We are less than two months away from the opening of Solo: A Star Wars Story, nine months removed from the announcement that directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired from the film, and now an unnamed actor from the film has opened up and gave their first-hand account of production leading up to the firing in addition to a general perspective from the cast and crew of the film in response to the events and change in director.
The unidentified male actor spoke with Vulture, and according to them, while the actor wasn’t a major cast member, he had a front row seat for everything:
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.
WHY LORD AND MILLER WERE FIRED
The actor paints a picture that make Lord and Miller appear as though they were in way over their heads taking on this project. Typically known for creating underdog success stories, namely The Lego Movie, and the ‘Jump Street’ films, it appears the duo weren’t “prepared” for a juggernaut like a Star Wars film. Rumors of the pair filming dozens upon dozens of borderline improvisational based takes of scenes caused a lot of tension and unease on set, and the decision to bring in Ron Howard was to establish a sense of calm and control, not necessarily a knee-jerk reaction, but a necessary reaction nonetheless.
“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.”
Lord and Miller’s representative claim this is completely inaccurate, but what do you expect someone’s representative to say?
RON HOWARD’S IMPACT
Back in October we were told by a source of our own that Ron Howard re-shot nearly 80 percent or more of the film which we broke on our official podcast The Resistance Broadcast:
Now this inside source essentially confirms this, and adds that a majority of it was re-done at a place very familiar to Star Wars films:
According to our insider, the director reshot a majority of Solo at London’s Pinewood Studios, and is now in post-production on the Disney studio lot in Burbank.
The sense of calm that someone like Ron Howard brings was apparently felt immediately by the cast and crew:
“When he came on, he took control and you could feel it,” the actor says. “He got respect immediately. He’s really confident. A really easy guy to work with.”
THE SCRIPT REMAINS THE SAME
A surprise to nobody is the fact that Ron Howard went right back to the script created by longtime Star Wars scribe Lawrence Kasdan and his son Jon. It was rumored last year the straw that may have broken the camel’s back was Lawrence Kasdan’s frustration that Lord and Miller kept deviating from the pages, offering suggestions for new improvisational based takes. Once the directors were jettisoned, there was no need for any Rogue One type of re-writes, the script was never the problem, as we all already assumed:
“It’s exactly the same script. They’re filming exactly the same things. There’s nothing new,” says the actor, adding: “[Lord and Miller] used whole sets. But Ron is just using parts from those sets. I guess they’re not shooting wide angle. Maybe to save money.”
The source admits he never saw Kathleen Kennedy openly butt heads with Lord and Miller, but that unease over what was being captured on film began as early as one month into production and the rumor that an acting coach was brought in to help Alden Ehrenreich channel Harrison Ford’s “affect” as Solo turned out to be true.
“Trying to mimic Harrison Ford is really tough. Lucasfilm wanted something very specific: copying someone else. Alden’s not a bad actor — just not good enough. You could see his acting became more relaxed. He became more Harrison-like. The coach helped!”
The source admits that despite all of this, including the improvement of the atmosphere and production once Howard came on, what matters is the finished product. We are 60 days away from arguably the most tumultuous Star Wars production ever hitting theaters. All accounts over the past year seem to point to Kathleen Kennedy replacing Lord and Miller with Ron Howard as a good move, and this unnamed actor seems to confirm that.
NEVER TELL THEM THE ODDS
Han Solo – the character was never a sure thing, often unpredictable and an underdog in his own right. Perhaps like the character, Solo: A Star Wars Story wants you to never tell it the odds as it has established itself as its own surprising underdog story, which is nearly impossible to imagine considering it is a Star Wars film produced under the Disney umbrella. But here we are, after a whirlwind of production drama from Fuerteventura to final cut, and somehow a Star Wars movie in 2018 may have become the franchise’s biggest underdog since the original 1977 film, and we’re rooting for it.
“For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is.”
Director Chris Miller posted a brief message on Twitter suggesting that not everything in Vulture’s report might be correct, but this is understandable in such reports, especially when they come from anonymous sources.
Maybe don’t believe everything you read
— Chris Miller (@chrizmillr) March 27, 2018