The news of the week has been the chaos surrounding the stand-alone Han Solo movie. Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired Monday after six months of production due to major creative differences. Yesterday Lucasfilm announced that Ron Howard will take over the film, though it’s unclear how much of the movie he will reshoot and rework.
We’re beginning to get more details about why Lord and Miller were nixed. Citing unnamed sources close to the production, Entertainment Weekly reported that Lord and Miller were making their kind of movie (i.e., Kessel Run Jump Street) rather than sticking to the Lawrence Kasdan/Jon Kasdan screenplay and guidelines from Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy (i.e., a western caper). EW puts it succinctly:
The split was a subtle one that became magnified over time: Lucasfilm and producer Kennedy believed Lord and Miller were hired to add a comedic touch; Lord and Miller believed they were hired to make a comedy.
The EW report notes that Lord and Miller encouraged improv from the cast, and these improvised moments may have affected the overall story of the film. Kennedy and the filmmaking duo began clashing over reshoots and tone, which led to the pair’s ouster. Hiring Howard, an experienced journeyman director, means that the movie is going to get back on script.
If these reports are true, I’m surprised that it took so long for Lord and Miller to get the axe. Why didn’t Lucasfilm intervene much sooner after seeing the dailies? Lord and Miller might have interpreted the lack of intervention as a sign of approval for what they were doing. This might hint at the difficulty of working with a major IP like Star Wars. The goal is to make the movie feel like playing Star Wars as a kid, but there are rules to consider imposed by the studio. To put it another way, Lord and Miller wanted to play Star Wars with LEGOs, while Lucasfilm wanted them to play tennis but Star Wars.
I know, the metaphor maybe doesn’t quite work, but back off, man. I haven’t had coffee yet.
Give the full EW report a read of your own and let us know what you think about the situation in the comments.[via Entertainment Weekly]