You can see it in his eyes.
There’s something there that tells you Alden Ehrenreich is wise beyond his years. He devours books, is incredibly humble, and easily gets star-struck just like you or I. In fact, there’s not much upon first glance that Alden Ehrenreich has in common with the legendary Han Solo, except his wavy brown hair and dashing good looks.
Or is there?
On the big screen Alden Ehrenreich takes on one of the best-known (and much-loved) scoundrels in movie history, Han Solo. Of course, we know the story – Solo doesn’t end up a scoundrel (though I’m sure General Organa, aka Princess Leia, might disagree at times), but a hero we root for from the cheap seats.
But how did it all start? Was Han from the get-go a ruthless smuggler, always in it for himself? Not likely, as any good storyteller knows. This is what we discover in SOLO: A Star Wars Story. And this is why you must see it.
(Disney invited me to California on an all-expenses paid trip, in exchange for our coverage of events. As always, all opinions are my own.)
Alden Ehrenreich Interview
It’s been a mere 5 days since I sat in a large room waiting for Alden Ehrenreich to walk in for our interview.
25 bloggers, 1 Han Solo in the building. Oh wait, there actually were 2 Han Solo’s in the building, but more on that later (WHOA!).
The excitement was building as we had just finished interviewing Emilia Clarke (Qi’ra), and couldn’t wait to interview the man of the hour. Young Han Solo.
But there was something a few of us in the room knew. Something extra special that had happened the day before.
When Alden Ehrenreich walked in the room to new fans and loud applause, he smiled and acknowledged that he too knew that special something.
Alden began, “So, how many of you met my mom?”
I slowly raised my hand with a smile.
The day before, our group ventured up in the Hollywood Hills to the famous landmark and tourist attraction, the Griffith Observatory.
We broke off and explored the grounds, shopped at the gift shop, and took hundreds of photographs. It was a gorgeous location for pictures, with the Los Angeles skyline in one direction and the famed Hollywood sign in another.
It was there, with the Hollywood sign in the background, where my friend Summer was asked to take a photo of a family. A big family. Two grandparents, older children, and plenty of grandchildren running about. After the picture was taken, that’s when I took notice. Something special was happening.
This was Alden Ehrenreich’s family.
Though Alden was not there (I can imagine he was extra busy this week), extended family was in town and doing a little sightseeing after supporting him the night before at the SOLO premiere.
Of all the people at the Observatory she could have asked to take a photo, Alden’s mom found our group, the same group who would be interviewing her son the next day.
And just like any mom, she was beaming with pride about her son. Just look at her smile.
It was in these few moments, with Alden’s mom, when I caught a glimpse of Alden Ehrenreich the person. Not the actor. Not the best version of him in an interview. The real deal.
Your family doesn’t define you, but how you interact with your family does.
And I can tell you this, after all the glamour and fuss of the red carpet, after all the excitement of the movie premiere, and even after the high of the after-party just steps away from Luke Skywalker (yes, Mark Hamill), Alden Ehrenreich went to his parents house to celebrate.
Best friends were waiting for him. Nieces and nephews were creating Star Wars movies with light sabers on an iphone.
That speaks volumes.
In the interview, I had to ask him, “How does your family keep you grounded?”.
He quickly jumped in with a bit of a laugh, wanting to answer before I was able to finish.
Alden said, “They don’t!” It’s clear his family is too excited to let him forget what universe he is now forever a part of, but I believe he is an unusually grounded Hollywood actor. It’s refreshing. And I think a big part of that is his family.
Can you imagine landing perhaps the biggest role in Hollywood but not being able to tell a soul? That’s what Ehrenreich was charged with (though he confesses he might have told his family, including his nana).
But he couldn’t tell his friends and he most certainly couldn’t shout it out.
So what does Alden do to celebrate?
He headed to the Santa Monica Pier!
He enjoyed the beach for a bit and rode a rollercoaster all by himself.
It appears as if Ehrenreich was perfectly content being alone, I mean SOLO, while celebrating his role.
Ehrenreich admits there was a considerable amount of pressure with this role because of the enormity of Star Wars. I loved his outlook though, in that he said it’s the same pressure as with any movie – you want people to really like it.
And we do like it. Here’s why –> No-Spoiler SOLO Movie Review
I think Alden Ehrenreich nailed it on the head when he said this (and it’s advice we should all remember ourselves):
“I treated the whole experience like a great exercise in learning – in a very high stakes, very big situation. How to navigate how much you care about, what weight you give to the opinions and thoughts of other people and how much you try to listen to yourself.”
It’s clear that Alden Ehrenreich is a little bit like us. Why? He gets all the feels while first sitting in the Millenium Falcon (we totally would too)! It was a surreal experience for him, until about 2 months in, when he knew what each button does, and how the seat moves. He felt like it was his. THAT must be something!
On Harrison Ford
When asked early on in the interview, “How much of it is Harrison Ford and how much of it is your own?”, Alden had to take a moment.
Something was clearly on his mind and I had an inkling of what that might be – Harrison Ford!
Alden went on to say, “Well before I answer that, I just have to sort of excuse myself, because I’m in sort of a daze, because I was just doing an interview and he came up behind me and it was just
wonderful. And I haven’t talked to him since I met with him for lunch before we shot.”
It seems young Han was just as star-struck as you or I would have been.
See what happened just down the hallway from where I was sitting. Yes, 2 Han Solo’s in the house:
From playing video games with Joonas Suotamo “Chewbacca” to eating baked goods that Emilia Clarke (Qi’ra) brought every week, it’s clear Alden Ehrenreich is an ordinary guy with extraordinary talent.
This won’t be the last we’ll see of him, and I do predict a follow-up movie to this. No Spoilers, but here’s why –> No-Spoiler SOLO Movie Review!
About SOLO: A Star Wars Story
Board the Millennium Falcon and journey to a galaxy far, far away in SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY, an all-new adventure with the most beloved scoundrel in the galaxy. Through a series of daring escapades deep within a dark and dangerous criminal underworld, Han Solo befriends his mighty future copilot Chewbacca and meets the notorious gambler Lando Calrissian, in a journey that will set the course of one of the Star Wars saga’s most unlikely heroes. The film stars Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Paul Bettany.
SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY opens in theatres May 25th.
Take a look…
Check out my recap of the SOLO premiere – the celebrities, the after-party, and the Millenium Falcon details!
Now for some extra Star Wars fun…
EXTRA FUN: Get in the Star Wars mood by creating these incredible Star Wars Themed OREO Cookie Balls