Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Exclusive interview with Joonas Suotamo “Chewbacca” in Solo: A Star Wars Story in theaters 5/25! #HanSoloEvent #HanSolo

****Disney provided an all-expense paid trip for me to cover this great event, all opinions are 100% my own ****

Recently I was able to interview the one and only Chewbacca, portrayed by Joonas Suotamo. This was such an exciting experience, Joonas Suotamo was such a presence, from his great personality to his physical presence (he was so tall!) he really gets noticed, and we could not wait to chat with him. How did Joonas feel about playing Chewbacca? Was the costume difficult to act in? How has playing basketball helped with his portrayal of Chewbacca? Read on to find out more!
 Photo Credit: Louise Manning Bishop /

Q: How did you make the jump from pro basketball player to starring as Chewbacca? Tell us the transition and how you got the role?

Joonas Suotamo:  I got the role out of the blue sky came a call one day from the Finnish Basketball Association, who had received a request for such person who has blue eyes, is seven feet tall. Yeah, anyone could find that guy. And the casting was pretty desperate at that point to find one. They called me and I said immediately I’m interested. Didn’t take a second to think about it. Because we didn’t know what the role was. So, I just said, yes, whatever it is, I’m in.  I filmed a video of me playing a caveman, half naked in my old high school gym. Just for them to see, 'cause they asked for it. They wanted to see if I could do the acting required for the film. And then, four or five months it took to really go through the process. And at the end of it, I received a call, congrats, you are gonna play Chewbacca.
Q: Did years of playing basketball prepared you for the strenuous stunts and action in the film?

JS:  I think basketball certainly gifted me extra body awareness. And also the trips I made with various team and the national team of Finland and everything. I met so many wonderful players and people. And I grew, grew up to become a very social guy. And I have always observed movements and I have always observed guys on our team who run with a very specific kinda way, and I’ve always loved the fact that we are different as humans. And I’ve always tried to imitate in a very loving way my teammates and how they run.

And that has more than anything alongside with growing up with dogs and observing them when I was a kid but secretly prepared me for the role of playing Chewbacca. And on top of that, we Fins have a very rich sauna tradition. So, I can withstand heat exceptionally well. So, basically, you could say I was born to play this role.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

An Exclusive Solo: A Star Wars interview with Paul Bettany “Dryden Vos” #HanSoloEven #HanSolo

****Disney is providing an all-expense paid trip for me to cover this great event, all opinions are 100% my own ****

In a galaxy far, far away… we had the chance to meet up with the newest Star Wars villain Dryden Vos… Ok really it was in the US not that far away in LA when we met up with Solo: A Star Wars Story star, Paul Bettany who portrays said baddie with such flair and believably. The amazing actor is also known for his many movies, including A Beautiful mind and The Davinci Code and he is well known for his voice role as J.A.R.V.I.S. and as Vision in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 24 great bloggers and I got the chance to sit down and chat with Paul, to see how Star Wars changed his world, and see how hard it is to jump from being a superhero to a being a villain and much more... read on to learn more!
Q:  You said before the Star Wars changed your world as a child.  Was there a moment for you on set when you kind of went, oh, my gosh, I’m in a Star Wars movie?

Paul Bettany:     Yeah, there were many moments where I went, oh, my gosh, I’m in a Star Wars movie.  And I think because Ron and I were, newcomers on the block as it were.  Everyone else had been in there for eight months or whatever.  And we were still totally un-jaded by it.  And I kept elbowing him and saying, were making a Star Wars movie.  We’re making a Star Wars movie.  And my first day in fact, was on my starship. I have a starship and I was coming down the spiral staircase and a super chic asymmetric cloak I think you probably all noticed.  And an R2 unit went by me with champagne flutes on and I went, f-, I’m in Star Wars! And that was amazing.

Q:  How did you become involved in the project?

