Creative differences is a term that is often used loosely when a director is fired from a Hollywood movie.
But it actually appears to ring true in case of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who have been let go by Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy from directing the Star Wars spinoff that centers on the fan-favorite character Han Solo.
Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that the style and vision of Lord and Miller clashed with that of Lawrence Kasdan, the legendary screenwriter behind the classics Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark, who also wrote, with his son, Jon Kasdan, the script for the Han Solo stand-alone set (for now) to be released in 2018.
Lord and Miller (21 Jump Street, The Lego Movie) have a comedic sensibility and improvisational style while Kasdan favors a strict adherence to the written word — what is on the page is what must be shot.
The creative clash, according to one insider, also came down to differences in understanding the character of Han Solo. “People need to understand that Han Solo is not a comedic personality. He’s sarcastic and selfish,” said that source.
The friction was felt almost immediately when the movie began shooting in February, sources say, but the directors always thought it could be worked through. Kennedy, the producer and head of Lucasfilm, decided to back her lifelong colleague, who shaped much of Solo’s character in Empire and Return of the Jedi and who had a specific tone in mind for the new movie. The duo also didn’t feel they had the support of producer Allison Shearmur, who was acting as Lucasfilm’s representative on the London set.
Lord and Miller, who had relocated to London with their families for preproduction and production of the movie, were said to have been blindsided by the firing, which they learned about Monday, according to one source, although another disputed that account.
The production had gone on a short hiatus to review what had been shot and to clear the air.
“Unfortunately, our vision and process weren’t aligned with our partners on this project. We normally aren’t fans of the phrase ‘creative differences’ but for once this cliché is true. We are really proud of the amazing and world-class work of our cast and crew,” Lord and Miller said in a statement released Tuesday.
Lucasfilm and owner Disney have already targeted their replacement, although the companies are keeping mum.
Ron Howard is one of the names that has emerged, according to sources. Joe Johnston, who directed The Rocketeer and Jumanji, has been mentioned as another possible candidate.
More from: The Hollywood Reporter