Woody Harrelson has certainly had one of the most versatile careers in Hollywood, and he made the move to blockbuster territory with The Hunger Games. But while that franchise was one of the most successful of the last few years, Harrelson is moving on to even bigger things with this summer’s War for the Planet of the Apes and, recently announced, a key role in the untitled Young Han Solo Star Wars spinoff.
Collider’s own Steve Weintraub recently spoke with Harrelson in anticipation of his directorial debut Lost in London, a feature that he’ll direct and shoot live while it streams across the globe. But during their conversation, Harrelson also spoke about the excitement of joining the Planet of the Apes franchise:
“I’m a real big fan of the Apes series—I like the old Apes but I really like these [new ones]. When I saw the first one I was like, ‘Yeah, incredible, I can’t wait to see the second one.’ Then I’m like ‘Holy shit, that may have even been better than the first one, certainly it was as good,’ because a lot of times sequels aren’t as good. And then I’m like, ‘Geez I can’t wait to see the third one!’ and little did I know I’d be in it. So I feel really lucky to be a part of it. I think Matt [Reeves] is an incredible, gifted, super smart filmmaker. I don’t think there’s a lot of people who can pull off what he’s doing, it is so humungous.”
Though Harrelson does admit that the scale of the film, with its intense visual effects, was striking:
“It was a bit daunting, I must say, at first. It took me a little while to get used to it because it was definitely the biggest thing I’ve ever been a part of, it was like going to work at a city, literally. And probably that many people and dozens of cameras, all different types of cameras, super high-tech cameras, motion-capture cameras, so technically it was wild. I really came to love Andy Serkis, who I think is an extraordinary actor and just a great human being—and all the other actors, we got along great. It was a really cool experience.”
But Harrelson also spoke briefly about joining the Star Wars universe, which was just confirmed yesterday:
“It’s mind-blowing. I can’t really…you know, I never would’ve imagined that I’d get this opportunity so I’m really pumped about it. I really like those directors [Phil Lord and Chris Miller], I think they’re really great. You know let’s face it, almost any movie if the director’s great then the movie has a shot, but if they’re not obviously you’ve got very little chance of a good movie. I just feel great to be a part of that. What a cool thing.”
While the actor had to remain mum about specifics, he did confirm that he does indeed play a mentor to young Han Solo, played by Alden Ehrenreich:
“I don’t think the Force is allowing me to talk about this. They want me to keep pretty mum so I better not say too much about it. They’re pretty top secret about the script and the story… It’ll be cool to be mentoring Han Solo, that will be cool.”
Filming on Han Solo is aiming to get underway next month, but Lucasfilm keeps a pretty tight lid on those Star Wars movies so don’t expect many more details until the film’s release in 2018.
Look for Steve’s full interview with Harrelson on Collider soon, which has much more about his daunting plan for Lost in London.