Woody Harrelson: ‘Playing a thief in Solo felt like putting on a glove that really fits’

The Emmy-winning star of Venom and Solo: A Star Wars Story on why being a criminal was his back-up career

Woody Harrelson (Getty, FC)

The Hollywood star on binge-watching, Solo: A Star Wars Story — and the criminal career that never was…


What are you watching, Woody?

My favourite shows are Westworld, The Handmaid’s Tale and The Young Pope. Oh, and Peaky Blinders! I like to wait until a whole series has aired before I watch it, because it’s just too frustrating to wait. I watched all of Mad Men, all of The Sopranos, all of Breaking Bad. Man, I just sit and binge.

As a fan of Westworld, was it exciting to work with Thandie Newton on Solo: A Star Wars Story earlier this year?

I knew Thandie before she was on Westworld, and what an amazing lady. She’s a great actress, but she’s also one of the funniest people I ever met. We had long days making Solo: A Star Wars Story, and just spent them laughing. What an awesome person.

What can you see from your sofa?

You can see a beautiful view of Maui [a Hawaiian island in the Pacific]. That’s what you see from my couch. I don’t have a traditional set-up.

What’s your sofa like?

Er, why does it matter? Come on, what’s next?

OK, let’s try this – what do you think you would have been if you hadn’t been an actor?

A criminal. I just know me, I know how I think. I would have wanted to have this lifestyle, but I probably wouldn’t have done all the work necessary. And so I would’ve become a thief. Or a drug dealer. Playing a thief in Solo did feel like putting on a glove that really fits.

You’re in the new superhero movie, Venom – do you think there are too many films like that these days?

I don’t mind if they make a million of them, what do I care? But I do think there is a trend now for the movies that people see to be these kind of giant superhero movies. So I don’t know if that squeezes out some of these smaller films. It’s very hard to get an independent film seen in this day and age. Very, very difficult.

Speaking of indies, were you happy with the reception given to Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri?

That’s a good example, because it’s an indie that actually a lot of people did see [it won numerous awards – including two Oscars]. So that’s a rarity. It was great, you could just feel it – when we took it to the Venice Film Festival, the response was outstanding. That’s when we all thought, “Mmm… people are gonna see this movie!”

You got your start in Cheers on television and you made True Detective a few years ago – do you ever think about returning to the small screen?

I am coming back! I have two TV projects I want to do. Better not mention them because nothing’s real yet, but there’s two things I think are great that I’ll probably do.

What are the advantages of working in television compared with film?

Well, the advantage of TV filming is that you’re in one place for a while. And that’s cool if you’re going to be with your family. And you get to explore a character for a little deeper and longer. I know as a viewer there are these characters you fall in love with, and if it was just two hours and then you didn’t ever see them again, it’d be a drag. Like The Handmaid’s Tale – if that was two hours I’d feel cheated!


Venom will be out in UK cinemas from Friday 5th October