News about Alden Ehrenreich, who will play Han Solo in a new Star Wars prequel (using this gun, notes Jewcy), has been focused on the narrative that the 26-year-old actor was discovered at a bat mitzvah by Steven Spielberg when he was 14-years-old. Watch Ehrenreich, who is Jewish, explain the story below on ‘Conan,’ while he was promoting the recent Coen Brothers’ flick, ‘Hail Caesar!’ (an enjoyable film that includes fantastic acting by Ehrenreich).
“Me and my friend Johnny used to make these really stupid videos,” said Ehrenreich, referring to his creative endeavors when he was 14 years old. “He, like, punched me in the face in one and I got a nosebleed and we put it in slow motion. Stuff like that. So then this girl asked us to make one for her bat mitzvah and we made this horrible video where I’m sneaking into her house and smelling her clothes and singing a song… It showed at the bat mitzvah and Steven Spielberg was there…” (In other interviews Ehrenreich said he “ate dirt” in the video; in another he said he was trying on the clothes, not smelling them.)
Ehrenreich, dubbed “a young Jewish prince of the Palisades,” told Rolling Stone that the video was a “piece of shit. “I mean, there wasn’t a script,” he said. “We would go and just film whatever made us laugh.”
And that’s the lesson here: everybody, everywhere, keep making pieces of shit. Well, to put it a differently: continue creating the stuff—writing, video, music, whathaveyou—that inspires laughter and comes from a raw place. Sure, Ehrenreich got lucky, given that Spielberg’s interest in him ended up launching a career. But this can happen to anybody, I imagine, I hope.
So kids: keep doing what you’re doing, making things that feel good and stupid and weird and awesome or whatever the heck it is. Just be kids. Crack a few eggs. Cause some mischief. Make fun videos that get shown at bar and bat mitzvahs. And adults, be more childlike; that is, remember why you do what you do. Make stuff with the abandon of a teenager, edit with the knowledge of an adult. We’ll all be better for it, or, at the very least, get cast in a Star Wars film.
Jonathan Zalman is a writer and teacher based in Brooklyn.