'I was scared fighting Robert Pattinson in case I hit his face': The world according to Bryce Dallas Howard
By ELAINE LIPWORTH
UPDATED: 22:01 GMT, 10 March 2012
The actress on having The Fonz as her godfather, being part of the Trophy Generation and stalking her husband
'I am named after the place where I was conceived,' said Bryce Dallas Howard
Bryce Dallas Howard is not afraid of being controversial.
In her Oscar-winning film The Help, she plays bigoted racist Hilly Holbrook in the Deep South drama set against the Sixties civil rights movement.
‘My character believes that blacks are not just inferior but something to be feared. She’s a villain but she’s acting out of fear and insecurity – true ignorance.’
The confidence required to take on this reviled role is perhaps rooted in her upbringing and family. She is unmistakeably her father’s daughter, familiar to anyone who remembers Seventies sitcom Happy Days.
Her father Ron Howard, who played Richie Cunningham, before going on to become an Oscar-winning director.
She kick-started her film career in M Night Shyamalan’s The Village, but is best known for heavy-hitting blockbusters, including Spider-Man 3, Terminator Salvation and the Twilight Saga.
She is married to actor/director Seth Gabel and they have a three-year-old son and seven-week old daughter.
I never watched a single episode of Happy Days when I was growing up.
People used to say, ‘What did you think of your dad in the show?’ But I didn’t see an episode until I was 22 (after shocked TV talk show host Jay Leno handed her the box set during an interview). Dad never showed us Happy Days or any of his acting. He’s the most humble man on planet Earth.
The Fonz is my godfather.
My dad felt genuine closeness with all the cast members, particularly with Henry Winkler. Getting on a popular, long-running show like Happy Days is the actor’s equivalent of winning the lottery. Henry is one of the warmest, most sensitive people I’ve ever met. He’s like family.
My parents advised me against the pitfalls of Hollywood.
They told me not to live above my means and the best piece of advice they gave me was: ‘Save your money because you just don’t know what will happen.’ The work isn’t consistent – you might work a lot one year and then you might not work again for two more years. It was a very valuable piece of advice. Actors create a fantastic lifestyle thinking they’re going to be able to maintain it. Then they can’t get work or have to start taking work that doesn’t suit them.
My friends and I are the Trophy Generation.
Growing up we all got trophies just for participating in anything – so we all feel special. I’m fascinated by the fact that we had really high expectations for our lives, our careers and our relationships. And then we get into the workplace and we’re not special any more. After we left school, we were very surprised to discover that things in the real world didn’t turn out the way we imagined.
I stalked my husband.
The first time I saw Seth at New York University it was love at first sight – but unfortunately not for him. I had an enormous crush on him. He was gorgeous but he didn’t feel the same way. Then one time I called him at a really inappropriate hour in the middle of the night and asked him out for coffee. He agreed and we have been together ever since. He is only my second ever boyfriend but I don’t feel I missed out on single life. Singledom would be the worst thing for me.
I come from a long line of psychics.
My sister can walk down the street and just know what’s going on with people. She’ll say, ‘Oh, they’re going through a divorce’ or, ‘Their kid just went off to college’ or, ‘He just got a great job.’ My dad’s mum actually ‘appeared’ to my mum one night just before my grandmother died, while she was in hospital. They went to the hospital the next day and the doctors said, ‘Oh, we almost lost her last night, she passed away for a little period and came back.’ Later that day she died. I’m not psychic but I’ve experienced it with people close to me.
There’s no downside to having a famous dad.
The pros are overwhelming. At first I wasn’t using my name (she was Bryce Dallas) and then after a while I realised that it was very disrespectful to not use my name because I am very proud of my family. My dad had knowledge and wisdom when it came to the business. He was also supportive of me and he believed that it was possible to make a living as an actor. That subconsciously instilled a lot of confidence in me.
I am named after the place where I was conceived.
My parents were working in Dallas and my grandfather was very traditional, from the South, and he wanted my middle name to be Ines – a family name. My parents weren’t into that name so they told my grandad, ‘We’re coming up with our own tradition – we’ll give our children middle names after the places where they are conceived.’ Obviously I was conceived in Dallas. My twin sisters are Carlyle after Carlyle Hotel in New York. And my brother is Cross after Lower Cross Road where we used to live in Greenwich Connecticut.
Clint Eastwood saved my dad from being booed at Cannes.
Clint puts himself out there for people. As a director he is very cool, very relaxed, there’s no yelling ‘action’ or ‘cut’. He just says: ‘You know when you’re ready.’ I told my dad he should do that! My dad made a film called Willow (1988) when he was a young filmmaker, which screened at the Cannes film festival and people were booing afterwards. It was obviously so painful for him, and Clint, who he didn’t know at that time, stood up and gave him a standing ovation and then everyone else stood up because Clint did.
Despite my dad’s success, movie-making was never the central focus of our lives.
My parents moved us away from Los Angeles and we were raised to be self-sufficient. We grew up in Connecticut with goats, sheep, miniature horses and chickens.
I went through a Prince William crush as a teenager.
Then Leo DiCaprio when Romeo + Juliet came out, then Brad Pitt and Elijah Wood. I had a Speed movie poster with Keanu Reeves. There were all the usual teenage infatuations. As a teenager, I was perpetually grounded. I was stubborn rather than rebellious. I never drank and I didn’t date until I was 18. There were a few times when I made pathetic attempts to run away. I would just pack my bags and make it as far as our little house (on the property), so I would make it about 50ft from home.
I was scared fighting Robert Pattinson in case I hit his face.
Teenage girls would never forgive me! There was a massive battle at the end of the last Twilight film where Rob and I really face off. There was a lot of swiping, grabbing, throwing, tackling. It was a total brawl. Everybody had bruising. I dislocated my wrist. Rob is so embarrassed about the attention from fans.
World premiere of the Lifetime Original movie event "Call Me Crazy: A Five Film" at Pacific Design Center Silver Screen Theater Featuring: Bryce Dallas Howard Where: Los Angeles, California, United States When: 16 Apr 2013
Last edited by alicia753; 17-04-2013 at 09:15 AM.
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