Coming off the heels of another blockbuster hit in Marvel’s Avengers Infinity War, Paul Bettany sits down to discuss his role in the upcoming Star Wars film. Hear why Paul begged to be in SOLO: A Star Wars Story, plus his thoughts on Director Ron Howard, and much more in this exclusive Paul Bettany interview!
I was invited as media to cover this event. All opinions are my own.
Paul Bettany Interview
Paul walks into the room with his phone in hand. He says, “see this, I have a picture of my wife when she was four on my phone so that when she’s really annoying I look at it go, whoo.” He’s referring to the fact that they’re in the process of moving, but he’s been traveling back to back press tours for Avengers Infinity War and now SOLO. He insinuates that she’s not very happy with him at the moment and we can certainly understand why. What I love about Paul (because I’ve interviewed him once before) is that he’s real, honest, and sincere. You’ll see what I mean – just keep reading!
You said before the Star Wars changed your world as a child. Was there a moment for you on set when you kind of went, oh, my gosh, I’m in a Star Wars movie?
“Oh, yeah, there were many moments…I think because Ron and I were newcomers on the block. Everyone else had been in there for eight months (read more on that during our interview with Ron Howard). And we were still totally un-jaded by it. And I kept elbowing him and saying, we’re making a Star Wars movie. We’re making a Star Wars movie!” Adding, “And my first day in fact, was I was on my starship and I was coming down the spiral staircase and a super chic asymmetric cloak and an R2 unit went by me with champagne flutes on and I went &*!# I’m in Star Wars. And that was amazing, yeah.”
How did you become involved in the project?
“This is a hugely embarrassing story which I shouldn’t tell you but I’ve got to tell you anyway. I heard that my old mate, Ron, was doing it and in 1977 I saw Star Wars. So, like, I was six years old and it took me out of the gray, miserable 1970’s London. It was just to be taken away to that universe and it was amazing. But now I’m in the Avengers so I think there’s no way I’m ever going to be asked to be in Star Wars. Unless, Ron Howard becomes the director. And that happened. And so, I literally texted him this, I said, hey, Ron, have you ever spent long winter evenings, like I have wondering why you’re not in the Star Wars franchise? And that’s a true story.” Two weeks later Paul was flying to London to shoot for the role of Dryden.
Is it hard jumping from being a superhero to a villain?
“No. I know Vision very well. But there were times when literally, the makeup crew on Star Wars were finding bits of purple still on me from playing Vision. Can I tell you, the amount of work it takes to get that stuff off…”
Here’s an interesting fact – Paul doesn’t have to wear any makeup for the film, much unlike his role as Vision in Avengers. He clarifies that it’s all CG and done post shooting.
Paul wasn’t afraid to share raw emotion when speaking of his good pal, Ron Howard. He shared, “Ron is as close to family as you get in this business. He’s put his hand out and helped me out so many times I can’t tell you. And seeing him be so accomplished and so welcomed and what could potentially have been a very tricky situation for him, and his ability with staging, he’s just a fine, fine director. And also, amazingly inclusive and genuinely interested in everybody’s opinions about how things should be. That’s not to say that he doesn’t have his own vision. He’s just so confident that he is able to be really open and collaborative. I think that’s a sign of a really strong leader is when they’re listening. So, that was beautiful.”
Another topic that was emotional for Paul was speaking about his kids. He told us, “I think the thing I’m most proud of with my kids is that they always say please and thank you. I have taught them there is no separation between children and adults in our lives in terms of like going to a restaurant or they’re with us. Their time spent on devices is really limited. They are not allowed devices in a restaurant. They have to ask questions and they have to be engaged with other people. And we have as much as we can try to inoculate them from all of the slightly weird and odd things that can happen having parents that do what we do.” He also explained that his family flies coach. He wants to make sure they stay grounded.
When asked if his kids preferred Star Wars to Avengers, he said it’s right down the middle. They can’t pick a side! After all, “Avengers have kept us all in shoes for the last…I don’t know. We’re really feeling how privileged and blessed we all are at the moment. And it’s been an amazing ride.” I hope you enjoyed this Paul Bettany interview as much as I did!
Get ready for SOLO: A Star Wars Story in theaters May 25th!