Gangster’s paradise: Paul Bettany begged Ron Howard via text to join “Solo: A Star Wars Story”

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Lucasfilm(NEW YORK) -- Actor Paul Bettany is still in theaters as Vision in Avengers: Infinity War, but on Friday you can see him without the purple android makeup as the villain in Solo: A Star Wars Story

Was the actor hesitant to jump into another massive movie franchise. "No!" he told ABC Radio emphatically. "In fact, I chased it!"

Solo reunited Bettany with his Da Vinci Code director Ron Howard, whom he considers family. Howard also directed both Bettany and his wife Jennifer Connelly in A Beautiful Mind, a role that earned her an Oscar. 

So when Howard replaced Solo's directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, Bettany saw his chance.

"I texted Ron and I said, 'Ron: I heard the news, and have you ever spent long winter evenings wondering why you aren't in the Star Wars franchise? And he texted back, 'Give me a couple of weeks.'"

A couple of weeks later, Bettany found himself on the set, playing the intergalactic crime lord Dryden Vos.

What can Bettany reveal? "Uh, I can tell you that he is a big-time gangster, and if you want to do a piece of work...a heist or whatever, in his galaxy, you have to pay him tribute."

Sure enough, a young Han Solo, played by Alden Erenreich, and his onscreen mentor Beckett, played by Woody Harrelson, find themselves under the thumb of the ruthless character. "He was so much fun to play," enthuses Bettany. 

"The costumes are fantastic, they have somehow both a Western cowboy aesthetic with a sort of Japanese aesthetic -- sort of a samurai gunslinger thing that was --  yeah, it's just, I just -- I had a ball!"

Solo, which also stars Donald Glover and Emilia Clarke, is from Lucasfilm and Disney, parent company of ABC News.

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