Looking at Woody Harrleson's resume, it's obvious the man likes to diversify his acting choices. In recent years he's had a solid blockbuster presence with movies like The Hunger Games, but he also likes to jump on to smaller, more independent projects like The Edge of Seventeen. While his career is at a point where he could likely just stick to major motion pictures if he wanted to, the reason he still signs on to these smaller movies is because he likes making the extra effort to ensure that they're successful. He explained:
A movie like Han Solo or Planet of the Apes, these movies are going to be huge. There's no stopping the juggernaut. You do these other movies like Wilson, and it's like having a child that needs a little extra care. I do think they get my heart. But I feel lucky to be doing any of these things (and) still be working at the ripe age of 55.
Woody Harrelson provided the above answer during an interview with USA Today when asked if he finds himself more drawn to "spectacle films." He has a point in terms of how such cinematic tales perform. Obviously there's no guaranteeing ahead of time that movies like War for the Planet of the Apes or the Han Solo movie will be critical darlings, but they also come from established franchises. Even if Harrelson wasn't involved with either of those movies, they would still make a lot of money because audiences are familiar with the intellectual properties, and since both of the examples Harrelson provided are also sequels, their predecessors also collected quite a bit of money in theaters. For instance, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes earned more than $710 million worldwide, while Rogue One, the latest Star Wars movie, took in over $1 billion. The chances are strong that what follows later in those respective series will also be big money earners, even if they don't necessarily receive great reviews.
A movie like Wilson, on the other hand, is harder to guarantee success. Sure you can attach actors like Woody Harrelson and Laura Dern to the cast, but there's still a lot of unknown variables in the mix, and the cast and crew have to work extra hard to make sure the movie is well-received, thus getting more people to see it in theaters and ensuring it takes in more money. So from Harrelson's perspective, he has extra incentive to perform the hell out of these kinds of roles (if I might get "technical"), and taste-wise, the smaller movies are more in line with his "heart." Overall, though, Harrelson clearly just feels fortunate that he's not only still acting, but being given such a wide selection of roles. Way to go, man!
You can see Woody Harrelson in Wilson starting this Friday, March 24, and he'll return to the big screen later this year in War for the Planet of the Apes when that is released in theaters on July 14.