After last week’s surprise firing of directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller from the upcoming Han Solo “Star Wars” anthology movie, more stories are surfacing about the unstable production.
The Hollywood Reporter has learned that, as previously reported, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and the directing duo did not hit it off from the start of production. Both sides struggled with control as there was a constant battle over how scenes should be shot and how much Lord and Miller could stray from the script, written by “Star Wars” veteran Lawrence Kasdan (“The Empire Strikes Back,” “The Force Awakens”).
In one instance, the trade was told by sources that Lord and Miller only did three different setups (camera placements) for a scene shot on the Millennium Falcon, versus the 12 to 15 that a movie of this size usually does. This led to limited options to choose from in editing.
And the duo’s improvisational style didn’t go over well for many of the crew. Known for their comedies “The Lego Movie” and the “21 Jump Street” franchise, in which Lord and Miller collaborate heavily with their cast, on a movie of the size of a “Star Wars” project, that led to hundreds of crew members standing around waiting for marching orders, according to THR.
Lord and Miller also shot some scenes by delivering improvised lines to the actors. According to sources, once Kasdan saw this he demanded that every line be said word for word. THR reports that Lord and Miller did do takes for scenes as it was written in the script.
But in May things got really bad. Lucasfilm fired editor Chris Dickens and replaced him with Pietro Scalia. And the company also brought on an acting coach for its star Alden Ehrenreich, who plays young Han Solo, a rarity this late in a production.
According to THR, Lucasfilm wasn’t satisfied with the performance Lord and Miller were getting out of him. It’s possible Ehrenreich wasn’t pleased with Lord and Miller, either. Star Wars News Net reports that the actor voiced his concerns about how the character was coming across to a producer who then sent it up the ladder to Kennedy. One source told SWNN that Ehrenreich ‘s performance of Solo is “oddly comparable to Jim Carrey’s performance in ‘Ace Ventura‘ at times.”
Kennedy’s decided to steady the ship by having Kasdan shadow Lord and Miller, similar to Tony Gilroy coming on to direct reshoots for Gareth Edwards’ “Rogue One.” But Lord and Miller pushed back, leading to Kennedy firing them.
When the crew was told Ron Howard would be taking over the movie, they broke into applause, according to the THR story.
Though sources say the footage Miller and Lord shot is “very usable,” the plan is for Howard to shoot until September. Production was originally supposed to wrap in July.
The untitled Han Solo movie is still slated for a May 25, 2018 release.
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