Two weeks ago, I had the amazing experience to attend the Solo: A Star Wars Story Press Junket in Los Angeles, which included the Red Carpet World Premiere of the movie, as well as interviews with Ron Howard, Emilia Clarke, Alden Ehrenreich and more. One of the most anticipated interviews was with Woody Harrelson – I knew it was going to be entertaining, but you’ve never seen this side of Woody Harrelson before.
“I Want Your Job. It Must Be So Fun.”
I was nervous to meet Woody Harrelson. No lie. I mean, he’s an amazing, accomplished actor. With roles in some of my favorite movies & television shows. I was very excited to meet him. But nervous nonetheless.
I shouldn’t have been.
Of all the interviews we did that day for Solo: A Star Wars Story, Woody Harrelson’s was the most relaxed because he immediately puts you at ease with his good-humored nature. In fact, we didn’t even get one question in before he stopped us, looked around the table, and asked us “what’s different at this table?” My new friend, Andrew from Mommy’s Busy, was the ONLY GUY at the table and of course Woody had to call him out and say “I want your job. It must be so fun.”
Yep. I’m sold. Love this guy.
And from there, the 15 minutes we had with him flew by. Take a peek at his thoughts of making a Star Wars movie, working with Ron Howard, and why he may just convince you to become Vegan.
You play a variety of roles both on TV, Film, what specifically made you interested in this character for Solo?
I was in London and I was shooting this movie “Lost in London” which I wrote and directed and I did that just before. And then I was going to go home and then they were like well, we want you to meet these guys Phil and Chris about doing this Solo movie. And I felt like my family was tired of being told I’m definitely done after this and then this one……
Then I met them, great guys but then I did decide not to do it ironically. Same with “Hunger Games.” Same thing happened and the same Producer Ali Schermer, who’s an incredible lady who unfortunately passed shortly after we finished shooting, would not take No for an answer the first time and luckily, she didn’t take No the second time.
And the No wasn’t so much about being involved with this as just like I really did kind of say I was gonna take time off, which I am doing now, right after we finish the Press on this. I’m gonna take the rest of the year off.
Do you remember the first time you saw Star Wars?
Yeah, I remember it cause you probably won’t believe this, but I was alive in 1977 and it was a huge thing at the time, like everybody was all about Star Wars. It became a sensation. And so I just remember going to see it and it’s so original, so different from anything else and all of it great.
How would you describe your character?
Well I think in some ways, he’s complicated in the sense that he’s not always as chummy as he could be. I’d say he’s a survivor who really also does have this image of life, wanting to be done with this life of criminality and ultimately, just be playing the valacord, living in a remote planet somewhere.
What is it about this character that sets it apart from any other character you’ve portrayed?
I wouldn’t say that far distant. I have played other scoundrels and thieves and criminals before so but none in Space.
In what ways are you similar to your character, Tobias Beckett?
He’s a bit of a hard ass, and he’s kind of tough on Han. And I think it’s probably good if you’re gonna want to try to make someone into a very street smart survivor in that Universe, maybe that’s how he had to be. But I wouldn’t be like that. I mean, I can’t even discipline my own child.
I’m a great example of what not to do.
How did you like working with Alden (Ehrenreich)?
Love Alden, love him, awesome, awesome guy. Really hard worker. I mean, very hard worker. We’d all have our little cubicles (on the set) and then he was next to me and he’d be in there like taking piano lessons. He’d be in there reading novels. And I’m over there playing Speed Chess online. Like what the hell, I just lost my queen. I really admire his work ethic and I think just the way he cultivates himself as a human, he’s an extraordinary guy. He’s not just like a silly dopey party animal like some actors coming up or like I was coming up.
Did you give him any advice?
Well, kind of like with my kids. I think I’m a great example of what not to do. Great example. So I think I’ve done well as that kind of model for him.
We loved that you’re such a tough love mentor in your role. In real life, who has been that kind of mentor that you had, that’s giving you advice?
I feel like to some degree, Jack Nicholson. He lives not far from where I have a place here in LA, and I would go over quite a bit to his place and sit and reason, and talk story, and he’s given a lot of cool advice.