PB:  This is a hugely embarrassing story which I shouldn’t tell you but I’ve got to tell you anyway.  I heard that my old mate, Ron, was doing it and in 1977 I saw Star Wars, right.  I was six years old and it took me out of the gray, miserable 1970’s London.  London was really depressed in the ‘70s, by the way.  So, it was just to be taken away to that universe and it was amazing. Suddenly, but now I’m in the Avengers so I think there’s no way I’m ever going to be asked to be in Star Wars.  Unless Ron Howard becomes the director.  And that happened.  I literally texted him this, I said, I said, hey, Ron, have you ever spent long winter evenings, like I have wondering why you’re not in the Star Wars franchise? That’s a true story.  And he said, you know, give me a moment.  And, LOL, give me a moment.  And two weeks later I was flying to London to shoot it. True story…if you don’t ask… 

The Boardwalk At Hersheypark is open this weekend be sure to visit this great addition to Hersheypark in #HersheyPA

Are you planning a visit to Hersheypark? Now is the best time to get planning, since Hersheypark is celebrating its 111th season and there are so many new and fun additions to cool concerts to yummy food trucks. There is so much to look forward to for summer 2018 at Hersheypark the fun has already started! This Memorial Day weekend there is a new and updated The Boardwalk At Hersheypark attractions, opening!

Two new family water attractions, Breakers Edge Water Coaster and Whitecap Racer, will open May 26 for guests to enjoy in The Boardwalk At Hersheypark. Breakers Edge Water Coaster will be the world’s first HydroMAGNETIC water coaster with flying saucer turns. This 14th coaster will provide splash-filled hills and sweet thrills at Hersheypark. Whitecap Racer will be the world’s longest mat racer. Both rides are family-friendly with a height requirement of a Reese’s category and up (42” and up). 

Monday, May 21, 2018

An Exclusive interview with Solo: A Star Wars Story Director, Ron Howard! #HanSoloEvent #HanSolo

****Disney provided an all-expense paid trip for me to cover this great event, all opinions are 100% my own ****

With all of the action and fun that surrounded the Solo: A Star Wars Story press trip, there was one that stood out from the rest, another thing I never in my life thought I would be able to do (besides walking the red carpet of a Star Wars premiere… so unforgettable) was being able to interview the child star, actor all around amazing director, the icon who is Ron Howard. It seem that all Ron touches turns to gold, he really has a talent for his craft. And we were very fortunate to interview the man himself. What was the most daunting part of taking on Star Wars? How does he feel to have a movie coming out around the same time as his daughter, is there any competition? Where there any Opie Taylor questions? Well read on to find out…

Board the Millennium Falcon and journey to a galaxy far, far away in Solo: A Star Wars Story, an all-new adventure with the most beloved scoundrel in the galaxy. Through a series of daring escapades deep within a dark and dangerous criminal underworld, Han Solo befriends his mighty future copilot Chewbacca and meets the notorious gambler Lando Calrissian, in a journey that will set the course of one of the Star Wars saga’s most unlikely heroes. The film stars Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Paul Bettany.
Q:  What has been the most daunting or scary part in taking on Star Wars?

Ron Howard:  I think that just the responsibility of the cast, especially, Alden Ehrenreich. It’s really such a daunting challenge. I knew there would be a lot of judgement surrounding him and his performance. But he’s such a cool customer. And he wore the responsibility very well. I know it was something that really, meant a lot to him.
Q: Did you have to walk a fine line of Harrison Ford’s Han Solo in creating a new version, younger version with Alden?

RH:  It was all about taking inspiration from Harrison. I think, I think Alden thought a little bit about the body  and that’s a sort of subtle almost subliminal link you can, you can create for the characters. When I did, for, for, for National Geographic, when we did Einstein, Genius, and Geoffrey Rush was playing the older Albert Einstein and Johnny Flynn was playing the younger.  And one of the things that they did was they spent some time together to work out some physical traits and some body language choices that the younger Einstein could use that, you know, that he would then reverberate and with, with the older Einstein. I thought that was a good idea for this. Alden, of course, had already thought about it, that phrasing, those rhythms, it was there for Alden to develop.
Q:  Can you tell us about when you got the phone call, for directing this Star Wars movie?

RH: It really came, out of a conversation that I was having with Kathy Kennedy.  I didn’t know that there, that there was any conflict, any creative differences going on with the project at all. I hadn’t, heard any of those rumors. I guess that they were out there, but I just wasn’t paying attention. She asked if Larry Kasden could come. She didn’t tell me why. And when I got there, John Kasden was there as well. I thought I wonder what they wanna talk about? Some other future Star Wars movie? And about halfway through, it just sort of came out that they were, they were in this crisis with, the young Han Solo movie. He said, would you ever consider coming in and taking over? And I said,  it’s very flattering but I can’t imagine that I would.  I urged them to reconsider and think about it. And they said, well they had already made their decision. They knew they were gonna make a change.

