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Ron Howard, ‘Willow’ Team on Starting ’80s Movie for Disney+ Show – The Hollywood Reporter

Ron Howard, ‘Willow’ Team on Starting ’80s Movie for Disney+ Show – The Hollywood Reporter

In 1988, Jonathan Kasdan looked at the fantasy adventure Willow for the first time at Westwood’s Regency Village Theater with his father and Star Wars screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan. 34 years later, Kasdan — now co-writer and executive producer of the series’ reboot of the original film — returned to the same theater on Tuesday for the premiere of Disney+’s Willow.

“It’s kind of like coming home,” executive producer Roopesh Parekh told me The Hollywood Reporter. “I think what’s been key to the whole show, getting it off the ground, but also getting to this point, is the love, passion and enthusiasm of Jon Kasdan. He’s kind of navigated the whole thing for the last four years. It has been his dream to tell our story.”

“Without Jon, we wouldn’t have a series,” added Warwick Davis, who reprises his role as Willow in the series. “He is passionate about Willow and really understand what it means to the fans.”

Joanne Whalley, who starred in the original film as Sorsha, echoed a similar sentiment. “I think it was a mixture of dread and excitement, right?”, Whalley recalled of not knowing what to expect from the reboot. “Like, ‘Oh God, really? What the hell are you going to do with it? Please don’t ruin it. But any doubts I had were very quickly wiped away by the amazing Jon Kasdan. I think he understands this material , perhaps more than anyone who was involved in the film, or who will be.”

Ron Howard, who directed the original Willow film, also executive producing the new series. Howard has previously directed Solo: A Star Wars Story, which Kasdan co-wrote with his father. It was in the production of the Han Solo prequel that Kasdan first came up with the idea of ​​revitalizing Willow with Howard.

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“I was very excited because I always had in my mind that once Lucasfilm and [Kathleen Kennedy] kind of stabilized on Disney going forward that I really wanted to push Willow as a show,” Howard explained. “George Lucas had always thought it should be a series. It’s been a dream for George and I to do it as a show. And when Disney+ started to take off, I just felt, ‘ Let’s build that vision.’ And Jon Kasdan already had such a good approach to doing it that wasn’t about being nostalgic or retro, but still true to the roots of the movie. He had really good creative instincts about where to take the show.”

Ron Howard and Warwick Davis

Ron Howard and Warwick Davis

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

“What’s wild about it for us is that we’re used to standing in the rain, kind of hoping for food, hoping that we’ll wrap, cry, work hard, knee-deep in mud,” Kasdan joked about the time. spent filming the show in Wales. “It’s not like we’re associated with huge amounts of glamor and glitz, and yet here we are [at the premiere]. It’s definitely pretty crazy.”

The series picks up 20 years after the events of the original film, as wizard Willow Ufgood (Davis) leads a group of misfits on a dangerous rescue mission to defeat an unknown evil. At the heart of the story are also the journeys of three women – Princess Kit (Ruby Cruz), Jade (Erin Kellyman) and Dove (Ellie Bamber).

“[Kit] gave me the opportunity to kind of represent an accurate representation of what it means to grow up as a young woman and the complications of that, rather than this kind of picture-perfect idea of ​​what that means,” Cruz said of her character. “That romanticization of growing up. I feel like she gave me such an opportunity to show that the complicated messy parts are important, that we shouldn’t run away from them. We should pay attention to them.”

“I’m excited for people to get to know our characters and see them go on this journey,” Kellyman added. “I hope that amidst all the fantasy and magic, they find a character they can relate to. I think all of our characters are very different and I think there’s really something for everyone.”

Davis hopes the audience will be “thoroughly entertained and have a great experience and magical time.” The actor continued, “Hopefully it will be something you can sit with your family and watch. I know for a fact that the film was seen by parents who then passed it on to their children, and then grandparents and so on. I hope the series is similar to the.”

Willow now streaming on Disney+.

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