Ironically, Alden Ehrenreich is quite unlike Harrison Ford.
For starters, he reveals a lot in interviews. In Esquire‘s May issue, for example, he addresses everything from directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller leaving Solo: A Star Wars Story at the end of production to rumors that his performance was so unwatchable he required an acting coach.
Lord and Miller left the project over “creative differences,” according to Lucasfilm, and neither has said much else about their eleventh hour exit. According to Ehrenreich, their unorthodox process “was yielding a different movie than the other factions wanted.” From the initial screen test, he said, “We played around with it a lot.” Ehrenreich insists he knew what he was doing, “but in terms of what that adds up to, you’re so in the dark as an actor. You don’t know what it’s shaping up to be, how they’re editing it, so it’s kind of impossible without having seen those things to know what the difference [of opinion] was or exactly what created those differences.”
Ehrenreich says the actors were basically at the “kids’ table” when the firings happened. To their credit, Lord and Miller had been open about their disagreements over the film’s direction. As the actor tells it, “You’re really kept out of all the backroom dynamics of what was going on.”
The actor insists he didn’t know they were leaving the film until it happened. “On a personal level, it felt emotional, for them to be going after we’d set out on that course together. Because I spent a lot of time with them, and we had a really good relationship—they also cast me. But I think at that point, they were kind of on board with [the decision], too,” Ehrenreich recalls. “Like, ‘This is what’s happening.’ That’s not what they said to me, but that was the vibe I got.”
Ehrenreich also denies a rumor that he personally voiced his concerns over Lord and Miller’s directing style to Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. In fact, he says, he couldn’t ever imagine making a complaint like that “unless people were being put in danger or something.”
Other published reports claimed Ehrenreich wrestled with how to mimic Ford, who originated the role of Han Solo in 1977. It got so bad, the reports intimated, that Lucasfilm brought in a coach: writer-director Maggie Kile. “She was part of conversations that happened for a couple weeks at one point,” Ehrenreich clarifies,” but that was basically it.” (Lord and Miller, who had worked with her before, corroborate that she was hired as a resource for everyone on the set.)
“Alden, remarkably, remained the person to beat from day one,” Miller says of auditioning hundreds of wannabe Hans. “We brought him in many times, pushed him, tried to test his range, and he was always up for it and brought something new, with a great sense of humor.”
As for the rumors about the crew bursting into applause upon learning Ron Howard had been hired? “That’s bulls–t,” Ehrenreich says. “For a crew to do that would mean they hated [Lord and Miller], which was not by any stretch the case.” Luckily, Ehrenreich says, Howard boosted their morale and got “everybody enthusiastic” about “what we’d already shot, because I think his feeling was that a lot of what we’d already done was really good.” His direction also gave them clarity. “He knew how to navigate a tricky situation,” he explains, “and almost from the first or second day everybody pretty quickly recharged and got excited again about the movie.”
Ehrenreich also tells Esquire he is contractually signed up for three movies—something Lucasfilm hadn’t announced. “I don’t know if that’s officially, uh, public,” he says. “But—yeah.”
For more from Ehrenreich, pick up the May issue of Esquire, on newsstands May 1.