Alden Ehrenreich: What to Know About Actor Cast as Young Han Solo
Meet the new Han Solo. After an extensive search for a younger version of the swaggering smuggler for a “Star Wars” spinoff, Disney and Lucasfilm opted for Alden Ehrenreich, most recently seen as the dim-bulb singing cowboy in “Hail, Caesar!”
The 26-year-old Los Angeles native had been on the short list for the role made famous by Harrison Ford. Already one of the hottest up-and-coming actors in Hollywood, Ehrenreich’s now poised for superstardom when the Han Solo film comes out in 2018.
Here are five things to know about Alden Ehrenreich:
1. He Was Discovered by Steven Spielberg
At age 13, Ehrenreich and his friends made a funny video for a friend-of-a-friend’s Bat Mitzvah starring Ehrenreich in a kimono screaming for a wedding to stop. His parents told him he looked like a “moron” and tried to talk him out of showing the video, but it screened anyway, Ehrenreich tells the New York Times. Ehrenreich wasn’t even at the event — but Spielberg was. The next day, the director’s studio, DreamWorks, called and set Ehrenreich up with a casting director.
2. Success Has Come Slowly
Despite the help of Hollywood’s leading filmmaker, Ehrenreich’s acting career did not take off immediately. He scored television work in “Supernatural” and “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” and a couple of short films. His first big film role in the teen supernatural romance “Beautiful Creatures” got him a Teen Choice Award nomination in the romance category, but the movie flopped at the box office.
3. The Coen Brothers Gave Him His Big Break
A quirky and nostalgic take on the Golden Age of Hollywood, “Hail, Caesar!” may have starred George Clooney but it was Ehrenreich who nearly stole the show. His guitar-strumming, trick-roping B-Western star Hobie Doyle gets thrust into a drawing room drama where his aw-schucks-ma’am mouth mangles the line “Would that it were so simple” to the frustration of director Ralph Fiennes. His hilarious scenes are the highpoint of an otherwise uneven movie and played prominently in the second trailer (below).
4. He Beat Out Thousands of Actors for Han Solo
Virtually every young actor in Hollywood had been named as a candidate for Han Solo at one time or another, including Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, Taron Egerton, Scott Eastwood and Jack Reynor. In the end, it was the audition that reportedly set Ehrenreich apart. “Alden really impressed Disney and Lucasfilm execs with his screen tests,” a source tells the New York Post, which first reported his casting.
5. He’ll Have Huge Shoes to Fill
Nobody knows better than Harrison Ford what the Han Solo character can do for – and to – an actor. To that end, Ford has offered some advice, albeit of the mixed variety. “I would say, ‘Talk to your director. Watch the movies. And welcome aboard. Make it your own,’” he said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. But in a lighter, grumpier moment on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” he advised: “Don’t do it.” He went on to explain: “First, it seems everything’s going on swimmingly, and you put in 25, 30 years, and then they just let you go. … And they show you the door: ‘We’re done with you, thanks very much.’”