Star Wars legend Billy Dee Williams advised Donald Glover on playing Lando
Billy Dee Williams is certain Donald Glover will be great as his Star Wars character Lando Calrissian because he’s a “very talented young man” with his “own ideas” about the role.
Glover has been cast as a young Lando in the Han Solo anthology movie and will appear alongside Alden Ehrenreich, who will portray Han at the beginning of his days as an intergalactic smuggler.
Williams played Cloud City chief Lando in the two original trilogy movies The Empire Strikes Back and The Return of the Jedi and at the request of Glover her went for lunch with him to discuss the character and he was impressed by his plans for the character and the questions he asked.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Williams said: “He’s a very delightful young man, I must say. We had a very nice lunch and we talked for a very long time and it was very easy. I guess he was doing what normal actors do. They just want to find out what direction they want to take so they gather their information. So, we just sat and talked, and I didn’t want to impose on anything he wanted to do – he’s got his own ideas, I would imagine. I know he has his own ideas. He’s a very talented young man … Donald is eclectic, I think that’s really important particularly for the character of Lando. He is particularly eclectic in the way he approaches his art. When I talked to him I really got the sense of him being a worldly person.”
Although Williams, 79, is pleased that Lando is being brought back in a film he admits it will be strange for him to see somebody else bring his alter ego to life on the big screen, because it’s the role he is most famous for.
The Batman actor said: “To me, I guess what it is that I identify so much with Lando. I mean, Lando has been very much a part of my life for over 30 years. When I go out and do conventions and stuff like that, even though people know me from all the other things that I’ve done, certainly [Lando] takes precedence. I just never thought of anybody else being Lando. I just see myself as Lando.”
Following his casting, Glover admitted it is a “big deal” for him to be playing Lando because an action figure of the hero was the “first toy” he ever got.
The 33-year-old star – who also releases music under the moniker Childish Gambino – said: “Lando’s a big deal. He’s the first toy I ever got … It’s interesting, when you have something iconic and people pay attention to it, it’s hard. You want to live up to the expectation, but you can only live up to your own.”
The as-yet untitled Han Solo film will be directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller and also stars Game of Thrones actress Emilia Clarke and Woody Harrelson who is to play a mentor to Ehrenreich’s Solo – who was originally played by Harrison Ford in four films.