Alden Ehrenreich Says He Didn’t ‘Know Myself’ Well Enough When He Starred in ‘Solo’

“I hadn’t built my own thing enough,” the “Star Wars” and “Oppenheimer” star says

Alden Ehrenreich, “Shadow Brother”
Photographed by Stephen Lovekin / Shutterstock for TheWrap

UPDATE: 11/16 — 10:22 AM: This piece has been edited to better reflect Ehrenreich’s comments

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 told Vanity Fair that looking back he doesn’t think he had enough sense yet of who he was as a filmmaker when he took the role. After the film’s release, he went on a hiatus and has since come back with his 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 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.

Along with “Shadow Brother Sunday,” Ehrenreich has also made a slew of critically praised performances in the past year. 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” and the Netflix and Sundance erotic thriller “Fair Play,” in which he stars opposite Phoebe Dynevor as a hedge fund analyst whose romantic relationship with a co-worker rapidly becomes volatile as the two climb the ranks of the financial world.

“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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