More info on Han Solo debacle shows a battle of style vs. tradition

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We all knew that the back story of this Phil Lord and Chris Miller firing from the UNTITLED HAN SOLO STAR WARS ANTHOLOGY FILM would come trickling in after the announcement was made and it continues to paint a picture of style vs. tradition. Lord/Miller, known for their hyper kinetic and improvisational style, seem to have been too stubborn in their own filmmaking style to adhere to the Star Wars model, which seems to equate to following the script to the letter, while balancing the demands of an epic franchise studio. THR has a new report with numerous unnamed sources that say the battle of Lord/Miller vs. Kennedy/Kasdan/Lucasfilm was one fraught with issues, revolving around camera set-ups, acting coaches (for star Alden Ehrenreich), upset crew and ultimately "deep fundamental philosophical differences" in style that didn't fit the Lucasfilm model.

Apparently, Lord/Miller had issues adapting to the epic scale of a Star Wars film and "they relied too heavily on the improvisational style that served them so well in live-action comedy and animation but does not work on a set with hundreds of crew members waiting for direction." According to one source, Lord/Miller were not decisive enough on set: “You have to make decisions much earlier than what they’re used to. I don’t know if it’s because there were two of them but they were not decisive.”

A source close to Lord/Miller says otherwise, though: "They collaborate closely with their actors and give them creative freedom that, in their experience, brings out the actors' best performances. Lawrence Kasdan would not allow this and demanded that every line was said word for word. To appease him and the studio, Lord and Miller would do several takes exactly as written and then shoot additional takes."

In addition, Lawrence Kasdan, who wrote the script with his son, Jon, "is said also to have been unhappy with the limited shots and displeased that Lord and Miller were calling out lines for the actors to try from behind the monitor rather than sticking with the script that he had written in collaboration with his son." I find that aspect quite telling, as a writer/producer of Kasdan's power at Lucasfilm could easily step in if he didn't agree with what was happening, much like George Lucas was famous for with EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and RETURN OF THE JEDI.

It seems that the hiring of Ron Howard was a welcome one to the crew, who "broke into applause" when it was announced that he'd be taking over the film. However, Howard was "concerned about how Lord and Miller would react and has been e-mailing them" with the source saying the duo have been “very supportive, very elegant" in responding.

So, all of that stuff is pretty interesting, but what does it all mean? Well, ultimately, it shows the instability of this new, burgeoning STAR WARS franchise, which seems to be less about individual artistic vision and more about "feeding the machine". According to a top executive at a rival studio, “All of the films have been `troubled. J.J. [Abrams] was powerful enough to push back on an unrealistic start date [for the first movie] but that was a tug of war. The last one was re-shot by Tony [Gilroy] for months and now this? This is a systemic problem.”

I guess the question really comes down to how much risk Lucasfilm is willing to take on their brand. Obviously, Lord and Miller were an inspired choice to take on a Star Wars film, but how anyone could doubt they'd make anything other than what they make, stylistically, is beyond me. The fear, I think, is that we'll get a slew of ROGUE ONE's, where a talent is hired simply to get the job done, rather than act of their own accord and vision to make the best film possible. In many ways if feels like an executive is hiring someone to collect a bunch of shots, then evaluate the shots, hire a bigger name to shape it into what the studio wants and deliver it to the public. Then again, it seems like Rian Johnson navigated these troubled waters like a champ for THE LAST JEDI, so perhaps it's just a case of Lucasfilm finding its footing in this bold new venture into the future of the franchise. We're only two movies in, so perhaps a benefit of the doubt is in order as well?

I've rambled enough. What do you guys think? Should Lucasfilm have more faith in the filmmakers they hire and let them complete the job or are they right to step in and steer them to their in-house traditions and expectations?

The UNTITLED HAN SOLO STAR WARS ANTHOLOGY FILM is STILL schedule to hit theaters on May 25th, 2018.

Source: THR



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