Al Pacino Turned Down Playing Han Solo in ‘Star Wars’ Because He Couldn’t ‘Understand’ the Script

"They offered me so much money," the Oscar winner recalled. "I gave Harrison Ford a career."
Al Pacino at 2022 Tribeca
Al Pacino at 2022 Tribeca
Getty Images for Tribeca Festiva

Al Pacino could easily refuse the offer to play Han Solo in “Star Wars.”

The Oscar winner revealed that he turned down the 1977 film despite being offered “so much money” for the role. Pacino was coming off of hits like “The Godfather” (1972), “Serpico” (1973), “The Godfather Part II” (1974), and “Dog Day Afternoon” (1975).

“Well, I turned down ‘Star Wars.’ When I first came up, I was the new kid on the block,” Pacino said during an event at the 92nd Street Y in New York (via Variety). “You know what happens when you first become famous. It’s like, ‘Give it to Al.’ They’d give me Queen Elizabeth to play.”

Pacino, who is next starring in “King Lear,” added, “They gave me a script called ‘Star Wars.’ They offered me so much money. I don’t understand it. I read it. So I said I couldn’t do it.”

He joked, “I gave Harrison Ford a career.”

Ford had previously starred in “American Graffiti,” “The Conversation,” and “Kung Fu” before breaking out in “Star Wars” as Han Solo and later leading the “Indiana Jones” franchise.

Pacino additionally reflected on thinking his career was “over” during a tough “Godfather” production. Director Francis Ford Coppola told Pacino he was “failing” the film over dinner.

“I’m standing there thinking ‘What the fuck, what did I do?'” Pacino said, with Coppola advising him to “go to Paramount.”

“I wanted to come out of nowhere, and by the end of the film create some kind of enigma,” Pacino said. “His transition is what interested me, and I thought I was unable to save it. After the first day of shooting, Diane Keaton and I got drunk. We thought ‘This is it, our careers are over.'”

Pacino noted that the “Solozzo scene, where Michael shoots the cop” was “pushed up” by Coppola since “he thought Paramount was about to fire me.”

The actor added, “I do the scene, they liked it, and they kept me in because I shot someone.”

During the 50th anniversary of “The Godfather” release in March 2022, Pacino called his sudden fame from the film like a “bolt of lightning.”

“I felt like, all of a sudden, some veil was lifted and all eyes were on me. Of course, they were on others in the film. But ‘The Godfather’ gave me a new identity that was hard for me to cope with,” Pacino said. “It’s a piece of work that I was so fortunate to be in. But it’s taken me a lifetime to accept it and move on. It’s not like I played Superman.”

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