Bryce Dallas Howard on Growing Up With Ron Howard as Her Dad: ‘A Best Case Scenario’
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Bryce Dallas Howard thought she was doing a comedy. However, she quickly learned that men cry when talking about their fathers and fathers about their children. Much.
In Dads, the documentary that the actress, whose career traveled from The Village to Jurassic World, made about modern fathers around the world, Judd Apatow cries. Will Smith cries. Jimmy Fallon is crying. The men from around the world who interviewed her cry about their own child-rearing experiences. Her own father, Oscar-winning legend Ron Howard, also sheds a few tears.
"We often joked that we could call this film Dads Cry," she laughs in an interview with The Daily Beast. "It is indeed a phenomenon."
The film, which premiered on Friday on the Apple TV + streaming service - of course timed for Father's Day - is Howard's exploration of what it means to be a father today, and shows profiles of fathers from around the world that showcase examples how the role has changed.
Prominent fathers share their own words of wisdom and experience, including Howard's famous director-father and grandfather Nance. When she decided that an expectant father would be a great addition to the project, her own brother Reed and his wife found that they were going to be parents for the first time.
"So my brother really got through," she laughs, "and the film suddenly became incredibly personal."
Aside from celebrating the myriad ways fathers are parents in today's world, this is an examination of their own relationship with their father. Their conversations in the film show how Ron Howard's own relationship with his father Nance influenced the way writers on the Andy Griffith Show wrote the connection between Opie and Andy - possibly the quintessential and formative father-son relationship of pop culture . (Try not to cry on tears when Ron and Nance discuss their feelings about it.)
She also realized how a project like this would make her vulnerable to questions that, although she was never really afraid, she was not always pleasant to grill: questions about the privilege of growing up with a famous father; the challenges that arise when dad's career keeps him traveling; What if your father's brand is the accomplished great guy? and of course what role nepotism could have played in her career.
These are questions that are not always easy because she loves her father very much and appreciates the way he raised her. But if she wanted to make a film about fathers, she knew that there was no way she could open up about herself.
"As a child of someone you know, it's a little more confident to keep things private," she says. "Don't just share a few things, because you may or may not be shown in a way that feels good, so I've always been more private and protected my family."
She starts to laugh: “But when I was making the film, I felt very comfortable and didn't think much about it at all. My father was very worried and no kidding 24 hours before the premiere at the Toronto Film Festival [where Dads made his debut] I finally realized that I was making a film that an audience will see starting with my birth. "
Yes, Ron Howard's extensive filmography includes home videos of family life during each of his wife Cheryl's four pregnancies. Each video culminates in birth recordings that every Howard child should see at some point in their childhood - just to convey a sense of the kind of intimacy that takes place in Dads.
It's not like Howard was ever one of those celebrities who built a fortress of privacy around them, for which every public statement is massaged, filtered, and refurbished by a receiving array of traders before it finds its way outside the palace walls. Her openness is as much an identifiable part of her celebrity as her red hair and her often bubbly, staccato-like cackle - often used during our conversation.
That goes for everything from her charming, pragmatic defense of Jurassic World's pseudo-controversy to her character wearing high heels as she runs through the jungle to her open discussion of unrealistic Hollywood beauty standards where she talks about how she would buy her own red carpet and press The tour looks like frustrations with a system that has made life hell for a non-sample actress rather than relying on stylists.
Then there's her latest statement after The Help, a film in which she starred, became the most popular film that was streamed on Netflix in response to the nationwide awakening of the race after George Floyd's death. “The help is a fictional story that is told from the perspective of a white character and was created by mostly white storytellers. We can all go further, ”she wrote on social media, encouraging followers to instead watch movies and series that“ focus on black lives, creators, and / or actors ”
But it is different to share something as personal as your relationship with your father and therefore open to the test as a woman who has moved up in the same industry in which her father has been so successful.
Howard began playing in uncredited roles in her father's films, including Parenthood, Apollo 13, and A Beautiful Mind. When she grew up, she loved being with her father when he directed so much that the punishment of her parents was to drive her off the set. "I remember once I said, 'You are ruining my life! How can you do this to me? She recently told CBS News.
Her parents were as in love with life as they were and made sure to raise her far from the prey of Hollywood - like on the other side of the country, in Greenwich, Connecticut. She attended Tony Greenwich Country Day School (among others) Famous alumni are George HW Bush and the Winklevoss twins. In 2006, she told Paper Magazine that the presence of these people made her feel more unique and sedentary.
"We were the craziest," she said. “Everyone was involved with old money or on the stock exchange or at IBM. We were the crazy artists who had a farm on their property. "
This does not mean that her childhood was not marked by A-list traditions. Her godfather is Henry Winkler, the co-star of her father's Happy Days. She once revealed on Bravo's Watch What Happens Live that Tom Cruise occasionally babysitted her. (Somehow ... he would do acrobatics for her and her siblings to keep them at meetings.) And then her time at the Stagedoor Manor theater camp was when she was 15, where she appeared in a Shakespeare production with Natalie Portman .
It's the kind of dissonance on paper versus personal dissonance that media creates, like, "How did Bryce Dallas Howard, born in the Hollywood aristocracy, become the kindest, sweetest, most down-to-earth young woman you are likely to have? Ever met? "So began the profile of the paper magazine. But ask Howard how it happened and your answer always comes back to her father.
She studied acting at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and quickly started working outside of Broadway. After seeing her in a production of As You Like It at the Public Theater in 2003, M. Night Shyamalan cast her as the lead actress in his thriller The Village without asking her to audition.
Since then, she has appeared in numerous blockbusters and franchise companies (Spider-Man 3, Twilight Saga, Jurassic World), critically acclaimed indies (50/50), popular family films (Pete's Dragon), Oscar-nominated dramas (The Help) and biographical musical played along with fantasies about Elton John (Rocketman) and dystopian warnings, such as in their phrase nominated by SAG in Black Mirror's "Nosedive" entry.
Whether fair or not, she asked herself the questions above, what effects growing up in the industry had on her career, and of course on nepotism. When asked whether working on fathers and the interview with her father made her think differently about these topics, she says: "The film is a kind of answer to these questions."
"It's just my family's footage, and it's the truth about how I grew up," she says. “It is an amazing privilege to be a child of someone who works in an industry that you are interested in and that you eventually work in. It is a privilege for this person to succeed. But there was no greater privilege than the fact that my father supported me, empowered me, and showed me respect from day one. "
She has often been asked whether Ron Howard's daughter helped her career or hurt her. She understands curiosity in many ways. But it has never been her experience to look at it that way.
"I'm always like, in what world is it harmful?" She says. "I mean, now I'm 39 and I've met a lot more people. There are many children of recognizable people, children of celebrities, who are more concerned with their parents 'public version than their parents' private version. And for me it's the opposite. "
There is no deception here. She knows that she has to do things that many children could only dream of. But it was a fulfilling childhood and her version of normal.
"Sometimes uncertainties can creep in, or you'll hear someone say," Oh, she only got it because of X, Y, or Z, "she says." But that's very small. It's a very, very, very small, tiny , tiny disadvantage compared to all the encouragement and support and the inevitable possibilities that are very, very real, so I don't lose that it's a best case scenario. ”
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