Paul Bettany wasn't originally part of the cast for Solo: A Star Wars Story. He joined the production after Ron Howard was hired, following the firing of Phil Lord and Chris Miller. Once Michael Kenneth Williams could no longer take part in the reshoots, Bettany took over as the formidable gangster Dryden Vos. How he nabbed the role, however, is an interesting story because it wasn't through conventional channels like agents or managers.
The 46-year-old actor simply texted Howard, basically begging for a part in the film; they had worked together in the past on projects like A Beautiful Mind. On a Twitter Q&A last weekend, Bettany revealed that this text conversation had taken place, we didn't know the exact content of the message. During an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, it was finally revealed.
“Have you ever spent long winter evenings wondering why you’re not in the Star Wars franchise? I have,” texted Bettany.
Howard's response is priceless: “LOL I’ll get back to you.”
Two weeks later, Bettany was flying to the set of Solo and when he got there, saw the surreal sight of an R2 unit rolling by, carrying flutes of champagne on its head. "I was six-years-old again," he said. By the way, this was on some kind of "intergalactic space yacht."
Vos is the reason that Han, Chewie, and Lando join a scoundrel-filled gang in the movie, but they might have reconsidered signing up if they were aware of the gangster's massive temper and talent for torture.
"He's a sociopath," said Bettany. "He's really good at hurting people. Some people are good at playing music, he's really good at hurting people. And he's totally great with it."
During the aforementioned Q&A, Bettany also revealed that those red lines on Vos's face are not scars, but natural facial features of his species that flare up when they are angry. If he's as irritable as Bettany promises, we'll be seeing those lines quite a bit in the film.
Solo: A Star Wars Story bows in theaters everywhere next Friday, May 25.