Another day, and several more twists in the ongoing “Han Solo” saga have emerged. Before we proceed, it should be noted that it’s often hard to separate public relations spin from fact, and obviously, there are quite a few parties involved, all with a vested interest in controlling how the narrative is played out. That being said, if there is one constant to the story that continues to develop, it’s that Lawrence Kasdan really didn’t like Phil Lord and Chris Miller veering from the script he co-wrote with his son, Jon Kasdan.
THR‘s latest look at the behind-the-scenes turmoil during the production of the “Star Wars” spinoff once again asserts that Lord and Miller’s improvisational style chafed both Kasdan and Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy. Apparently, when dailies started coming in, they were not happy, but in an attempt to keep their bosses placated, the directors reportedly shot scenes “word for word” as they were scripted, and then did more takes in their off the cuff style.
However, it wasn’t just the battle over dialogue that caused friction. Lord and Miller were said to be doing only 2-3 setups — or versions of camera placement — of each scene, rather than 12-15, which Kennedy was expecting. This meant that when it came time to edit the movie, there would be far fewer options on the table for each scene. The story gets even more juicy from there.
As production continued during late spring and early June, Oscar-winning editor Chris Dickens (“Slumdog Millionaire“) was fired and replaced by another Oscar-winner, Pietro Scalia (“JFK,” “Black Hawk Down“). But perhaps the biggest shock comes from the revelation that Lucasfilm hired an acting coach for leading man Alden Ehrenreich, as they were not happy with the performance he was giving under the direction of Lord and Miller. This detail is given even more dimension with rumors from Star Wars News Net last week stating that it was actually Ehrenreich himself who flagged Lucasfilm with his concerns about the screwball direction the movie was taking, and how it might be affecting his performance (which as been described as Ace Venture-esque, which certainly sounds like hyperbole), which essentially was the pebble that started the avalanche.
Ron Howard arrives in London today, to a crew that is apparently very happy to work with him, and reportedly “broke into applause” when it was announced he was taking over (again, this sounds like some big spin). Lord and Miller are being supportive of the transition, perhaps happy to pass the baton and wash their hands of the project. This all came to a head when the directors refused to have someone else look over their shoulders for the rehoots, much in the way that Tony Gilroy essentially took over “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” as it was overhauled. Unwilling to play ball, Lucasfilm took the extraordinary move to fire them. And perhaps this tweet sent by Phil Lord in May says it all:
What's so great about being reasonable
— philip lord (@philiplord) May 9, 2017
Production on The Han Solo spinoff is slated to continue until September, and the film opens on May 25, 2018.