Any movie would be better off for including Woody Harrelson. And it appears the people behind the upcoming Han Solo spinoff flick agree wholeheartedly. The filmmakers were reportedly in the middle of searching for a big name player to portray Solo's early mentor in his developing years. And now it looks like the 55-year old star of Zombieland and Natural Born Killers is in discussions to join the cast.
Phil Lord and Chris Miller are both on board in a directorial capacity to split the pressures of the chair. Seeing recording artist and actor Donald Glover take on the responsibility to play Lando Calrissian, while Alden Ehrenreich has the tough task of following in the footsteps of Harrison Ford in the lead role. Not making a debut until May 25, 2018, producers Kathleen Kennedy and Allison Shearmur decided to move on from Christian Bale as Solo's mentor and towards the veteran Harrelson. A man who knows what is involved in a big budget franchise extravaganza.
Threat of Woody Being Typecast?
Harrelson has been around the block a few times and has shown us a wide range of what he is capable of. The good friend, the tough cop, the bad guy, the jerk, the drunk, the hero, the mercurial talent. Even the homosexual sidekick. But of late it seems he has fit into the mentor role like a duck to water, playing Haymitch Abernathy across all four features in the The Hunger Games franchise.
In some circles, this might suggest that Harrelson is at risk of being typecast. Yet his starring role in the upcoming blockbuster War for the Planet of the Apes blows that theory out of the water. The trailer alone shows Harrelson (playing a ruthless colonel) back to his frightening best. As we see his character marshaling a number of covert operations to kill and destroy the apes.
New Installment, Same Old Planet of Apes
Showing no signs of age to star in new features like The Edge of Seventeen and The Glass Castle, the 2017 sequel to Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is said to stay true to the narrative from the 1968 original. All while it brings Woody along for the ride.
The recently released trailer gives a glimpse of the mute character Nova as she rides on horseback behind Maurice the Orangutan.
With some occasional winks and nods to the series at large, this is set to be the first real feature that ties in the films of yesterday to today. With the protagonist Caesar remaining front and center. Director Matt Reeves revealed as much via an interview with Entertainment Weekly.
"The battle is not just between the humans and the apes, but in Caesar's soul," said Reeves. "The girl is his pull back to his empathy and - for lack of a better word - his human side."