Alden Ehrenreich, Han Solo
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Alden Ehrenreich says mixed response to Solo due to media's need to 'catastrophize or celebrate'

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Sep 23, 2020, 10:51 AM EDT

Solo took a lot of heat from the Star Wars world. The 2017 origin story of Han Solo not only had a troubled production, losing its directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller partway through to Ron Howard, but a lackluster debut to both critics and the box office. Using Rotten Tomatoes' metrics, it's towards the tail end of the films, right beneath Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith. It's been three years since the film introduced the world to Alden Ehrenreich as the smuggler/hero and the star has had plenty of time and space to reflect on why the movie seemed to become a go-to scapegoat for Star Wars burnout.

Speaking to Total Film, the actor explained that in his mind, the experience was still a good one. "It demystifies something that is very mystified," Ehrenreich said of working on the mega-blockbuster. But it also introduced him to the ways those kinds of movies are evaluated by the world at large — not to mention "the internet media version of things," as he puts it.

"For instance, that movie, it didn't do as well as other Star Wars movies, but it still did well for a movie. And so it was kind of this medium thing. But that's not newsworthy. Even at high-level journalism, there's an intense pressure, sometimes, it feels like, to catasrophize or celebrate," Ehrenreich said.

"And I think that's really f***ing dangerous, especially when it pertains to the stuff that really matters, like the state of the world," he continued. "An article headline that says 'things are complicated, and there are good sides and bad sides' isn't getting the emotional response. And I just think we really have to take a step back, and give a lot more thought to the way our emotions are being run by the stories we're getting inundated with."

This relationship with the press may have helped contribute to the actor's self-imposed hiatus from the craft over the last few years — that and the toll shooting such a large movie takes on any artist.

"'Movie time' is so funny," Ehrenreich said. I didn't feel that long to me. But it was an intentional break, in the same way that I took a break when I went to college. Which was a break where if something comes along that I just can't say no to, then I'll do it. But otherwise, at the end, Solo was a three-year experience, all said and done. I had been away from home pretty much for about three years. And not only on a personal side, but also as an actor and artist — the well's dry. You haven't had a whole lot of experience in real relationships with people."

Now, howevever, Ehrenreich is back and ready to resume running genre projects. But he wanted to take his time — especially after something as all-consuming as Solo: "It's so easy to mindelessly go from project to project, and become a sort of robot."

Ehrenreich can currently be seen in Peacock's adaptation of Brave New World.