I read the script and I was so compelled by that script. It was really satisfying and logical. But it also had these twists and turns that were unexpected. I thought, well that’s a great jumping off place. I knew what a fantastic cast it was. And sort of over a period of about three days, like I began to weigh it and at a certain point, my wife, Cheryl, we were talking about it. And she said, I know you pretty well and I think you’re gonna be disappointed if you don’t do this.  I thought she was right, as she most always is.

Q: Were there any barriers, making a Star Wars movie?

RH: There are challenges. What I did discover is that the reason that these Star Wars movies kinda resonate with us and we see them more than once, often, is because they entertain you in so many different ways. I didn’t realize that as a fan. But when I was directing the scenes, I realized that’s a real challenge. You’ve got, action elements. You’ve got sci-fi elements that are very particular to this, this galaxy. You’ve got this blend of sort of humanity and humor and drama and then these deeper bigger themes that are, you know, really relate classic themes. It’s like playing three dimensional chess to direct these scenes. When the harmonics are right, it creates this sort of range of ways that the movies entertain you. But it’s a real challenge.
Q:  What do you think that little Opie Taylor would think of the Millennium Falcon landing in Mayberry?  

RH:  Well, I think he’d probably say, gee Pa, can I can I take a ride? (In his best Opie Taylor voice, it was adorable!)
Q: With your daughters movie (Jurassic Park Fallen Kingdom) coming out around the same time, are you competitive?

RH:  Either way, we’re in a very fortunate position. This whole experience of being a part of Star Wars and this summer’s movie lineup was so unexpected. Once we realized that our movies were coming out, a month apart or something like that, it’s kinda like a gift, I suppose. You work at something that you love. I give 110% to everything that I do. Some things click, some things not as much. I love it as a lifestyle, our way of life. And, and I’ve felt very rewarded by this opportunity and I hope fans feel really good about the movie because these movies are made for the fans. And I certainly was very much in agreement with that and working for the fans in this particular instance.
Q:  When Han Solo dies in The Force Awakens, how did that affect how you directed this film?

RH:  I thought it was very powerful in that, in that movie. And, and it also reflected the kind of complexity, the thematic ideas that I think give the Star Wars movies their lasting value. It’s fun. It’s playful. It’s exciting. But it also has these themes that, are complicated and run deep… And, and in its own playful way, I think Solo, you know, asks some of those questions of, what’s it like in those more sort of moral gray areas?

When your, your survival is at stake and you’re presented with, with choices that you might not necessarily be proud of… and it’s not just the Han Solo character. It’s a number of characters. There, this is a story about young people who are on a quest for their freedom. And they’re struggling for that. And in very difficult oppressive times. And a really challenging corner of the galaxy. I think sort of knowing the outcome gives the story of young Han Solo even more power and more weight. And I think in many ways makes you even more curious about what make, what might have made him tick, what makes him tick.
Ron also shared a really cool fact, did you know that this story was hatched before Disney acquired Lucas Film and came up with the business plan to do more Star Wars movies… Years back they were thinking beyond the saga movies, thinking of what the fans would like and they came up with a young Han Solo movie. Very interesting!  I have read that Ron is a down to earth guy, and as non-Hollywood as they come and after this interview, I would have to agree. Ron was personable sweet and laid back, just like I had read.  Even when there was time for only one more question, two people spoke up at the same time and Ron said, now there is time for two more questions. He is super busy in the middle of a long day of press junkets but he wanted to make sure everyone got their questions, no matter how busy he was, such a nice guy.

Solo: A Star Wars Story is in theaters this Memorial Day weekend, May 25th, 2018. I will have more of great interviews with the cast of Solo: A Star Wars Story to share with you soon, including exclusive chats with Woody Harrelson “Tobias Beckett”, Paul Bettany “Dryden Vos”, Joonas Suotamo “Chewbacca”, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge “L3-37”, be sure to stay tuned!

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Solo: A Star Wars Story opens in theaters everywhere on May 25th!

