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‘Solo’: Harrison Ford Mentored Alden Ehrenreich and Ron Howard Before They Took Over His ‘Star Wars’ Hero

Ehrenreich couldn't step into Han Solo's shoes until he sat down to talk with Harrison Ford over lunch.

Stepping into the shoes of Han Solo is no easy task, just ask Alden Ehrenreich. The 28-year-old actor best known for roles in YA romance “Beautiful Creatures” and the Coen Brothers’ “Hail, Caesar!” is about to break into the blockbuster spotlight this May with the release of “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” Ehrenreich plays a younger, more idealistic Han Solo in the prequel adventure, and he made sure to get Harrison Ford’s blessing before filming started.

Ford and Ehrenreich got lunch before production on “Solo” kicked off, and it’s during this essential meeting where Ford gave his advice for play “Solo.” Ehrenreich told Entertainment Weekly that Ford was a “real gentleman” during their sit-down chat.

“[Ford] said a great thing when I met him,” Ehrenreich said. “Tell them I told you everything you needed to know, and that you can’t tell anyone.”

Fortunately, Lucasfilm president and “Solo” producer Kathleen Kennedy is willing to speak a little more openly about Ford’s involvement with “Solo.” After Ford’s meeting Ehrenreich, he spoke with Kennedy over the phone and told her he was a “good kid, a really good kid.” But Ford didn’t want to overshadow the production too much. He read the script and gave Kennedy his thumbs-up, but he didn’t want to be on set.

“I think being who is Harrison is, there is no way he would step into the middle of this and start trying to dictate,” Kennedy told Entertainment Weekly.

“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,” she continued. “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.”

As it turns out, Ron Howard also sought guidance from Ford. Howard stepped into the director’s chair months into production after original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired off the project for “creative differences.”

“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.”

“Han has survived and proven that he can survive, but he’s never sure he’s as quite as smart as he needs to be,” Howard continued, referencing more of what Ford told him. “Change that. He’s not really ‘smart.’ That’s not the word he used. Han’s not as on top of it as he needs to be. So he wants to give the appearance of [control], but in fact, he’s often scrambling. I think Harrison played that beautifully, and Alden and I talked about both of those ideas a lot.”

“Solo: A Star Wars Story” opens in theaters nationwide May 23.

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