Every once in a great while one of those rare occurrences happen when we discover an actor at the very beginning of their burgeoning career. “Alden Ehrenreich (pronounced “air-ren-rike”) is just such a phenomenon.
Alden grew up in Los Angeles. In true “stuff of legends” fashion Alden was discovered by Steven Spielberg in a bat mitzvah video Ehrenreich made with a friend when he was 14. Alden told Rolling Stone magazine in February of 2016: “It’s a piece of shit,” the actor says, laughing. “It’s a video that this girl asked us to do. I mean, there wasn’t a script: We would go and just film whatever made us laugh. I’m this 14-year-old, skinny little kid with long hair. I break into her house, try on her clothes and make up a song. All of this is just us literally taking a camera and going like, ‘Okay, ha ha, do this.’ We showed it to our parents — ‘We’re gonna play this at her bat mitzvah!’ — and they were like, ‘You look like an idiot in this. I don’t think you should really do that.’ We didn’t care.”
Alden attended New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts although whether or not he graduated is up for debate. The Tisch School refers to him as a 2012 graduate but the Wall Street Journal says he didn’t.
Early acting roles consisted of guest spots on the premiere season of Supernatural (in an episode that included Glee’s Cory Monteith!) and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Ehrenreich’s first movie role was for legendary director Francis Ford Coppola in his film Tetro (2009). The duo would reunite in 2011 for Twixt. Don’t feel bad if you have never heard of these two films. They were not exactly box office smashes. Alden’s next movie had a far wider reach and an impressive cast.
Beautiful Creatures (2013) was based on a successful southern gothic book series and starred Alden as the brooding lead and heavy hitters Emma Thompson, Viola Davis and Jeremy Irons. Sadly, the story failed to capture the post-Twilight audience it was hoping for. While 2013 may have started off rocky but it ended pretty strongly for Alden. First up was a small part in Korean director Chan-wook Park’s Stoker. And the year wrapped out with Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine. Alden had some key scenes with star Cate Blanchett, who Ehrenreich said upped his game.
So what we have here is all prologue to what would end up being a couple career making roles. After a sabbatical to produce and act in some short films of his own with the artistic collective Collectin, Alden was cast in the Coen Brothers raucous Hail, Caesar! (2016) as singing cowboy Hobie Doyle. He had to familiarize himself with horseback riding, trick roping (the spaghetti lasso was the hardest), gun twirling and playing guitar. If you haven’t seen this film check out the hilarious clip of Ralph Fiennes trying to direct the hapless Hobie on how to pronounce his line. The video is below.
When Warren Beatty decided to come back to directing he chose Alden to play an ambitious chauffeur in 1950’s Hollywood in the film Rules Don’t Apply (2016). It turns out Beatty would become more than just Alden’s director, he would become his mentor, encouraging him to continue writing and directing his own short films, thus guaranteeing a fulfilling career both in front of and behind the camera.
This leads us to the big casting news of 2016 and what is sure to launch our boy into space, literally. It was announced at the 2016 Star Wars Celebration that Alden was chosen over a host of hot up and comers to take on the role of young Han Solo in a stand-alone prequel. Ehrenreich told Interview Magazine: “Well, I had an audition process that went on for a long time, and I got to spend a lot of time with the guys who are directing the film. Getting to be around them and being around the world a little bit has been the main experience so far. I did my audition on the Millennium Falcon for one of my screen tests, which was pretty cool.” Pretty cool?! To say the very least.
You’re going to want to get in on the ground floor on this one, trust me. This Alden kid is going places: red carpets, movie premieres, award shows, a galaxy far far away. You’ll see. And you have to admit, our track record is pretty good so far.