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INT: Bryce Dallas Howard

07.19.2006

I fully expected to see Bryce Dallas Howard show up for her LADY IN THE WATER press looking very much like Gwen Stacy, her character in SPIDER-MAN 3. But, rather, she showed up looking very much like, well, Bryce Dallas Howard. Her blonde locks were gone and replaced with her trademark red hair. I thought she looked great as a blonde but seeing her in person as a redhead, she looks pretty good as both. She was an extremely personable, bubbly, open and friendly actress; all no doubt traits earned from a lifetime spent with a dad as famous as Ron Howard. Here she talks being half-naked for most of LADY, swinging with Spidey and, yup, her hair.

What was your favorite bedtime story as a young girl? I know you are going to think I am just saying this because it pertains to this but THE LITTLE MERMAID was one. When I was a kid I used to collect little glass mermaid figurines. I was a little sick too, I loved the "Grimm's Fairytales," all of them. And then I got into like Christopher Pike books, at a very young age, those are not fairy tales. How was it different working with M. Night Shyamalan this time? Obviously you had a chance to work with him before and work with a lot of different directors since then, how was it different this time? It was so wonderful. I am a part of a theatre company in New York and I can kind of equate it with that because the wonderful thing about working with people over and over again is that the beginning, during The Village was like our introduction to each other. There was the small talk and it was really nice and then just at the end of shooting we were really getting to know each other and really getting to know each others processes. With LADY IN THE WATER we were able to start at that place and that is a much more empowering place to start from. Where there is no BS between us and he knows my instrument and he knows when I am in that place and he knows when I am not and I prefer that, honestly I really prefer that. Were you ever frustrated with your lack of dialogue? No, actually it was really nice. It is something that I actually realized when we were first starting to rehearse. I thought gosh, I say in my personal life, I use so many words to create a boundary, to create a wall so that I am not actually communicating with people. The thing that is wonderful about the story is that she is able to communicate so much without saying hardly anything so I tried to steal that a little bit, into my own personal life. I think it is a much more powerful thing to listen than it is to talk. Was this the most comfortable shoot ever because you are just wearing Paul Giamatti's shirt the whole time? Did you put on a shirt everyday and you were just ready to go? Yeah, it took about three hours in make-up each morning in the make-up chair just to get rid of these freckles. It was nice having a nice breezy costume and thank God it was in the summertime so it wasn't cold. At first honestly, I dress very modestly so I was like "Oh my God, my legs have not seen the light of day since I was six years old!" So that was a little something to get used to. How much time did you spend in the water? Just mostly in the shower, I think the irony is that this film is called LADY IN THE WATER and Paul is in the water almost the entire time. Pretty much just in the shower and there is like one scene in the pool. I am damp, not drenched. Did you talk to Night about the whole mythology? Did you work on a more elaborate theory of the mythology to sort of help with the grounding in your own head? Yes and no. It is described very efficiently in the film. The whole mythology is there and that was obviously in the text, in the script. As far as like where she came from and who she was and what kind of interaction she would have had with human beings and that kind of specificity then, yes. Those were dialogues with him and created on my own. It was really fun to get to have something that we could go in completely different directions and it would all be alright. There was no real research that we could do to stand upon to make decisions after reading all of this. We needed to totally and entirely use our imaginations. I say "our" but it was really Night's imagination. It was really just me asking him a series of questions and being like "Ok, how can I be the instrument that you play?" That was very freeing as well. When you are on a movie with a director as intense as Night, does the experience stay with you long after filming wraps or does it just disappear? No, it stays with me which is nice, I prefer that. I still have not gotten to the place, nor do I ever kind of wish I get to this place, where I am able to really separate my work and my personal life. My work is my hobby, it is the thing that I really honestly love to do most, so when I am working with such brilliant people with such visionaries I hope to take these lessons from them. I hope to use that in my own life and in my own work in the future. The experience with LADY IN THE WATER was very powerful and it absolutely did stay with me. I heard that you actually cried because you heard about this film. What was it in particular about this film that called to you? I think that the moment you are referring to was the moment that Night offered me the part and I hadn't read the script at that point. It wasn't like a breakdown, I was just kind of misty eyed, because I had just seen THE VILLAGE for