Harrison Ford, Billy Dee Williams acted as advisors for Solo: A Star Wars Story, actors

One of the challenges facing the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story is getting fans to embrace a new generation of actors in the iconic roles of Han Solo and Lando Calrissian.

Alden Ehrenreich will be playing the titular character of Han, while Donald Glover will don the cape as Lando.  It’s a tall task for both, but both men have received help, advice, and support from the original actors.

Entertainment Weekly’s Anthony Breznican last week had details on Harrison Ford’s involvement with the project, including his advice to Ehrenreich when they met: “Tell them I told you everything you needed to know, and that you can’t tell anyone.”  His point: just be you, and then tell them I told you how to do it.

What Ehrenreich shouldn’t and couldn’t do was just try to be Harrison Ford; he had to be Han Solo.  And it sounds like Harrison gave more advice than simply the above line regarding how to go about it.  “What [Ford] did so beautifully for Alden was he talked a lot about what he remembered when he first read Star Wars, and what George had done with Han,” Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy told EW.  “Who the character was and the conversations he had for so many years with George about how that character developed.  He gave Alden that kind of insight which was invaluable.  There were several times in the course of making the movie where Alden would actually recount some of the things that Harrison had pointed out.  I think that was really, really helpful to him.”

Harrison Ford at times tries to present himself as someone who doesn’t really care, and to an extent there’s probably some truth to it – he probably isn’t as bothered by someone picking up the role of Han Solo as some fans are – but at the same time he’s still invested in the character with whom he’s inextricably linked.  Ford was sent script of the film by Kennedy and gave his approval, and then when Ron Howard came on board as director this summer he too sought out the veteran actor’s advice.

“Harrison’s a very thoughtful actor and an artist, and I wanted to know what he learned about the character,” Howard told EW.  “He said that Han is always torn between that sense that he was, in a way, an orphan, and therefore both yearned for connection with people and struggled with it at the same time.  I thought that was pretty interesting.”

It’s smart to seek out advice from the person who has embodied one of the most iconic roles in film history for the past four decades spanning four films, and it’s really cool to see Harrison Ford willing to give it.  He’s not one to meddle in the process, but he’s willing to help out when asked.  I’m sure the Solo movie is much better off for having Harrison Ford as an advisor.

But it wasn’t just Ford offering advice; Billy Dee Williams helped Donald Glover get into the character of Lando Calrissian too.

“It was really, really relaxed,” Glover told EW of his meeting with Williams, who played Lando in two Star Wars films.  “He was great.  I mean, I had a lot of questions.  And then he just told me, just be charming.  And so, I was like, “Okay!”  I just kind of did that.  He said, “Just be interested in things.”  Lando has, I wouldn’t say eccentric, but eclectic tastes.  So I tried to work that into the role as much as possible.”

So the Solo movie has received help from Harrison Ford, Billy Dee Williams, and George Lucas.  Not bad.  It’s cool to see them helping the movie along, and it should give more reason for confidence in the movie and its actors.

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