Thank you to Disney for sending me to LA for the Solo: A Star Wars Story premiere
I was one of the many people skeptical about Alden Ehrenreich being cast as Han Solo in “Solo: A Star Wars Story”.
It’s hard to imagine anyone but the rugged Harrison Ford taking on the role of a young Han, but that would require too much CGI. Naturally, a younger man should have been, and was, cast for the role. Alden is handsome, his face comes with all the right angles, but he’s almost too pretty, too NOT Han. I couldn’t see him taking on that cocky, crooked smile, “I know” attitude.
And he didn’t.
Because “Solo” is about Han becoming Han Solo. There is so much depth to the character in the original films, and this film covers Han from late youth then follows him on a journey that answers so many questions about why he is the way he is.
Alden Ehrenreich surprised me in this film. I don’t know why, I’ve never seen any of his other films so I had nothing to base my skepticism on. Turns out, he’s a great actor. I loved seeing Alden turn a hopeful scoundrel like youthful Han into the cocksure Han Solo we all know and love.
What sealed the deal was our trip to Griffith Observatory.
I know that’s weird, just bear with me.
I walked away from my group to take some photos while we were checking out the foggy LA skyline. A lovely, older, blonde woman asked me to take her large family’s picture with the skyline in the background.
She asked if I was from Los Angeles or if I was visiting then shared with me that her daughter was visiting from Israel.
I took their picture from a few different angles, handed her phone back, and meant to be on my way, but she stopped me and said,
You’ve been so nice, I’m going to tell you why my daughter is visiting from Israel. Have you heard of a little movie called “Solo”?
To which I replied, “Yes, I was at the premiere last night!” She shouted,
NO WAY! SO WERE WE! I’M HAN SOLO’S MOM!
The whole family was kind of shocked, as was I. She asked how I liked the film and I told her I was very pleasantly surprised. She expressed her concern with the amount of skepticism surrounding her son being cast as Han and I admitted I had been one of those people. I then reassured her that I loved Alden’s version of Han and that he did a superb job of showing the growth of Han through the movie.
She shared how Alden went to NYU to pursue a degree in acting but decided he wanted a more well-rounded education and decided to get a degree in something else. His mom gushed about how humble and sweet he is and how he’s just a really good guy. She may have said kid, but he’s a man, let’s be honest.
I couldn’t miss the opportunity to have my photo taken with the entire Ehrenreich family. I’m now an honorary member!
Here are some of my favorite quotes from our interview with Alden Ehrenreich that prove he’s just a guy, a great actor, and a true family man.
When Alden walked into the room for his interview with us, his first question was,
“So how many of you met my mom?”
A few of us wound up connecting with her, but yeah – me!
He talked about how his nieces and nephews are in town and went to the premiere.
“They all came to the premiere and had probably the most memorable night of their lives. They were so thrilled. They stayed up late with iPhones trying to film their own Star Wars movies with lightsabers and stuff. It was really cute.
Just before our interview with him, Harrison Ford had walked up behind Alden in an Entertainment Tonight interview, scaring the “@#!+” out of him. No seriously, he said that word.
Hearing Harrison Ford say that the film was spectacular, that Alden was so smart about what he did and how he did it really was the cherry on top.
But it also stunned Alden so much that he had to pause our interview to apologize for the daze he was in.
I have to excuse myself, I’m in a bit of a daze because [Harrison Ford] I was just in an interview and he came up behind me and was just wonderful. I hadn’t talked to him since I met with him before we shot.
Something that was really important to me was making it feel like a real person going through something, and that you could feel a continuity that he could grow into “that guy”.
I watched all of the original movies and tried to absorb as much as I could so that when it came time to do it, I didn’t have to think much about it.
He then pointed to me and told me he liked my T-shirt. Seriously, that happened.
And I don’t blame him, it’s a pretty dope shirt.
On sitting in the Millennium Falcon
Sitting in the pilot seat of the Millennium Falcon the first time was one of the best parts about the shoot.
It’s really fun and you can’t believe you’re there and it’s really surreal.
Then about two months in, you’re in there every day and you realize you know what button does what, what the yoke feels like, and you know how the chair sits, and you feel like it’s yours.
On the pressure of coming into a film like Star Wars with such a rabid fanbase
The only recourse you have is to concentrate on what you have control over which is A: Not very much, and there’s no B. You concentrate on your character and the task at hand and your job that you have to concentrate on. That’s all you can do. You pour your energy into that.
On finding out he got the part as Han in” Solo: A Star Wars Story”
My mind was blown when I got the part. It was so thrilling and so exciting, but I wasn’t allowed to tell anybody. But, you know, I did tell my family. I went to the beach to celebrate and walked around. I found myself at the Santa Monica Pier, so I thought ‘I guess I’m here, I should go on a ride so I rode a rollercoaster by myself.’
On what he thinks fans will love about “Solo”
It’s almost like a biopic of a fictional character, so you get to watch these things that you are familiar with and love come into place, and how they all add up to making him the Han that we see later on. That means so much to people and is so fun. and the humor and playfulness of it is so great.
I have to agree with him. Watching Alden become Han Solo was my favorite aspect of the movie.
On how his family keeps him grounded
They don’t! They’re too excited, too crazy about it.
Which was evidenced by the fact that his mom just couldn’t wait to tell me who her son was when I took their photo at Griffith Observatory. She had shared with me that they had an after-after party at their house after the premiere, so I wanted to know more about that from Alden.
It was all my friends and family. We had some drinks and sat outside and it was really lovely. I’m going to start doing that more.
Are you gushing yet? Just wait.
On how he dealt with the pressure of becoming Han Solo
You try to identify what you have control over and concentrate on your work. I’ve treated the whole experience like a great exercise on learning in a very high stakes situation how to navigate what weight you give to the opinions of other people, and how much you try to listen to yourself. It’s a great challenge to navigate that and that has been really rewarding to me because you have to, or you’ll lose it.
I feel like Alden Eldenreich is a grounded, exceptionally talented actor that did an out of this galaxy job playing the role of young Han Solo. His interview with us proved everything is mom said to me to be true.
Now I feel like I have to go watch all of his films!
Check out my spoiler-free Solo: A Star Wars Story review and make sure you go see the movie on May 25 when it hits theatres nationwide!