Billy Dee Williams told Donald Glover to 'just be charming' as Lando Calrissian in 'Star Wars': 'In my mind there was and ever will be only one Lando, and that's me.'

  • In his memoir, Billy Dee Williams recalled meeting Donald Glover before he starred in "Solo: A Star Wars Story."

  • Glover succeeded Williams as the rogue smuggler Lando Calrissian in the prequel movie.

  • Williams told Glover to "just be charming."

In his new memoir, "What Have We Here? Portraits of a Life," Billy Dee Williams recalled the advice he gave to Donald Glover before he played the young Lando Calrissian in "Solo: A Star Wars Story."

Williams, who played the iconic rogue smuggler in "The Empire Strikes Back," "Return of the Jedi," and "The Rise of Skywalker" didn't get the opportunity to play Lando in his own movie or Disney+ series. Glover is, however, developing a future "Lando" movie to star in himself.

Instead, when Lucasfilm and Disney started work on the Han Solo prequel movie, Glover was picked to play Calrissian in the 2018 film that explains how the pair of scoundrels met each other.

In his newly released book, Williams admitted that at the time he was disappointed that he didn't get another shot at playing young Lando.

"In the spirit of full disclosure, I wished that I had been able to jump back in time to play young Lando, because in my mind there was and ever will be only one Lando, and that's me," he said. "However, I was too old to swagger anywhere, and the job of getting behind the Millennium's controls went to Donald Glover."

Donald Glover reached out to Billy Dee Williams to discuss him playing Lando

According to Williams, the "Mr & Mrs Smith" star was the one who reached out to set up a meeting between the two to talk about the role. It was a move that the older actor appreciated.

The pair discussed why Lando was so iconic in the first place, as Williams wrote: "I didn't play Lando as a Black man," I explained. "That would've been the usual cliché, which they would've got if not for me."

He added: "To me, he was the future. Lando was a futurist. You never see what he invents, but it was always obvious to me and has become more so over the years. He invents himself."

The star joked that he spoke for too long about Calrissian and what he intended for the role, but that Glover seemed genuinely interested in what he had to say. But Williams pointed out that his main advice boiled down to a very simple idea.

"At the end of lunch, I summed up everything I thought he needed to know in three words: 'Just be charming,'" he said.

In 2017, Glover told The Hollywood Reporter that he dissected a number of ideas about Lando to Williams.

"I was like, 'I've always felt like this character could do this, and he represents this, and I kind of feel like he comes from here, and it's very obvious he has a lot of taste, so maybe he grew up seeing that from afar?'" Glover recalled. "'Because I'm like that. Maybe he saw it from other planets and was like, 'I want to be that.'"

He added that Williams listened to all of his thoughts before issuing his very simple advice.

"He just let me ramble on and on, and then finally I was like, 'So, what do you think?' And he goes, 'Yeah, I don't know about all that. Just be charming.'"

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