Special thanks to Disney for flying me to Los Angeles for the Solo: A Star Wars Story Premiere
I’ve heard all kinds of things about Paul Bettany and how he interviews. Some have been favorable, others not so favorable. I really had no expectations for our interview with him, but I am his new biggest fan after sitting down at a long table interview session with him.
Why do I now love Paul Bettany? I’ve got a few reasons.
Keep reading to find out about his role as Dryden Vos in “Solo: A Star Wars Story” and all the reasons I think he’s possibly one of the best parents on the planet.
When Paul Bettany came into the room, he complimented us as being lovely people then explained why he has a picture of his wife as a youngster on the lock screen of his phone.
You see this? I have a picture of my wife when she was four on my phone so that when she’s really annoying I can look at it and go WHEW! When she’s shouting at me.
Andrew from “Mommy’s Busy” asked how often he looks at it and his response was “Well, I just looked at it.” which caused genuine laughter from everyone in the room. Paul and Jennifer Connelly have been married for 15 years this year. It was refreshing to hear his coping technique while he’s on the road and she’s packing up the house to move.
Poor thing, we’re in the process of moving right now and I’ve been doing back to back press tours so she’s super happy at me. She’s SO glad that I’m in Los Angeles and not actually packing up tea chests.
Quite frankly, I’d be causing my husband to activate his coping mechanism if he was traveling while we were moving too.
Oh wait, that’s happened before.
I loved how he admitted to being in awe of being in a Star Wars movie.
“There were many moments when I went, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m in a Star Wars movie.’
I think because Ron and I were newcomers on the block, everybody else had been there for several months, we were totally unjaded by it. I kept elbowing him saying ‘We’re making a Star Wars movie!’
My first day, I was on my starship coming down the spiral staircase in a super chic asymmetric cloak and an R2 Unit went by me with champagne flutes on it and I went ‘Fuuuuuuuuuu!!’ That was amazing.
When Paul heard that his friend Ron Howard was directing “Solo: A Star Wars Story”, he sent what he refers to as an embarrassing text to Ron.
In 1977, I saw Star Wars at 6 years old. It took me out of a grey, miserable 1970s London. Being taken away to that universe was amazing.
Now that I’m in Avengers, I thought there was no way I would be asked to be in Star Wars – UNLESS – Ron Howard becomes the director, and that happened!
So I text him and I said:
Hey Ron, have you ever spent long, wintry evenings like I have wondering why you’re not in the Star Wars franchise?
He said, “LOL Give me a moment” and two weeks later I was flying to London to shoot.
Then Paul said, “If you don’t ask…”
Which I really needed to hear at the time, and right now if I’m being honest. I have a hard time asking for that which I need or want, and I’m not very good at putting my needs or wants out into the universe. Hearing a great actor say that was impactful to me.
I was shocked to find out that all of Dryden Vos’ makeup was CGI so Paul Bettany spent virtually no time in hair and makeup on set.
Paul became emotional when he talked about Ron Howard and likened him to family. Hearing that working with him, watching his success was one of his favorite parts of being on the film was another touching moment in the interview.
Ron is as close to family as you get in this business. He has put his hand out and helped me out so many times, I can’t tell you. Seeing him be so accomplished and so welcomed in what could have potentially been a very tricky situation for him. He is just a fine, fine director and also amazingly inclusive and genuinely interested in everyone’s opinions about how things should be.
But then he had to bring his children into it and my heart melted for him even more.
Bringing my children onto set and taking them onto the Millennium Falcon. I was like a tour guide. I was in London so I kept inviting my friends and their children onto the Falcon.
It was *AMAZING* seeing their faces when they’re on the Falcon. It’s just phenomenal.
And when he talked about the thing he was most proud of with his kids, I looked around the room to see if any of us could relate. What he said should be something we all relate to, yet so many of us do so much for our children and spoil them and give them all the desires of our heart.
But not Paul Bettany. He might be a better parent than most of us sitting in that room.
The thing I’m most proud of with my kids is that they always say ‘please and thank you’. There is no separation between children and adults in our lives in terms of going to a restaurant or in public. They’re with us. Their time spent on devices is very limited. They are not allowed devices in a restaurant. They have to ask questions and be engaged with other people. What I notice about my kids is that they have a confidence in them that I feel I really lacked.
I might be strict with them, and I have been about certain things such as parties as they were growing up, but deep down inside they appear to know that they’re excellent company, that they’re just good people.
I might be pissed and we might be having a problem, but they know how loved they are and how lovable they are.
It surprised me to find out that Paul Bettany flies coach when he flies with his kids and that he has gone out of his way to raise children who are aware of their privilege.
When we fly together, we fly in coach.
My son made a comment about the seats in First Class one time and I moved him to the back of the plane. You might see me in coach. I’ll be the one with the scarf around my face.
My kids are really aware of their privilege. I’m not willing to raise one of those children. I want them to know how rare this situation is and to prepare them for a life in which they can hopefully give back in the way that we’ve all received.
These are conversations that, as a majority, we just don’t have with our children, and we are just the middle or upper-middle class! I live in a very affluent area but my family and I are solidly middle class for a family of five.
Sometimes I hear the things my children say and I can’t believe the words that have just come out of their mouths. The amount of things they possess is unreal. Here I am, a middle class woman raising entitled children while a Hollywood star refuses to raise his very privileged children that way.
After hearing Paul talk about being a parent and how he does things, I gained a great respect for him. I’ve paid more attention to the way I’m speaking to my children. I’ve spent more time looking them in the eye when they speak to me. I’m still failing on the whole limiting electronics thing, but I’m doing better.
I have a son leaving me for college in one year.
Does he know how loved he is? How lovable he is? Does he know that he’s great company and have a confidence I lacked as a teenager?
I’m not sure.
But I do know one thing. After talking to Paul Bettany, I’ll spend the next year making sure he knows before he goes off to college. And I’ll spend the rest of my little’s lives at home helping them realize the same things.