By Oliver Gettell
Updated October 27, 2016 at 12:34 AM EDT
Credit: Steven Klein

Never tell Alden Ehrenreich the odds. After all, the 26-year-old rising star beat out a reported 2,500 actors to land the role of young Han Solo in a highly anticipated Star Wars spin-off movie, and he’s already collaborated with such big names as Francis Ford Coppola, Woody Allen, the Coen brothers, and Warren Beatty.

In a new profile in the November issue of Interview magazine, Ehrenrich talked about preparing to play the iconic space smuggler originated by Harrison Ford.

“I had an audition process that went on for a long time, and I got to spend a lot of time with the guys who are directing the film,” Ehrenreich said, referring to Phil Lord and Chris Miller (The Lego Movie, 21 Jump Street). “Getting to be around them and being around the world a little bit has been the main experience so far. I did my audition on the Millennium Falcon for one of my screen tests, which was pretty cool.”

He also said of his career trajectory, “It’s been so surreal that at a certain point you stop expecting [things] to feel real at all.”

Ehrenreich has yet to meet Ford, and he’s still formulating what he wants to bring to the character, but he is a longtime Star Wars fan.

“I remember pretending to be the characters in the movies when I was a little kid,” Ehrenreich said. “The last three movies I’ve done, I played a cowboy [in Hail Caesar], then I played a soldier [in Little Birds], and now I play Han Solo. So the little kid in me is having a real joyride.”

The untitled Han Solo movie is set for release in 2018. Read more from Ehrenreich at Interview.