for which the pair earned their reputation for delivering surprise hits — than the kind of big-budget, galaxy-questing action that Lucasfilm required.
Which is interesting, given that this also runs contrary to statements made by Jon Kasdan, who remarks that the screenplay specifically contained comedy.
For screenwriters and father-son duo Lawrence and Jon Kasdan, the film’s roots are heavily vested in one of the most central relationships in the universe’s mythology: the friendship between Han and Chewbacca (played in “Solo” by Joonas Suotamo). “To me, this is a love story between Han and Chewie,” the younger Kasdan told the outlet. “Their relationship has always been my favorite part of the saga, and the fact that only Han understands what Chewie is saying, I find a very funny possibility for comedy.”
The Vulture interview continues:
To hear our source tell it, the main difference between the co-directors’ filmmaking style and Howard’s boiled down to efficiency. Where Lord and Miller would typically demand more than 30 takes of a given scene — seemingly unsure of what they wanted other than a delivery “different” from the last — Howard got the job done in no more than two or three takes. “Phil and Chris are good directors, but they weren’t prepared for Star Wars,” says our source. “After the 25th take, the actors are looking at each other like, ‘This is getting weird.’ [Lord and Miller] seemed a bit out of control. They definitely felt the pressure; with one of these movies, there are so many people on top of you all the time. The first assistant director was really experienced and had to step in to help them direct a lot of scenes.” (Joy Fehily, a spokesperson for Miller and Lord says: “This information is completely inaccurate,” but declined to cite specific inaccuracies. She also declined to make the directors available for an interview.)
And it took 80% of the film to be completed before Kathleen Kennedy figured this out? Were it just Lord & Miller that were let go, I might buy this. But given Lucasfilm’s track record with directors under Kathleen Kennedy, I don’t.
In addition to shooting dozens of takes, which slowed the pace of filming, the two failed to compel the desired performance from their leading man. In March 2017 the studio took the nearly unprecedented move of hiring an acting coach to help star Alden Ehrenreich more convincingly channel Ford’s swashbuckling affect in the original three Star Wars movies.
But who’s fault is that? Watching the following clip, Lord & Miller don’t look too pleased with being forced to take Kathleen Kennedy’s hand picked choice for the Han Solo role:
And if they were going to reshoot in part because of Alden’s poor performance, why not replace him? They did it with Back to the Future.
Heck, the biggest challenge the film faces is convincing people that the new actor is Han Solo. They had a Force Doppelganger of Harrison Ford in the way of Anthony Ingruber ready to go. The counterargument is that just because Ingruber could do a Ford impression, didn’t mean that he could act. But look where they ended up anyway with Alden if the rumors about acting coaches are to be believed?
I suspect that’s exactly what this interview with the anonymous actor is meant to make fans believe. Of course none of this matters, because people will still be able to see what Disney puts up on screen.
He also points out that the financial underperformance of the last Star Wars installment — which fell $200 million short of analysts’ predictions, according to The Wall Street Journal — has incentivized the studio to make the Force strong with this one. “They have to make [Solo] good after The Last Jedididn’t make as much money as expected,” he says. “If they want to keep making Star Wars movies, it has to be good.”
Really? Because we keep getting told how spectacular The Last Jedi did at the box office.
Chris Miller responds: