He might not be a household name yet, but Alden Ehrenreich is poised to be Hollywood’s next big breakout star.
The 27-year-old actor has already worked with some top name directors, and now he’s hard at work on the next “Star Wars” spin-off where he’ll play a young Han Solo.
The Los Angeles-born actor is hard at work in London, England, prepping to follow in Harrison Ford’s footsteps as Han Solo in a new movie directed by “The LEGO Movie” directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. It was recently announced that Donald Glover has been cast as the young Lando Calrissian in the anthology film.
“I had an audition process that went on for a long time, and I got to spend a lot of time with the guys who are directing the film,” Ehrenreich tells Interview. “Getting to be around them and being around the world a little bit has been the main experience so far. I did my audition on the Millennium Falcon for one of my screen tests, which was pretty cool.”
Being on the iconic spaceship was a surreal moment for the actor. “I think so many of the experiences that I’ve been lucky to have so far have been exactly that. It’s been so surreal that at a certain point you stop expecting them to feel real at all. Going back to [his first film] ‘Tetro’, I remember thinking, ‘Oh, at some point this will end up feeling second nature,’ and it never really does. It’s always a little fantastical.”
Ehrenreich has only been acting for a decade, but he’s already landed roles in movies directed by prestigious filmmakers including Woody Allen, the Coen brothers, Francis Ford Coppola and Park Chan-wook. Now, he’s adding Warren Beatty to that list.
In Beatty’s “Rules Don’t Apply”, Ehrenreich stars as the private driver of a young up-and-coming starlet in this unconventional love story. For the actor, it was all about finding common ground with Beatty, who also wrote the script and stars as an eccentric billionaire in the film.
“I had, like, a four-and-a-half-hour lunch with him, and then over the next five years continued to meet with him and go to his house,” he says. “I didn’t read the script for a couple years. It basically amounted to this kind of apprenticeship with Warren: conversations and learning about his whole background in the film industry and his life. I grew up watching a lot of old movies, so getting to ask about making movies in the ’70s and people he was friends with, like Orson Welles, Lillian Hellman and Charlie Chaplin, and hearing a first-person account was pretty incredible.”
Despite working with so many notable directors, it was Ehrenreich’s first time working with someone who has also spent time in front of the camera.
“I’d never worked with an actor-director before. Warren did a very cool thing, where he directs in character. Let’s say he wants you to speak louder in a scene. He won’t stop playing the role and say to you as a director, ‘Will you speak louder on the next take?’ He’ll say it as Howard Hughes: ‘I can’t totally hear you. Why don’t you speak up a little bit?’ To kind of keep this rhythm going.”
“He’s voraciously detail-oriented,” Ehrenreich says of the Oscar-winning director. “He’ll sometimes spend hours on a very small detail to make sure he gets it right. After the kind of work that he’s made, he certainly doesn’t have to be doing that. By anyone’s measure, he’s proven himself. But he still sets out to make something as great as it possibly can be.”
“Rules Don’t Apply” opens in theatres on November 23.