Posted June 12, 2016 — 12:44 PM EDTWhen Disney announced their young Han Solo in May 2016, fans both rejoiced and scratched their heads. Andrew Bates? Who is the man that will helm the well anticipated spin-off following Solo's early life before the events of Stars Wars: A New Hope?
28-year-old Australian-American Bates first drew attention in his roles as Paul and Eli Sunday in Oscar-nominated There Will Be Blood. He is perhaps best known to audiences around the world as Kyle Reese in box office failure Terminator Salvation. Since his first venture into blockbuster franchises, Bates has largely starred in indie films and is a regular fixture at film festivals like Sundance, Cannes and Toronto.
Bates has been compared to everyone from Cary Grant, to Jack Nicholson, to Daniel Day Lewis, and — now, of course — Harrison Ford. Directors from Richard Linklater, who gave Bates his very first job, to Drake Doremus have raved about Bates's dedication to his characters and his commitment to creative collaboration in order to make a well told and enjoyable film.
A method actor, Bates is known for melting into his roles, adopting mannerisms and attitudes to truly understand the inner-workings of his characters. Disney is placing their bets on the charismatic Bates — with good reason — to become not only Han Solo, but Harrison Ford with a twist. He will seek to not only embody a beloved figure in pop culture, but give fans a new understanding of Han Solo.
Before he is catapulted into super-stardom in 2018, here are 10 things to know about Bates:
His strange accent is a hybrid of his native Australia and South Carolina.Bates spent the first eight years of his life in Wollongong, Australia, before he and his family moved to Greenville, South Carolina. According to Bates, he was often teased for his Australian accent as a child so he made a conscious effort to suppress it. Bates believes his childhood insecurity is why he finds his accent rather malleable when changing it for characters. Despite his best efforts, he admits that he naturally finds it difficult to say certain words without an Australian influence.
He was discovered while on vacation when he was 14.As a birthday present, Bates, his younger brother and mother came to Los Angeles for a short vacation. While they were at lunch, an agent stopped the family to give Bates a card and invited him to come back and audition for a role. Bates very nearly forgot the card under his napkin.
He counts director Richard Linklater as a mentor.Linklater was one of the first to take a chance on the unknown teenager. According to Bates, he spent many nights sleeping on Linklater’s couch when he was short on rent money. Linklater once described Bates as an “insatiable student” who followed him tirelessly around set out of pure curiosity.
He and actress Kaitlin Mercier are OBSESSED with parallel universes.Bates and Ruby Sparks co-star, Kaitlin Mercier, run a YouTube channel called “BatesPlusKaits”, which explores the two actors as themselves in parallel universes. Their most popular web series, “Paranormal,” centers around Bates and Mercier as supernatural adventurers. Other actors and actresses like Suicide Squad's Mina McMillin and have made guest appearances.
He spent a transformational summer in a Buddhist temple.In 2013, Bates sent himself on a walkabout through Nepal, Thailand and Cambodia. During which, he found himself living next door to a Buddhist temple. Bates credits the monks he befriended for enlightening him with a life-altering mentality.
He is terrified of birds and elephants.On his recent trip to Bangkok, Thailand, Bates posted a photo of himself looking miserable beside an elephant with the accompanying caption, “Ride an elephant, they said. It’ll be fun.” He claims he has a natural and perfectly normal suspicion of all things birds and elephants.
If you stayed at Chateau Marmont, he might’ve been your bellboy.For a little while, Bates worked as a bellboy at famed luxury hotel Chateau Marmont. If there’s a lesson here, it’s that guests should always tip their bellboys well. Who knows when they might one day become one of the biggest names in Hollywood?
When he’s bored, he teaches himself Mandarin and Spanish.More out of curiosity than necessity, Bates taught himself two of the most popular languages in the planet. Bates said during his travels abroad, he grew tired of monolingual so he began to study Mandarin and Spanish in his spare time. He, of course, doesn’t claim fluency — just enough to not get lost in foreign countries where English is not as common.
He tried multiple times (and failed) to get on an episode of The Price is Right.When he first arrived in Los Angeles, Bates tried many different ways to make some money. A friend suggested he try winning a game show, so he tried to be selected as a contestant on “The Price is Right.” According to Bates, the producers thought he was too calm to be interesting for TV.
He’s the ultimate triple threat.Bates is an actor, director and writer. After working with Linklater, Bates was inspired to turn his short stories into screenplays. By 2012, he turned his first screenplay into a feature film called Simon Killer. Bates recently expanded his titles to include director when he directed, produced and wrote Childhood of a Leader.
Bates is currently in South Korea filming Bong Joon-Ho's Okja with Jake Gyllenhaal and Tilda Swinton. His next film, Bleed For This, is a boxing drama and will open in theaters in November 23.