Disclosure: The reviews and or opinions on this blog are my own opinions. No monitory compensation was received. I was not required to write a positive review. Your experience may differ. The opinions I have expressed are my own I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsement and Testimonials in Advertising.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Exclusive interview with Emilia Clarke “Qi’ra” from Solo: A Star Wars Story #HanSoloEvent #HanSolo

****Disney provided an all-expense paid trip for me to cover this great event, all opinions are 100% my own ****

While in Los Angeles for the Solo: A Star Wars Story press day we were very fortunate to be able to interview the talented actress Emilia ClarkeEmilia is best known for playing Daenerys Targaryen in the HBO series Game of Thrones, the "Mother of Dragons". She also starred as Sarah Connor in Terminator Genisys, and now I am sure Emilia Clarke will be known for her role as Qi’ra in Solo: A Star Wars Story.  When Emilia Clarke entered the room she brought the sunshine, her smile was infectious and she seemed genuinely excited to be able to talk to our amazing group of moms (and dad..). When did Emilia become a fan of Star Wars? Does she have a preference, the stage or the big screen? How was it working with Ron Howard?... Read on to learn more!
 Photo Credit: Louise Manning Bishop /

Q: When did you become a Star Wars fan of the entire franchise?

Emilia Clarke I wasn’t around when it first came out.  I wasn’t born then, but my brother was a huge fan.  So when I was little we would dress up as a Halloween. I didn't know what was going on you know. I’m like, “Okay, cool I’ll hold this thing and I’m like put some wipers on my head, but then when episode 7 came out and I went to go and watch that with him I became a fan because I suddenly realized what everyone must have felt in 1977 when it first came out.  The enormity-- like this is how a movie should be made. This is what they should look like, this is a blockbuster.  As soon as that happened I was like, “I need to be a part of this.  This is like how it’s done.  This is how everybody should make a movie.”  So it was kind of from then on I just watched everything and then now I’m here.
Q: What resonates with you about your character? Were there similarities between your personality and Qi'ra?

EC:   I think that Qi'ra is definitely a survivor. She does what she needs to do to keep being around.  I think it’s fun because what you get to see with her is you see her and Han from the very beginning, from kids. You kinda’ get to see a youthful like where they both came from, when nothing was too serious you know what I mean?  They were just surviving and Bonnie and Clyding their way out.  He’s now separated and you see her later on in life. She’s lived a huge amount in the short time that we don’t see her.  And I had to grow up really quickly.  Again this was my first job and then you know literal Baptism by Fire. So I in that so like how much you know you just gotta’ hustle, you gotta’ up grow up real quick.  So I think that was a bit of that that I got, but not to the level of her at all. 
 Photo Credit: Louise Manning Bishop /

Q:  Were you intimated at all at playing the woman who came before Princess Leah?

EC:   Well I just tried not to think about it.  I’m not gonna' lie. It’s scary enough like standing under the Star Wars banner but having that as well. I was like it’s before her so I don’t need to spend too much time worrying about... I don’t know you know what my next 10 years are gonna' look like.  So I can kind of step away from that.  I’ll let Alden take all that heat.  You carry that one honey.  It’s okay I’ll be okay.
Q:  How much of an influence do you think Qi'ra had on Han?

 EC:    I mean loads, hopefully.  I think that those first relationships are really important and in shaping who you are as a person and I think this was a part of that.   Is that every character is a part of the character that we know and love that Harrelson played later on and every character he meets kinda’ plays into another little lesson that he’s learned along the way that has allowed him to be who he is later on. 
Q:  You do play really strong women. How do you want young girls to look up to you?  What do you want them to come away with?

EC: I get kind of do you play a lot of strong women questions a lot and I what I would love is we’re just women.  You can take strong out of the equation.  It just is what we are, strength is within us as women.  And that is it would be wonderful if for the young girls who are watching me play these characters now just see that as a part of being a woman.  As opposed to it being a choice of like, “Oh I’m gonna' be a strong woman or I’m not gonna' be a strong woman.”  You are, we all are.  You have it in you anyway, so just go get it. 

Disclosure: The reviews and or opinions on this blog are my own opinions, . No compensation was received. All opinions are my own. This is a unofficial fan site that is not affiliated with the Walt Disney Company or Disney theme parks.

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