British actor Paul Bettany entered the room to our applause with a big smile on his face. Paul is the villain, Dryden Vos, in the newest Star Wars movie, Solo: A Star Wars Story. You know, the movie I’ve been raving about the past week. As he smiled he turned his phone to show us that he has a picture of his wife on it from when she was a child. He said he likes to look at it when she’s really annoying and shouting at him. Since Paul has been on back-to-back press tours for Avengers: Infinity War and Star Wars, as well as being in the process of moving, she’s been pretty happy with him. Especially since he was in Los Angeles and not actually helping pack up tea chests and such.
Being a Part of Star Wars
Since Ron Howard (Director) and Paul came in a few months after everyone else had started the movie, he said he kept elbowing Ron saying, we’re making a Star Wars movie. The first day filming Paul was on Dryden Vos’ starship, coming down the spiral staircase in his super chic asymmetrical cloak and an R2 until went by him with champagne flutes. All he could think to himself was, “fuck, I’m in Stars.” It was amazing.
Paul said he saw the first Star Wars in 1977 and he was immediately taken away to that universe. Since Paul was already in the new Avengers movie this summer, he didn’t think there was any way he would ever be asked to be in Star Wars too. That is unless Ron Howard becomes the director. And that happened. Paul said he literally texted Ron and said, “Hey Ron, have you ever wondered why I’m not in the Star Wars franchise?” Ron text him back and said to give him a moment. Two weeks later Paul was flying to London to start shooting. And that’s a good lesson as to why you should never be afraid to ask!
Ron is as close to family to Paul as you get in the business. He’s put his hand out and helped Paul more times than he could tell. He has an incredible ability with staging. Paul said he’s just a fine, fine director who is always genuinely interested in everybody’s opinions about how things should be. Although Ron does always have his own vision, he’s confident enough that he is able to be really open and collaborative. Paul feels like that is a sign of a really strong leader. Sounds like he was a great choice for being director of the new movie!
In the movie you’ll notice that Paul’s character, Dryden Vos, has scars on his face. It actually isn’t makeup at all. It’s all CG. They do a really great job at making it look very real.
Superhero to Villain
Paul goes from playing a superhero in Avengers: Infinity War to a villain in Star Wars. Paul said the makeup crew was still finding bits of purple on him from playing Vision in Avengers. Paul had been emailing with Kevin Feige, producer and president of Marvel Studios, about the massive success of the recent Avengers movie. Kevin is a huge Star Wars fan and told Paul the trailer for the new movie looked amazing. Pretty incredible to be in two huge summer blockbusters and get such great feedback from Kevin Feige. It’s a wonderful feeling for Paul!
Tour Guide Paul
Paul was like a tour guide for the set. Since he was shooting in his hometown of London, he kept telling people he knew to come and bring their kids to the set so he could take them on the Millennium Falcon. Although he had little time between shooting, he was endlessly leaving set to take children around because it was so amazing to see their faces when they got to walk around the whole ship.
On His Family
Paul, who is married to actress Jennifer Connelly, said he is very proud of his kids. His children are six, fourteen and twenty. He’s taught them how to act in restaurants and other public places as well as how to always say please and thank you. Their time spent on devices is limited too. They are not allowed devices in a restaurant. They have to ask questions and be engaged with other people. It’s so important to teach our children how to be good, considerate humans.
Obviously Paul can afford to fly his family first class but they always fly coach. If you ever see a guy in coach with a scarf around his head then it might be Paul. He said you wouldn’t believe the number of times he’s woken up in flight to Europe with someone right in front of his face taking a photo. So, he’ll be there in coach with his scarf wrapped around his head, a glass of wine and a sleeping pill. Haha! Such a funny guy!
Paul wants his children to know how rare their situation is because of their privilege. It’s his goal to prepare them for a life in which they can hopefully give back in a way they have all received.
When we went to take our group photo Paul even offered up his seat for one of the ladies in our group that had hurt her knee on the Peter Pan scavenger hunt (more on this soon). He seriously was one of the nicest actors I have ever met! Such a great guy!
Check out more Solo: A Star Wars Story interviews:
Alden Ehrenreich on Being the Young Han Solo
Emilia Clarke on Her Own LEGO and Being in the New Star Wars Movie
Ron Howard on Directing a Young Han Solo
Phoebe Waller-Bridge (“L3-37”) – coming soon
Joonas Suotamo (“Chewbacca”) – coming soon
Woody Harrelson (“Tobias Beckett”) – coming soon
Solo: A Star Wars Story Trailer
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SOLO: A Star Wars Story opens in theatres everywhere on May 25th!