Solo: A Star Wars Story has been dogged by rumors of a troubled production since Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the film’s original directors, were axed from the film due to creative differences. Then Ron Howard came in to finish the remainder of the production. Interviews with the cast and crew tried to ease some of the concerns fans about upcoming Star Wars spin-off. And the trailer has garnered mixed reactions, at best.
Now there is a new report from the inside that is bringing back some very bad memories. An actor close to the production of Solo says there was plenty of drama with the directors, confirms that title star Alden Ehrenreich needed an acting coach, and how the reshoots may have helped the production but not the final cut of the film. More on the story below.
Vulture spoke to an unnamed actor who spent some time on the set of the film who was a “source [who] was in a prime position to observe the directors’ contrasting on-set modi operandi.” So it may sound credible, but that doesn’t make it any less gossipy. This source said the production was split into two parts: one disorganized and chaotic, the other controlled and efficient.
While The LEGO Movie directors are considered the best, their filmmaking style did not sit well with Lucasfilm. According to this source, it came down to efficiency — something Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy stated in an earlier interview. Their filmmaking style came into direct conflict with what the cast and other production crew were accustomed to. For instance, “Lord and Miller’s use of three cameras instead of the typical 12 to 15 that Lucasfilm is accustomed to was said to have slowed production and not give the crew many options in terms of angles and scenes.” The directors felt they were being given “zero creative freedom,” because of those “deep fundamental philosophical differences.”
However, word of the two slowing down production were anything but exaggerated. For example, where Lord and Miller took 30 takes for one shot, Howard only needed three. Having multiple takes is very common for a big budget production, especially one if you want to get the perfect shot. However, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing, and this caused problems for everyone on set:
“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.”
So when Howard came in, he seemed to have taken command of the set. Here’s what the actor said:
“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.”
While Howard may have been able to get what he wanted in just a few takes, one has to remember, that the director was crunched for time. By the time he came in, Lord and Miller had already completed most of the work and there were only a few more weeks left of principal photography left. Because of this, where would be a debate of who should earn the credit?
In regards to the reshoots and rewrites, it turns out there was very little of the latter. Unlike 2016’s Rogue One, where Tony Gilroy rewrote key portions of the script during the reshoots, even directing a critical scene, the anonymous Solo actor says they used the same script during the reshoots:
“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.”
Another concern about the film center on Ehrenreich’s acting. Details bought the film bringing in an acting coach to improve Ehrenreich’s performance and get the desired performance. The goal was to get the actor to be closer to Harrison Ford’s act.
“Lucasfilm wanted something very specific: copying someone else. Alden’s not a bad actor — just not good enough.”
While the camaraderie on set improved immensely after Howard came in, the actor says it’s unclear if it will be enough to prove the film will be a success. And because The Last Jedi underperformed at the box office, Solo has to be a hit because the future of Star Wars depends on it.
“They have to make [Solo] good after The Last Jedi didn’t make as much money as expected,” he says. “If they want to keep making Star Wars movies, it has to be good.”
Not sure how much of that is true given how many franchises and spinoffs they have announced. But we’ll just have to wait and see if Solo: A Star Wars Story is able to overcome these rumors of a troubled set.
Solo: A Star Wars Story opens in theaters on May 25, 2018.