Cinematographer Bradford Young has already made quite the name for himself with his masterful work on A Most Violent Year and Selma. He creates exceptionally wide cinematography with stunning color that strikes a delicate contrast between light and darkness. Collider recently sat down with Young to discuss his work on the upcoming Denis Villeneuve-directed drama, Arrival. Naturally, the conversation shifted to the highly anticipated ‘Untitled Han Solo Star Wars Story’ which Young has been hired on to shoot with directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller.
Young came as a surprise when he was announced for the project considering his dramatic vision as the Han Solo spin-off is to be helmed by Lord and Miller who are best known for their humorous outings with The Lego Movie and both 21 Jumpstreet and 22 Jumpstreet. From what it sounds like, it seems like it would be best to take all of our assumptions for what the Han Solo film will be like and chuck them straight out the window. Young assured Collider that he is very much in sync Lord and Miller:
“It’s funny, here’s the thing about Phil Lord and Chris Miller: don’t let their track record fool you. Don’t put those guys in a box because they have a vision, they know exactly what they want. They have no hidden agenda, but they do have an agenda; they have a way of seeing that’s very special, and their collaboration is genuinely unique. So I have to say I had to get converted into that. I respect their work, I respect them as filmmakers, but I wasn’t quite sure if there would be a good marriage between what I’m trying to pursue and the work that I’m doing and what they’re doing, but they helped make that real clear to me early on by expressing some real interesting story [and] photographic ideas that really resonated with me. So once they started really pulling me into that world, I realized how much these cats have come from the same pedagogy of filmmaking—in the visual sense for sure, and definitely from an approach in terms of how we want to make movies, they come from the same school.”
While Han and Chewie are the biggest and best source of comic relief in the entire franchise, Young teased that the film is going to much more dramatic and tense than we think:
“These cats are subversive, don’t let it fool you (laughs). They are prepared to say exactly what they wanna say and it’s complex, it’s layered, it’s smart, it’s visual, it’s dramatic, it’s funny, it’s uneasy, it’s unexpected. These cats are—I’m honored to have them in the list of directors I’ve worked with, that’s for sure.”
It sounds like Young is going to be the perfect cinematographer that will allow Lord and Miller to find the right balance between humor and drama as we are introduced to a young Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) along with a young Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover). While details on the plot have yet to be revealed, one can imagine if there was ever going to be an origin for Han Solo it would involve saving the life of Chewbacca which earns Han the life debt from Chewie. With the recently announced addition of Lando, it would be a perfect opportunity to see Lando lose the Millenium Falcon to Han. Last but not least, it would be a shame if the film didn’t include the infamous Kessel run, which Han completed in less than twelve parsecs.
With Young on board, there is no doubt the film will have some of the best cinematography seen in the franchise since The Empire Strikes Back. While it sounds like the picture will have a bold look and feel, they have to be careful so that it still feels like a Star Wars film. As Disney is expanding and fleshing out the universe of the franchise, it’s clear from the reports about the Rogue One reshoots that it is still very important to them to remain close to the tone of the original trilogy while also standing out on its own as something fresh and different. It’s a tricky balance but it sounds like Lord, Miller, and Young are the perfect fit for the second spin-off in from the Skywalker saga in the franchise.
To read the full interview head on over to Collider.