Texting is a fast and effective form of communication for the average person. But in the high-stakes world of Hollywood, it appears that sending the right text to the right person can get you a job in one of the biggest film franchises of all time. In a late-night TV appearance, one “Star Wars” actor revealed he had sent a text to the director of “Solo” to ask for a part in the “Star Wars” universe. Here are all the details we know about how a text message helped one actor to secure a role as a villain in the “Star Wars” universe.
Paul Bettany Texted Ron Howard to Ask for a ‘Star Wars’ Role
During an appearance on “The Tonight Show” with host Jimmy Fallon, actor Paul Bettany shared an anecdote about how he got the role of villain Dryden Vos in “Solo”. It seems to have all came down to a text message. During his appearance, which can be seen in the video above, Bettany explains that he texted Ron Howard about the possibility of playing a character in the long-running sci-fi franchise.
Bettany’s text read: “Have you ever spent long winter evenings wondering why you’re not in the Star Wars franchise? I have.”
Howard’s response was: “LOL I’ll get back to you.” As Bettany revealed later in the same interview, within two weeks of sending that text, he was on his way to join the cast of “Solo”.
Ron Howard was brought into the production of “Solo” rather late in the process. According to Variety, Howard was tapped to take over directing duties on the film after producer Kathleen Kennedy fired the original directors, the directing team of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. Ron Howard is an Oscar-winning filmmaker, who got his big career break as a child actor on the set of “The Andy Griffith Show”. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Howard appeared in over 200 episodes of the classic series, where he was credited as Ronny Howard.
Bettany Appears in Both the Star Wars Universe and Marvel Cinematic Universe
Bettany ultimately appeared in “Solo” alongside actor Donald Glover. Both men have the distinction of appearing in both the Star Wars films and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In the MCU, Bettany plays Vision, and also voiced JARVIS in the “Iron Man” films. Glover had a small role in the film Spider-Man: Homecoming. In “Solo”, Glover played a young Lando Calrissian, with Bettany tapped to play the film’s villain, Dryden Vos.
However, Bettany wasn’t the original choice to play the villain in the film “Solo”. In fact, according to Deadline, actor Michael K. Williams was the original villain, but his role was cut completely from the finished film when a troubled production meant that re-shoots were needed. Since Williams was already at work on another project and couldn’t make it to set for reshoots, the film was re-worked around Bettany instead. As Williams explained Deadline at the time: “They wanted me now; I couldn’t go. So they had to clip-clip-clip.”
However, not all of the texts Bettany sends to celebrities are appropriate for sharing on a late-night talk show. Bettany made headlines during Johnny Depp’s 2020 libel suit, and once again, his texts were at the center of the story. According to the Metro, Paul Bettany and Johnny Depp corresponded via text message about Depp’s then-girlfriend, Amber Heard. Some of these texts were read during court proceedings, including one text from Depp to Bettany that referenced abusing “her burnt corpse”.
Paul Bettany Is Married to His Teenage Crush, Jennifer Connelly
Paul Bettany is married to actress Jennifer Connelly. According to a profile in People, Bettany came to realize the depth of his feelings for Connelly during the events of September 11th, 2001. According to People, Paul Bettany actually proposed to Connelly before the couple had even dated, and moved in with her in New York City in the wake of the attack. Bettany discusses his relationship with Connelly in the Larry King interview above.
Bettany and Connelly first met on the set of “A Beautiful Mind”, but were involved with other people at the time. In an interview with People, Connelly recalled the early days of their acquaintance, noting he eventually used music to win her heart. “He started playing guitar and it was all over,” she said.
Bettany has repeatedly admitted to having a crush on Connolly as a young man during his interviews over the years, such as this one with Kelly Ripa. In a 2021 interview with Conan O’Brien, Paul Bettany explained that he developed a teenage crush on Connelly when he saw her in “Labrynith”, many years before he would eventually meet the actress in real life.