Alden Ehrenreich Says He Didn’t ‘Know Myself’ Well Enough to Carry ‘Solo’ in His 20s

Thanks to his recent appearance in Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer,” Alden Ehrenreich is back in the spotlight five years after the biggest role of his career in “Solo: A Star Wars Story.”

While that galactic spin-off got mixed reviews and poor box office numbers, Ehrenreich says that looking back he doesn’t think he had enough experience yet to step into the shoes of Harrison Ford’s legendary smuggler.

In an interview with Vanity Fair, the 33-year-old Ehrenreich said he saw “Solo” as a “great platform in which I could do my own thing,” but realized after finishing the film that he didn’t have enough of a sense of who he was as an actor to properly play the character. There were even reports that Lucasfilm hired an acting coach to help Ehrenreich after the studio wasn’t impressed with his initial performance.

After “Solo” was released and flopped at the box office, Ehrenreich took time off from acting to work on his craft.

“What I realized at that point is: I hadn’t built my own thing enough to be able to do it. … I knew that I didn’t know myself in that way yet, and that takes a certain amount of time and effort and failure in its own kind of enclosed way. That’s what I spent that time doing,” Ehrenreich said.

Over the past year, Ehrenreich has come out of his hiatus with a slew of critically praised performances. His most prominent one came in “Oppenheimer,” in which he appeared opposite Robert Downey Jr. as a Senate aide to Lewis Strauss, the head of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission who faces a cabinet confirmation hearing where his tense relationship with J. Robert Oppenheimer is brought out into the open.

Ehrenreich has also appeared in Elizabeth Banks’ R-rated action comedy “Cocaine Bear,” the Netflix and Sundance erotic thriller “Fair Play” and in his own directorial debut short film “Shadow Brother Sunday,” which screened at Tribeca this year and which he plans to turn into a feature film.

“What I find exciting on screen to watch is when something real is happening between two people—not two actors who are delivering performances to each other,” he said. “Chemistry is a word that gets bandied about a lot, but when it’s really real, it feels like you can go deeper into what’s happening and play closer to the edge of the cliff.”

“Solo: A Star Wars Story” is available to stream on Disney+. “Oppenheimer” will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on Nov. 21.

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