Creative Freedom, Acting Coaches and Too Much Comedy Are the Highlights in New Deets About ‘Han Solo’ Set Drama
It was almost a week about we first heard the news about the firing of Phil Lord and Chris Miller from the next Star Wars Story film. They were the chosen ones meant to bring about a kick-ass origin adventure for a young Han Solo, not leave big doubts about what kind of movie we’re supposed to get next May. Details have been changing with great frequency on this story, but a picture has certainly started forming about where the breakdown between the directors, the producers, and even one cast member, began. Is it the whole story? Who can say, but what we might be able to say is that big budget franchise filmmaking might not be for everyone.
Courtesy of Entertainment Weekly was a confirmation that there was some disagreement on tone between Lord and Miller, and Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy. “Kennedy believed Lord and Miller were hired to add a comedic touch; Lord and Miller believed they were hired to make a comedy,” the story said. At the same time though there’s disagreement over where the disagreement lie. EW further said it wasn’t just about the comedy, but the how Lord and Miller were managing that comedy. The directors were leaning a lot on improvised takes, whereas Kennedy, and the film’s screenwriter, Lawrence Kasdan, wanted more fidelity to the script.
Improv was the sticking point according to another article on the matter in The Hollywood Reporter. While this story confirms that Kennedy and Kasdan were unhappy with the way work was progressing on the film, it sounds like Lord and Miller were equally unhappy. According to sources, the directors felt like they had “zero creative freedom” and that fostered some “deep fundamental philosophical differences” between the two camps. It also seemed like Lord and Miller tried for a compromise, first shooting a scene verbatim from the script, but then doing several more takes improvised and off the cuff. The result was that scenes took longer than expected to shoot, and scheduling delays are a good, swift way to set a movie as big as Star Wars off track.
Lord and Miller’s more fast and loose style ended up rubbing colleagues the wrong way. Said one source involved in the production: “You have to make decisions much earlier than what they’re used to. I don’t know if it’s because there were two of them but they were not decisive.” In the meantime, Lucasfilm started putting scenes together, looking at the daily footage and expecting between 12 and 15 different set-ups to be completed, and instead finding only three.
THR also reported that an acting coach was hired for Alden Ehrenreich after producers watched the footage and deciding that they didn’t like aspects of his performance as Han Solo, which is weird considering the long and arduous casting process to find the perfect young Han Solo. This is where a report from StarWarsNewsNet last week comes in, as someone in the piece described Ehrenreich’s acting as “oddly comparable to Jim Carrey’s performance in Ace Ventura at times.” That report also said that Ehrenreich was the proverbial canary in the coal mine on Lord/Miller, telling Lucasfilm that he was having a tough time working with his directors. Kennedy, upon further investigation of the footage, agreed.
In the meantime, Kasdan is back on set in London and ready to implement regime change in the director’s chair, while replacement director Ron Howard has begun preparations for shooting to resume on July 10. There were three more weeks of principal photography left in when Lord and Miller were fired, and Lucasfilm has added five more weeks for reshoots. Can Han Solo be saved? Stay tuned.
The untitled Han Solo Star Wars Story will be in theatres everywhere on May 25, 2018.