‘Star Wars’: Woody Harrelson Turned Down ‘Han Solo’ Role Twice

It turns out Woody Harrelson's role as a mentor in Hunger Games is similar to his role in the Star Wars Han Solo film, in that he turned both down twice

Ahead of its release and hot off the critical success of War for the Planet of the Apes, Hunger Games turned Star Wars actor Woody Harrelson sat down with The Hollywood Reporter in an intimate interview that despite its depth could not avoid bringing up the obvious: How’s that Han Solo movie coming along? According to Harrelson, in what might be the absolute coolest way it’s been put so far:

“I wouldn’t worry. The Force is still very much with it.”

In the Star Wars spin-off, Harrelson plays Beckett — a criminal who will  take in the role of mentor for a pre-New Hope Han Solo, played by Alden Ehrenreich. If Harrelson as a reluctant mentor seems familiar, it should. Based on details so far, the Beckett character doesn’t seem too far off from his role as Haymitch Abernathy in The Hunger Games franchise. Apparently those roles are more similar than one would think.

“I turned down Hunger Games twice. I didn’t have any idea it would be that big, but I didn’t think it was a good part. I was wrong. It was a terrific part, and it was a terrific thing, but thank God [director] Gary Ross called me. And [executive] Alli Shearmur, too. I turned [the Han Solo movie] down twice, too, and the same person, Alli, wouldn’t take no for an answer.”

What Harrelson is learning along the way about working with Lucasfilm is that some things are best kept secret — actually, all things. And while that seems a little new to the 55-year-old star, his time working on the anthology film is certainly not lacking fun, with talks of ping pong and epic parties.

“Definitely [Star Wars] has more secrecy than anything ever. You get an e-reader; you don’t get a script. They give it to you, and you give it back after you read it. But I was like, “I’ve got to be with my family, I got to go home.” I’d been home in Maui one week since November. But I met with [directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller] one night, and we hung out and we went over to Matthew Freud’s and played pingpong and just had a great time. They were really good guys. I’ve been enjoying it [since then], especially because we just went to [shoot at] the Dolomites in Italy. [Co-star] Thandie Newton said, “It’s like being at camp ’cause you got everybody together,” and we had a couple of epic parties.”

That camp saw a major shift in counselors recently when Lord and Miller departed due to significant creative differences. Harrelson couldn’t get into those details at all, only saying “Oh, man, I can’t talk about that, but I do love those guys.” However, he had nothing negative to say of his experience with new director Ron Howard, with shooting set to continue today.

“Alli gave me the word on [Howard replacing the directors]. He’s a wonderful guy. And we did shoot one day with him — we had to shoot because Thandie had to leave. We start again July 12.”

The Star Wars film was written by Lawrence Kasdan and son Jon Kasdan and will also star Joonas Suotomo as Chewbacca, Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian, Michael K. Williams and Ian Kenny.

The Han Solo Star Wars spin-off is currently slated for release on May 25, 2018.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter