Monday, June 26, 2017

New Details Emerge About What Caused the Directors Change on the Han Solo Film

By: Dominic Jones

The news that Phil Lord and Chris Miller had left the young Han Solo film they had been working on since 2015, and shooting since January, and that would be replaced by Academy Award winner Ron Howard has dominated the Star Wars news cycle over the past week.  Ever since Lord and Miller's shocking dismissal was announced Tuesday night, there have been questions about what exactly went down.  While we'll likely never know all the exact details about what happened, it all seems to stem from disagreements between Lord and Miller and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and co-screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan.

Now, The Hollywood Reporter has more insight into what went down.  According to THR's sources, Kennedy and Kasdan were unhappy with the way Lord and Miller were shooting the film.  Apparently, Kennedy was less that pleased that Lord and Miller, "used only three different setups — that is, three variations on camera placement — as opposed to the 12 to 15 that Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy had expected, according to sources with knowledge of the situation. Not only was the going slow, but the few angles that had been shot did not provide a wealth of options to use in editing the movie."

For his part Kasdan was unhappy with the amount of improv Lord and Miller were doing with his script.  A source told THR,

"They collaborate closely with their actors and give them creative freedom that, in their experience, brings out the actors' best performances. Lawrence Kasdan would not allow this and demanded that every line was said word for word. To appease him and the studio, Lord and Miller would do several takes exactly as written and then shoot additional takes."

All this led to Lord and Miller having, what the source described as "zero creative freedom" on the film.
But it wasn't just Kasdan who objected to Lord and Miller's improvisational style.  THR reports that the amount of improv Lord and Miller were doing led to some crew members, including department heads, to complain about the directors indecisiveness.

But it seems that directorial style wasn't the only issue that plagued the filming of the young Han Solo film.  Perhaps in an attempt to better control which shots would be used in the final edit of the film, Lucasfilm fired editor Chris Dickens and replaced him with Pietro Scalia.  On top of that Alden Ehrenreich's performance as Han Solo apparently wasn't living up to Lucasfilm's exceptions so an acting coach was hired for him.  (THR notes that, "Hiring a coach is not unusual; hiring one that late in production is").

For his part, Ron Howard was very cautious about stepping on Lord and Miller's toes when he took the job.  According to THR, "Insiders say he was concerned about how Lord and Miller would react and has been emailing with them; another source says the two have been 'very supportive, very elegant.'"  Howard is expected to arrive in London today to begin reviewing what Lord and Miller have shot, with production slated to resume on July 10th and finish in the first week of September.  How much he actually needs to reshoot is up in the air, as what Lord and Miller shot was described as being "very usable."

It sounds like there was a lot more tension on the set of the Han Solo film than Lucasfilm would like us to believe.  Obviously so, seeing as Kennedy took the almost unprecedented step of removing Lord and Miller from the project.  It will be interesting to see how things eventually play and what kind on influence Ron Howard will have on the final film.

The untitled young Han Solo film is slated to hit theaters on May 25th, 2018 and stars Alden Ehrenreich (Hail Caesar!) as Han Solo, Donald Glover (Atlanta) as Lando Calrissian, Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones), Woody Harrelson (True Detective) as Beckett, Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag), Thandie Newton (Westworld), and Michael K. Williams (The Wire).  The film is directed by Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind), with a script by Lawrence Kasdan (The Empire Strikes Back) and his son Jon Kasdan (The First Time).

Follow The Star Wars Underworld on Twitter @TheSWU for more updates about this story and other breaking Star Wars news.


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