Disney provided hotel and transportation to LA so we could attend the Solo: A Star Wars Story press junket. At the Solo: A Star Wars Press Junket we interviewed Paul Bettany. I remember the first time I interviewed Paul Bettany when he went from being the voice of Jarvis to playing Vision. He was as humble then as he is now with a touch of charm and a splash of humor. Now he’s in a little movie that comes out May 25th called Solo: A Star Wars Story. In Solo, he plays Dryden Vos our villain.
In the interview with Paul Bettany he told us that he begged Ron Howard for a part in the Solo movie. I usually paraphrase what the actors say in interviews but he’s such a good story teller I’m going to share this one in his words:
Begging For the Role
This is a hugely embarrassing story which I shouldn’t tell you but I’ve got to tell you anyway. I heard that my old mate, Ron, was doing it and in 1977 I saw Star Wars, right. So, like, I was six years old and it took me out of the gray, miserable 1970’s London. London was really depressed in the ‘70s, by the way. So, it was just to be taken away to that universe and it was amazing.
So, suddenly, but now I’m in the Avengers so I think there’s no way I’m ever going to be asked to be in Star Wars. Unless, Ron Howard becomes the director. And that happened. And so, I texted him and I literally texted him this, I said, I said, hey, Ron, have you ever spent long winter evenings, like I have wondering why you’re not in the Star Wars franchise?
And that’s a true story. And he said, you know, give me a moment. And, LOL, give me a moment. And two weeks later I was flying to London to shoot it.
Makeup Verses CGI
He answered a few questions with humor. Like when he told us that he didn’t wear any makeup. It was all CGI, because he can’t make his eyes bleed. He said he failed at that. He also joked about how stupid one of our questions was. He was asked how it feels to be in two summer blockbusters this year and he said that’s like asking a millionaire how it feels to have all that money. I was in the back of the interview cracking up. He quickly followed up with yes it feels pretty great.
Paul Bettany also talked about his children a lot. They think it’s pretty cool that their dad is in Avengers and in Star Wars now. They fly coach because he wants to keep his kids grounded. He said he is very proud of his children, they are polite good people. He’s been strict with them over the years but very proud of how they say please and thank you. He’s also happy with the choices his older children are making and that most importantly they know they are loved. He was also very excited to bring his kids on set and taking them on the Millennium Falcon.
And he had plenty of freak out moments while being on set of Star Wars.
Paul Bettany Freaks Out
“Oh, yeah, there were many moments where I went, oh, my gosh, I’m in a Star Wars movie. And I think because Ron and I were, you know, newcomers on the block as it were. You know, everyone else had been in there for eight months or whatever. And we were still totally un-jaded by it. And I kept elbowing him and saying, were making a Star Wars movie. We’re making a Star Wars movie. And my first day in fact, was I was on my starship I guess.
I have a starship and I was coming down the spiral staircase and a super chic asymmetric cloak I think you probably all noticed. And an R2 unit went by me with champagne flutes on and I went, fuck, I’m in Star Wars. And that was amazing.”
About Ron Howard
He also spoke very fondly of Ron Howard. He said working with him was easy because Ron was a great leader. He was also very inclusive and collaborative, but had a clear vision and a lot of confidence. And I think his vision came through in the final version of Solo: Star Wars Story.