the first time and my parents were there and Night's family was there, his children were there, and as he had been editing THE VILLAGE he had been telling me about this movie called LADY IN THE WATER that he was getting ready to write, and it was like "LADY IN THE WATER...that's great, hope you have a great time doing it." And so we were there at his office and I had just seen the film moments before. I thought my God, I can't believe I am in a movie and this movie and what a great experience that was and we were walking back and he just turned to me and was like "Um, Bryce I want you to be the lady in LADY IN THE WATER," and I was like "What?!" and then he told his little girl and that's what really got me because they knew the story was created for them. He was like "Bryce is going to play the Lady and they were like "Oh you are going to be really good!" It was so… it was just a special moment for me. Your father [Ron Howard] is obviously a great director. When you work with a guy many consider to be great in Shyamalan do you see a quality that is similar in great filmmakers? I would say two things. Above all else humility, I would say that a great filmmaker has humility. They are willing to listen, they are willing to learn, and they are constantly pushing themselves. I would say that a great film maker is a very humble person. Also the second thing that I think is equally as important, is integrity. They speak the truth, they don't manipulate, what they promise to deliver to the person they do. I think my Dad has those things and all of the directors that I have worked with, no question. Can you discuss the ups and downs that come with having such an iconic father? The up sided is something that I don't know if, you guys wouldn't personally be able to relate this probably because you don't know my Dad as a Father, but its just having my Dad as a Father. He is the greatest thing in my life, I get emotional every time I talk about my Dad, but then I would say the down side…there is no down side. It is just constantly or occasionally actually, there is some misinterpretations about what our relationship would be like or why I am where I am at and how it pertains to him. That is okay, I am willing to take that, that's all good. I have the greatest Dad on planet earth. Does your father throw out advice if you have a part, or do you keep that separate from your career? I don't intentionally try to keep that separated; its just, yes I do go to him for advice if I feel like I need to, but mostly the advice I want from him have to do with my emotional state of being. If I am in a good emotional place then I ultimately end up making decisions that I am confident about or proud of. If I am saying "Oh, I don't know what to do about this deal that I made." It always ultimately goes back to why am I feeling insecure? That is something that I will actually go to both of my parents about. Can you talk a bit about working with Paul specifically? I agree with you, in fact I was upstairs watching CINDERELLA MAN just now, it was on television, I don't know if you want to go turn it on (laughs). I was watching and I turned to my best friend and I was like "He I swear to you, when he is 88 years old people are going to say that is the greatest that ever lived." He is the most unbelievably talented man. There is no neurosis that comes with his talent. He is just available. He is not the kind of actor that has to go and disappear and be all methody and stuff like that, not like that is a bad thing when that is someone's process. But it is very telling that he is always available, always on point, and always self deprecating and humble and willing to totally change his performance 180 degrees from one suggestion. He is someone I really admire. Also one of the most well read men I have ever met. Anything, just incredibly well read. Was there any talk between you and him about the fact that he had just worked with your father? Totally. It was a little slightly inappropriate thing that he had just worked with my Dad and I come to set the first day and I am wearing this little shirt and it was probably something where I was like take off the shirt and he was like "Ahh, I know your Dad (laughs)." Your first movie role was the lead role in a big summer movie. Do you look for starring roles now? I would say right now my main goal is to work with great film makers, that is the thing that I really want to be a part of, who are telling stories that I find fascinating and exciting and fun. I want really fun experiences, I know that is superficial but I do. So for instance I am doing SPIDER-MAN 3 and that is a smaller role absolutely but it was such a great experience so for me it's easy for me to say because I have had mostly pretty meaty roles, but it's not quite about that. It's more about the experience and what I can get from it and what can I learn. How different was it being in New York, and being a blonde? It was awesome. There was a moment during Spider-Man in New York where I had to like fly down from 5 stories with Spider-Man and right down the street was where I got my first theatre job in New York. I actually walked over there and talked to all the ushers cause all the usher were still there and I was like "Guys I am doing SPIDER-MAN!" Were you wearing a wig or did you dye your hair? I dyed it. I actually I just got my hair back red, a version of red. It was very nice to be back home.
Source: JoBlo.com

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