I admire that you are vegan. What inspired you to become vegan?
You know it’s interesting. It started out, I was on a bus and I sat next to this gal. And I was 23 or so and she’s sitting there and she looks up at me rolling down the road toward Oklahoma City or somewhere. She looks at me and I had a lot of acne. And I had a lot of mucus and I was blowing my nose and not the most attractive. This is not the presentation you want from your dream guy, but she looks at me and she says not Hello, how are you, my name is. Just ‘you’re lactose intolerant.’ I said what? She says, you need to stop Dairy. She says if you stop Dairy, within 3 days, all these symptoms you’ve got like mucus and the acne is gonna go away.
I said I had this as long as I can remember and been to people to ask, and then you’re telling me 3 days? And it’s gone? We’re all essentially lactose tolerant because we’re not calves. Even cows don’t consume milk. But some thing about the way she communicated, I believed her. And you have to be very conscientious, within that 3 days, there’s 700 times that I could have got dairy in one form or another. And I didn’t have it for 3 days and boom, everything cleared up. My skin cleared up. I stopped being constantly blowing my nose, and that was the beginning of a real evolution for me.
And then I started thinking well if they’re telling you milk does the body good and it really doesn’t do a body good, what else is not true? Do you need meat for protein? Do you really need meat for protein? I mean, how do gorillas do it? How do horses do it?
So that started the ball rolling and then I started reading. I think the best book I’ve read was written around 1910 by Arnold Ehret, who was a guy Jack Nicholson mentioned to me. And it turns out, this guy wrote a book in 1910 and he said at the time, this information is 50 years old. It’s called “The Mucusless Diet.” And he has another one called “Rational Fasting” and both of those books have so much great information. He has an unusual style of writing but I quite like it.
I’m very grateful for the life I have.
I’d like to know is there a secret to your smile. Is that a real Woody Harrelson life hack?
Well thank you for saying that. I do feel like a pretty genuinely happy person. And I think part of it, a big part of it is just gratitude. I’m very grateful for the life I have. I feel like all of us who do movies and probably all of you write about movies, we’re breathing a bit of a rarified air.
And I feel really lucky because there was a point in which I kind of gave up and it was early on. I hadn’t even got a job yet and I just was like, I think I can’t do it. And I don’t know how to crack it. And so yeah gratitude. Life hack.
If you could be any character from the original Star Wars Trilogy, who would it have been?
Who wouldn’t want to be Solo, man? But it was written really well obviously. Lucas created these great characters but I guess what Harrison brought to it and now what Alden is bringing to it is making that character just so special, so fun, and funny.
Oh my goodness – he’s so funny. And here’s another example of that from a clip the cast of Solo: A Star Wars Story filmed the same day we did our interviews. You have to watch it:
Woody Harrelson was just a delight to meet – he’s so laid back – you could imagine having a beer with him, just talking about life.
As I have said before, Star Wars fans will NOT be disappointed. Make sure you get your tickets now for this upcoming weekend. You do not want to miss seeing this movie the weekend it releases!
Solo: A Star Wars Story opens in theaters nationwide Friday, May 25, 2018
Other Articles from the Solo: A Star Wars Story Event you may enjoy:
I’m Going to the SOLO: A Star Wars Story Red Carpet World Premiere in Los Angeles!
My Experience at the World Premiere of Solo: A Star Wars Story (I Met Mark Hamill!)
7 Secrets from the Set of General Hospital
Star Wars Fans Will Not Be Disappointed – Solo: A Star Wars Story Review
Alden Ehrenreich Takes on the Pressure of Creating a New Han Solo
Emilia Clarke – The Newest Leading Lady of the Star Wars Universe
Ron Howard Takes on the Star Wars Franchise
Paul Bettany: How Do You Go from Vision to Villain?
Meet the New Chewbacca – Joonas Suotamo
The Newest Droid in the Star Wars Universe: Phoebe Waller-Bridge
Woody Harrelson: A Star Wars Hero or Villain?
Disclaimer: Disney sent me to Los Angeles on an all-expenses paid press trip, in exchange for my coverage of the red carpet premiere of Solo: A Star Wars Story. All opinions are my own.