Good things come to those who wait. Just ask Alden Ehrenreich.
It was five years ago when he first talked with “Rules Don’t Apply” director/writer/star Warren Beatty about being in the production. The conversation came before he starred in the feature films “Beautiful Creatures,” “Blue Jasmine” and “Hail, Caesar!” and before there had been any hint that the Los Angeles native was going to be selected to play a young Han Solo in future “Star Wars” movies.
Beatty, like a lot of other directors and casting agents since that meeting five years ago, saw something in Ehrenreich that he felt would make him the perfect person to play Frank Forbes, a young man from Fresno who works as a driver for Howard Hughes in the 1960s.
Ehrenreich is happy the Hollywood icon kept him in mind.
Working with Beatty is just the latest top-drawer director for whom the young actor has worked. He has also been directed by Francis Ford Coppola, Sofia Coppola, Woody Allen and the Coen Brothers. He has tried to learn something from each one.
“I’ve been lucky that I’ve had more experiences working with great directors than having to do jobs where you just say stupid lines. I have consistently done high-level work, which is great,” Ehrenreich says during an interview at the Four Seasons.
Ehrenreich says that what he learned from Beatty was “his attention to detail, his specificity.”
He’s very active in every aspect of the film-making process. And he does everything his own way. I think the way he works is a little bit of what ‘Rules Don’t Apply’ is about.
Actor Alden Ehrenreich on director/actor Warren Beatty
“He’s very active in every aspect of the film-making process. And he does everything his own way,” Ehrenreich says. “I think the way he works is a little bit of what ‘Rules Don’t Apply’ is about.”
Although Beatty was making movies decades before Ehrenreich was even born, he showed enough confidence in the young actor to allow him to have some input into how he would play the role of Forbes. Beatty encouraged him to speak his mind and debate with him about doing the role.
The fact that it took Beatty more than 35 years to get his project on Hughes made – including the five years he took to cast Ehrenreich – means it should not come as a surprise that when it comes to filming, Beatty is in no hurry. His focus on the set is to get the scene right, no matter how long it takes.
Beatty took so much time working with Enrenreich that he even took the young actor with him to Altadena to search for locations that would stand in for Fresno.
That was reassuring to the young actor because he knew that Beatty would not move on to the next scene until everything was right.
One bonus of having so much time being connected to a project was that Ehrenreich was able to do some research. He had seen “Reds,” “Dick Tracy” and “Bonnie & Clyde,” but he used the extra time to look at some of Beatty’s other work.
Alden Ehrenreich will play a young Han Solo in an anthology film being from directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller. Filming is scheduled for 2017.
The other thing Ehrenreich had to deal with while connected to “Rules Don’t Apply” was his selection as a young Han Solo. Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller are putting together a Han Solo anthology film. Filming is scheduled for 2017.
Ehrenreich is contractually blocked from saying anything about the future project. All he is allowed to do is talk about the past and present.
“I grew up watching the movies and loving the movies and the character in particular. It’s a real treat to be invited into that world. The guys making it have a particular take on the story that is really wonderful,” Ehrenreich says. “Life is wonderful. The greatest thing for me is having the opportunity to work on a consistent basis over the last few years. There were many periods where I couldn’t work in the kind of things I wanted to do.
“These opportunities afford me the chance to pursue the career I want. Each film builds upon the last work you did.”
At least he didn’t have to wait five years between the casting and filming.