Was it scary to take on the responsibility of directing a Star Wars film? What would little Opie Taylor think of the Millennium Falcon landing in Mayberry? Today’s exclusive interview is with Ron Howard, Director of SOLO: A Star Wars Story!
I was invited as media to cover this event. All opinions are my own.
Ron Howard Director Interview
We clapped and cheered as Ron Howard entered the room. Even though he’s been in this business his whole life, he still has a way about him…he’s humble, kind, and genuine. While sitting at a table with 25 bloggers (24 of those being women) he took time to answer our questions. During our interview with Emilia Clarke, she mentioned how amazing it was to work with Ron, specifically saying, “he made us feel heard, which in a movie of this scale is so impressive.” I couldn’t agree more. Ron would look us in the eye and respond with such sincerity. I felt like we were old friends catching up over coffee.
SOLO: A Star Wars Story is Ron Howard’s first film he’s directed in the Star Wars franchise.
When asked what was the scariest part of taking on Star Wars, Ron shared, “I think just the responsibility of the cast, especially, Alden Ehrenreich. It’s such a daunting challenge. I knew that there would be a lot of judgement surrounding him and his performance. But he’s such a cool customer. And he wore the responsibility very well.”
Did you have to walk a fine line of Harrison Ford’s Han Solo in creating a new younger version with Alden?
“It was all about taking inspiration from Harrison. I think Alden thought a little bit about the body language and that’s a sort of subtle link you can create for the characters. But you also have Larry Kasdan who has written for the iconic Han Solo played by Harrison so many times. That phrasing, those rhythms, it was there for Alden to develop. And so it was kind of not only right for the character but sort of familiar for audiences.”
So can you tell us about when you got the phone call (for SOLO)?
Well, it really came out of a conversation that I was having with Kathy Kennedy. It was just a scheduled breakfast appointment that I had with her. I was in London meeting with other writers (for some other projects). And at the of breakfast, she asked if Larry Kasden could come. He’s in town. She didn’t tell me why. And when I got there, John Kasden was there as well. And I thought I wonder what they wanna talk about? It just sort of came out that they were in this crisis with the young Han Solo movie.” He spoke about being flattered and urging them to reconsider, but that they had already made the decision. So he read over the script, mentioning, “it answered the questions of what young Han Solo’s life experiences might be that would shape him, form him, push him toward that iconic figure that we would know later.” Along with the fantastic cast, and some discussions with his wife, he decided to accept.
Ron shared this tidbit about Paul Bettany being cast as Dryden Vos after the producers wanted to make some changes. “Michael K. Williams, who was cast in the role that Paul Bettany ultimately played, [and producers wanted to] change the design of that entire sequence. I agreed and it meant a hundred percent reshoot and a rethink of the character that Williams is playing. And he wasn’t available. I turned to Paul Bettany who I’ve directed in Da Vinci Code and Beautiful Mind. And he’s so versatile and so creative. And he brought a lot to this Dryden Vos character.”
What do you think that little Opie Taylor would think of the Millennium Falcon landing in Mayberry?
Ron is Opie’s voice said, “well, I think he’d probably say, gee Pa, can I take a ride?” We broke out in laughter. It was such a sweet moment!
When Han Solo dies in THE FORCE AWAKENS, how did that affect how you directed this film?
“Well, I thought it was very powerful in that movie. And it also reflected the kind of complexity, the thematic ideas that I think give the Star Wars movies their lasting value. It’s fun. It’s playful. It’s exciting. But it also has these themes that, that are complicated and run deep, you know? And in its own playful way, I think Solo asks some of those questions.” Adding, “this is a story about young people who are really on a
quest for their freedom. And they’re struggling for that. And in very difficult oppressive times. And a really challenging corner of the galaxy. I think sort of knowing the outcome gives the story of young Han Solo even more power and more weight.”
I hope you enjoyed this interview with Director Ron Howard! We certainly did and it will be a memory I treasure, always. Star Wars fans are going to love this film! Read my no-spoiler review here.
Get ready for SOLO: A Star Wars Story in theaters May 25th!