When Ron Howard was handed the keys to the Millennium Falcon and given the task of finishing production on Solo: A Star Wars Story, actor Paul Bettany was put into a situation not many people get the chance to be in. Suddenly, a guy he knew and had worked with previously was in charge of a Star Wars movie. So, naturally, Bettany did what any self-respecting man in his 40s would do. He begged for a role.

Specifically, as revealed in his recent appearance on The Tonight Show, the begging took the form of a text that read, “Have you ever spent long winter evenings wondering why you’re not in the Star Wars franchise? I have.” Howard got the Death Star-sized hint and responded, “LOL I’ll get back to you.” Next thing he knew, Paul Bettany was strutting around a space yacht playing the role of Dryden Vos, a sadistic, near-human space crime lord who likes his champagne delivered via R2 unit. “I was six years old again. It was amazing,” he said.

Likely, his wasn’t the only pleading text message Ron Howard received, so the director must have known Bettany would bring something special to the role. Maybe he saw some of his work in the Avengers movies and knew he could pull off the difficult task of acting while wearing a cape. It’s harder than it looks.

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