Money isn’t everything for the star of Star Wars most expensive film ever. Alden Ehrenreich, who plays Han Solo in the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story, recently spoke with Wealthsimple’s recurring series Money Diaries about why getting paid less on films isn’t always a bad thing.
“Over the past few years, I’ve worked with some incredible, legendary directors — Francis Ford Coppola, Woody Allen, Chan-wook Park, Warren Beatty, Ron Howard, and the Coen Brothers — and I’ve discovered something fascinating: The better the director you’re working with, the less you get paid,” he explained. “For me, the experience has always been worth it,” he added. Ehrenreich, 28, has worked alongside some of the most acclaimed talent in Hollywood over the course of his young career, but the actor revealed that before getting into show business, his day jobs weren’t always so glamorous.
“When I was 13, I got my first job — working on my uncle’s passion fruit farm in Santa Barbara,” he said. “My duties were to pick and sort passion fruit, install fence posts and irrigation systems, and drive a large tractor.” Now, Ehrenreich’s duties include being the face of a $250 million film and budding franchise, which promises to reveal the origin story behind the beloved character first played by Harrison Ford. But even as a movie star, he said he still hasn’t developed a taste for the finer things.
“I sometimes wish that lavish spending could bring me happiness, but I’ve found that the one thing that brings me the most joy is something that costs me the least amount of money — reading books,” he explained. “My favorites? Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse. John Steinbeck’s East of Eden. Anything by Alan Watts. I just read Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead,” he added.
Ehrenreich previously opened up to PEOPLE about getting Ford’s blessing to take over the role. “Harrison was awesome, it was awesome just to meet him and have lunch with him,” he said. “I met him at his airplane hangar in Santa Monica and we sat with like five planes around us. He basically said, ‘Tell them I told you everything you need to know, but that you can’t tell anyone anything.’ ”
Solo: A Star Wars Story also stars Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian, who was played by Billy Dee Williams in the original trilogy. The film flies into theaters May.