I’ve loved Ron Howard since his Opie Taylor and Richie Cunningham days. I’ve also admired him as a director. Now as the director of Solo: A Star Wars Story, Ron Howard tells us of the most challenging aspects of directing a Star Wars movie and how he got the job.
Thank you, Disney, for inviting me to the #HanSoloEvent and providing travel and accommodations. All opinions about dreams coming true when hearing Ron Howard say “Gee, Pa, can I take a ride?” referring to the Millennium Falcon are my own.
Ron Howard Han Solo Phone Call
So I was curious what it was like to get the phone call that said, “Hey, you’re directing a Star Wars film.” Well it didn’t happen like that. Ron Howard explains that it started with a scheduled breakfast with Kathy Kennedy, you know, as you do, because they’re friends.
He wasn’t aware of any conflicts or issues with Solo, and then Kathleen Kennedy asked if the Kasdens could come. So Ron Howard wondered what they wanted to talk about, perhaps a future Star Wars project.
That’s when they mentioned the young Han Solo movie and a crisis they were going through. Then he was asked “Would you ever consider coming in and taking over?”
Ron Howard:“And I said, well, it’s very flattering but I can’t imagine that I would. I don’t think so. I urged them to reconsider and think about it. And they said, well they had already made their decision. They were gonna make a change.”
On Why Ron Howard Said Yes to Solo
I chuckled to myself when Ron Howard told us he didn’t think he would take this job. I know I’ve had points in my career when you’re flattered to be asked to do something and then you wonder is this right for me? Should I do this? So how did he come to say yes?
Plus his wife Cheryl said, “I know you pretty well and I think you’re gonna be disappointed if you don’t do this.” So Cheryl pretty much saved Solo: A Star Wars Story. The spouses always know.
Ron Howard and the Challenge of Directing Han Solo
What was the most daunting task about directing Solo: A Star Wars Story?
Were there any barriers you saw along the way?
You’ve got this blend of sort of humanity and humor and drama and then these deeper bigger themes that are classic themes. And it’s like playing three dimensional chess to direct these scenes. And I think that when the harmonics are right, it creates this sort of range of ways that the movies entertain you. I recognized and respected the movies that came before me all the more when I realized how complicated it was. So it was a challenge, but it was fun. George Lucas had said to me, ‘just trust your instincts. I think you’re gonna find you’re comfortable in this filmmaking style.’ And he was right.”
On Competing with Family
Ron Howard is Bryce Dallas Howard’s father, and she stars in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom which opens soon after Solo: A Star Wars Story. We asked about whether there was friendly family competition.
Ron Howard:“Well, it’s hard not to root for your daughter. It’s kinda like a gift, I suppose. You know you work at something that you love. I give 110% to everything that I do. Some things click, some things not as much. And I love it as a lifestyle, our way of life. I’ve felt very rewarded by this opportunity, and I hope fans feel really good about the movie because these movies are made for the fans.”
“These movies [Star Wars] are made for the fans.” – Ron Howard
I love this sentiment from Ron Howard. It’s hard not to root for your daughter. How great would that be if we felt like that about everyone or even in business? You can root for others, even if you are in direct competition. There is enough success for everyone, and supporting others does not dim your light.
Solo: A Star Wars story is kid friendly and a great family film. It was such an honor talking with Ron Howard and getting to know the story behind the story.