What Really Happened With Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s ‘Han Solo’ Departure
If you’ve made use of the internet in the past week, then you may very well be aware of a recent personnel change-up on the set of the gestating Han Solo spinoff film. Original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller are out, Ron Howard’s in, but as with most showbiz behind-the-scenes drama, the details have been kept under wraps. That is, until The Hollywood Reporter ran an illuminating new item this morning, getting the dish on what really drove the two filmmakers away from this project. The catch-all code word of “creative differences” does not even come close to doing justice to the antipathy between the Lord-Miller brain trust and Lucasfilm.
From the start, the Lord-Miller team’s sense of anarchic comedy clashed with the house style of Lucasfilm. But THR’s new item digs even deeper, exposing some deep-seated enmity between the directors and studio heads. For one, Lucasfilm’s head Kathleen Kennedy reportedly felt unsatisfied with the performance that Lord and Miller had gotten out of leading man Alden Ehrenreich, and brought in an acting coach to give the guy some pointers. But here’s what we in the biz call “the money paragraph”:
Meanwhile, Lord and Miller, the exceptionally successful team behind The Lego Movie and 21 Jump Street, were chafing, too, according to a source close to them. There were “deep fundamental philosophical differences” in filmmaking styles, this person says, and the directors felt they were being given “zero creative freedom.” They also felt they were being asked to operate under “extreme scheduling constraints” and “were never given enough days for each scene from the very beginning.”
Yet the THR item notes that Lord and Miller’s footage is still “very usable.” As The Wrap previously reported, a DGA loophole could allow Lord and Miller to potentially force Lucasfilm to release a director’s cut of their version of the film.
It’s one of the most enduring Hollywood paradoxes: a studio head sees a director with vision, thinks I want me some of that, hires the director, and then gets mad when the talent does what they were hired to do. If you want a short-order cook, don’t hire a chef!