Billy Dee Williams is great, guys.
Sure, let’s face it, a lifetime of hard partying had left him a few cards short of a Sabaac deck (or a few Colt 45s short of a six-pack, if you’d prefer), but despite slowing down a little in his old age, he’s still a class act.
Despite having had a fairly illustrious career, though, Williams still has a lot to say on the subject of Lando Calrissian, his character from Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
Firstly, Williams is Lando. The star would have preferred Lucasfilm retire Calrissian entirely, rather than recast him with a younger actor.
Secondly, Lando did not betray Han Solo, and Billy Dee will fight you if you say he did.
He had no choice!
Regardless on whether you believe that Lando is a traitor, or whether you’re concerned about how much a fictional character’s reputation affects Billy Dee Williams’ self-esteem, the iconic actor has things to say about his recent lunch with Donald Glover, the new model that will be replacing Williams as Lando in the upcoming Han Solo movie that nobody (especially not Billy Dee) asked for.
In spite of being generally opposed to the project (aren’t we all, Billy!), Williams remains as classy as ever, and has nothing but praise for Glover:
“He’s a very delightful young man, I must say. We had a very nice lunch and we talked for a very long time and it was very easy. He had questions about [Lando]. I guess he was doing what normal actors do, they just want to find out what direction they want to take so they gather their information. So, we just sat and talked, and I didn’t want to impose on anything he wanted to do — he’s got his own ideas, I would imagine. I know he has his own ideas. He’s a very talented young man. In fact, I was listening to some of his music [Childish Gambino, Glover’s musical alter-ego] and it’s pretty good stuff.”
D'aww! Isn’t that Billy Dee Williams a nice guy!
Anthony Daniels didn’t have anything nearly as complimentary to say when Alan Tudyk encroached on his territory as a snooty British droid.
But then, Williams does have more work on, so he doesn’t need to feel too threatened by someone else muscling in on his Star Wars gig. After a thirty year wait, Billy Dee is finally going to play Two-Face in a Batman movie.
It’s just a shame that it’s The Lego Batman Movie, and not a live-action role:
“In the Lego Movie, it’s really hard to really talk about it because it’s in pieces, but the character, it’s not like doing a feature film in that sense. There’s more of an animated feeling to it.”
Billy Dee Williams famously took the role of Harvey Dent in Tim Burton’s original Batman because he believed it would lead to him playing Two-Face in a sequel. This, of course, wasn’t meant to be, as the role was recast, with Tommy Lee Jones playing the character in Batman Forever instead.
Even in this case, though, Williams has nothing but good things to say about his replacement:
“Tommy Lee Jones was really great, and he’s one of my favorite actors, but I thought it would have been a kind of a departure and it would have been different. You win some, you lose some. I remember as a kid reading the Batman comics and seeing what the character was through illustration. The whole idea of a nice-looking guy ending up with a horrible disfigured look was pretty intriguing to me. It was like playing out two personalities.”
Man! Billy Dee, stop being so smooth, cool, and gracious! You’re making literally everyone else in Hollywood look bad!
Especially Jared Leto.
It just goes to show that while Hollywood can recast Billy Dee Williams’ iconic roles, they’ll never find someone to replace his charm.