If, as the head of Lucasfilm marketing, I’d been recently ordered to come up with a title for Ron Howard, Kathy Kennedy, Phil Lord and Chris Miller‘s Han Solo film, I would have left work early on Friday. The idea would have been to withdraw from the hurly burly and think long and hard. I would make myself a pot of green tea, shut off all electronic devices, put on a Japanese robe and sandals and take long walks through the woods and along the beach.
“What to call it?,” I would ask myself over and over. “Yes, a three-year-old would have suggested Solo, and yes, I understand how the simplest approach can sometimes be the best one. But I wouldn’t want to adopt a lazy attitude. I’d want the title to be a pure and poetically perfect distillation of the Han Solo mythology.”
The answer might have hit me immediately or it might have taken all weekend, but by Sunday night my decision would be firm — Solo: A Stars Wars Tale.
“It was my reaction to Alden Ehrenreich‘s performance in Alexandre Moors‘ The Yellow Birds, which I saw at last January’s Sundance Film Festival, that convinced me he won’t be a good Solo. Aldenriech just doesn’t have that presence, that Harrison Ford cock-of-the-walk cool. There’s just something about Ehrenreich that feels guarded and clenched.”
Posted on 1.22.17: “Where In The Valley of Elah had the great Tommy Lee Jones and Charlize Theron butting heads while looking into the stateside death of Jones’ son, The Yellow Birds mostly just wades into the frosty expressions and general lethargy of Ehrenreich’s Bartie — a guy I had zero interest in and didn’t want to hang out with.
“The reason is Ehrenreich himself. He simply lacks that X-factor magnetism that popular lead actors all have. Charming as he was in Hail Caesar!, this beady-eyed fellow doesn’t have ‘it’ — he’s always wearing the same sullen, hiding-out, stone-faced expression, no matter what kind of situation or character he’s playing. He never lifted off the ground or stepped out of bounds in Rules Don’t Apply. I’ll be seriously surprised if he turns out to be a great Han Solo as that Harrison Ford sexy-rogue quality just isn’t in him.”
Don’t forget that 6.26.17 piece by The Hollywood Reporter‘s Kim Masters, which reported that Lucasfilm was “not entirely satisfied” with the performance they were getting from Ehrenreich,” and so they “decided to bring in an acting coach. (Hiring a coach is not unusual; hiring one that late in production is.) Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller suggested writer-director Maggie Kiley, who had worked with them on 21 Jump Street.”
Alden Ehrenreich and Untitled Han Solo Film costars (including Woody Harrelson) in recently posted set photo.
Another question: “Why did producer Kathy Kennedy wait four and a half months to cut Lord and Miller loose with the film having begun shooting in late January or thereabouts? What does it say about Kennedy’s hiring instincts that she chose a couple of guys whom she so disagreed with that ‘she didn’t even like the way they folded their socks,’ according to Brent Lang‘s Variety story?
“Kennedy, no doubt looking to shoot and construct the film along familiar lines, said in a recent statement that ‘it’s become clear that we had different creative visions on this film, and we’ve decided to part ways.’
“This conflict wasn’t apparent to Kennedy after three or four weeks of principal photography? Or after several weeks of it? I don’t know the backstory but what kind of producer needs four and a half months to assess a flawed situation and then finally do something about it with filming two-thirds completed?”