UNILAD Talks To Woody Harrelson And Thandie Newton About Solo: A Star Wars Story

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Val and Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson and Thandie Newton) In Solo: A Star Wars StoryLucasfilm

Solo: A Star Wars Story, the latest instalment in the Star Wars saga, has just blasted into UK cinemas to the delight of fans everywhere.

So when Disney invited UNILAD to chat with two of the film’s stars, Woody Harrelson and Thandie Newton, who play Tobias and Val Beckett we jumped at the opportunity.

UNILAD: You guys are playing two original characters, how do they fit into the wider Star Wars universe and do you guys have a backstory for them?

Thandie: Yeah we do, we created our own backstory, very threadbare but just to give us a sense of how we’d play them.

Woody: We were on job and I saved her life…

Thandie: And I saved his.

[Both laugh]

Thandie: I think they’ve both been integral in each other’s survival.

Woody: Well you save me during the movie but I think I saved yours prior to the movie.

Thandie: Yeah, I’ll give you that! Basically, Val and Tobias need each other, they’re yin and yang. He’s the ideas man and Val’s the engineer making it happen, and I love the fact you’ve got this couple who clearly love each other but they don’t need any overt displays of affection.

You know they love each other through the way they bicker!

Woody Harrelson: There were overt displays they just didn’t make it into the movie.

Thandie: That’s true.

Woody Harrelson In Solo: A Star Wars StoryLucasfilm

UNILAD: See it’s interesting that you mention they love each other because Beckett’s philosophy of self-reliance seems in conflict with that.

Woody: Well he obviously met a woman who’s more than his match, she’s just extremely powerful, strong and smart.

Thandie: She’s capable, efficient, I mean…

Woody: Can I say lovely?

Thandie: Course you can!

Woody: She’s basically like Thandie, she’s hysterical!

Thandie: Without the humour! You know Val’s not got a lot of humour, she’s pretty humourless.

But these two need each other and I think it’s really important that we establish this at the start of the film and then Solo comes into their world and it’s risky to take this kid under their wing like his surrogate parents.

Thandie Newton as Val Beckett in Solo: A Star Wars StoryLucasfilm

UNILAD: It’s interesting you say surrogate parents because these guys sort of shaped the person who Han became. You shaped a legend and retroactively informed everything Harrison Ford’s character did.

Thandie: It’s really cool!

Woody: It’s amazing, Harrison wouldn’t have even have had a career without us [slow chuckle]

Thandie: Seriously though you go in with the best intentions but at the end of the day we were playing this movie with Alden and he gave us so much to work with.

You know we’re a group of actors who’ve worked on TV, stage and film and one of the things I loved about this fantastic group of actors was there was no ego, we were playing these roles, giving them as many layers as we could.

And the icing on the cake is that Harrison has blessed the film and given Alden his blessing, you know you go in without those expectations but is special when you get them.

Woody: Yeah Harrison loved it.

Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) in Solo: A Star Wars StoryLucasfilm

UNILAD: How does it feel informing a whole new Star Wars saga?

Woody: It’s really cool, especially because as you know there was a lot that happened during the course of filming and it took so long so we didn’t know how it was going to turn out.

So it’s thrilling that we can watch it and be like ‘Man is this movie good’, we watched it with some hardcore fans in LA and the response was just great! And a lot were saying it’s their favourite one.

Thandie: I’m just happy my kids can watch me in something cool!

Qu'ra (Emilia Clarke) and Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich)Lucasfilm

UNILAD: Woody one quick last question, Zombieland 2 was just announced, what can you tell me about it?

Woody: Was it announced or rumoured?

UNILAD: Announced?

Woody: If it is reported then yes, I can confirm that it’s probably gonna happen, I think so.

Solo: A Star Wars Story is in cinemas now!


Tom Percival

Tom Percival

More of a concept than a journalist, Tom Percival was forged in the bowels of Salford University from which he emerged grasping a Masters in journalism. Since then his rise has been described by himself as ‘meteoric’ rising to the esteemed rank of Social Editor at UNILAD as well as working at the BBC, Manchester Evening News, and ITV. He credits his success to three core techniques, name repetition, personality mirroring, and never breaking off a handshake.