Woody Harrelson Talks ‘Han Solo’ Director Shakeup: ‘The Force Is Still Very Much With It’
Woody Harrelson is a pretty chill dude, so when he was recently asked about Ron Howard replacing Phil Lord and Chris Miller on the Han Solo spinoff, his response wasn’t particularly surprising: “I wouldn’t worry.” Of course he wouldn’t worry; he’s Woody Harrelson, a man who wears flip flops to film premieres and calls fellow mellow dude Matthew McConaughey his BFF.
Of course, there’s a little more to it than that. The Hollywood Reporter published an extensive profile on Harrelson, whose latest film, War for the Planet of the Apes, hits theaters this Friday. The piece is really interesting and well worth a read, particularly because it eschews the traditional interview format, letting Harrelson speak candidly on subjects ranging from his family background to his upcoming films — including the untitled Han Solo Star Wars spinoff, which recently underwent a fairly dramatic change behind the scenes when Lucasfilm replaced directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller with Ron Howard.
When asked about Lord and Miller’s firing, Harrelson said “Oh, man, I can’t talk about that, but I do love those guys.” Like most things Star Wars-related, production on the Han Solo spinoff remains fairly secretive. Says Harrelson:
Definitely [Star Wars] has more secrecy than anything ever. You get an e-reader; you don't get a script. They give it to you, and you give it back after you read it. But I was like, “I’ve got to be with my family, I got to go home.” I’d been home in Maui one week since November. But I met with [directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller] one night, and we hung out and we went over to Matthew Freud’s and played pingpong and just had a great time. They were really good guys. I’ve been enjoying it [since then], especially because we just went to [shoot at] the Dolomites in Italy. [Co-star] Thandie Newton said, “It’s like being at camp ’cause you got everybody together,” and we had a couple of epic parties.
In the Han Solo spinoff, Harrelson’s character plays mentor to a younger version of the titular hero (Alden Ehrenreich). According to the actor, he came pretty close to not appearing in the film at all:
I turned down Hunger Games twice. I didn't have any idea it would be that big, but I didn't think it was a good part. I was wrong. It was a terrific part, and it was a terrific thing, but thank God [director] Gary Ross called me. And [executive] Alli Shearmur, too. I turned [the Han Solo movie] down twice, too, and the same person, Alli, wouldn't take no for an answer.
As it turns out, Shearmur was also the one who informed Harrelson that Ron Howard would be replacing Lord and Miller — a move that caused quite a commotion in the media and elicited concern from fans. But Harrelson doesn’t think you have anything to worry about:
Alli gave me the word on [Ron Howard replacing the directors]. He's a wonderful guy. And we did shoot one day with him — we had to shoot because Thandie had to leave. We start again July 12. I think I read some stuff where people were worried about the fate of this movie. I wouldn't worry. The Force is still very much with it.
The Han Solo spinoff also stars Donald Glover, Emilia Clarke and Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and is (still) scheduled to hit theaters on May 25.