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Surrounded By Solid Men: What Bryce Dallas Howard Admires About Her Husband and Her Famous Father

She comes from a famous family… her grandfather Rance Howard was an actor, of course her dad Ron Howard was Opie in The Andy Griffith Show and Richie Cunningham on Happy Days, and continued to have an amazing acting and directing career, so it makes sense that Bryce Dallas Howard would further the legacy with memorable roles in The Help, Spider-Man, Twilight and the Jurassic World franchise to name a few. Now she’s stepping behind the camera for her feature directorial debut with the documentary Dads. We talked with her about why she admires her father and how she’s seen her husband adapt as their family has grown.

Interviewed for Risen Magazine

Risen Magazine: You’ve directed short docs, and TV episodes, but this is your feature directorial debut. Congratulations! I have to ask with your dad being a little reluctant at first — he’s such a great director , and I’m sure extremely accessible for you — what did that professional relationship look like? And do you want to continue behind the camera?

BDH: Well, [dad] he didn’t see the movie really until it was done, for real. Honestly, he was really nervous the whole time and sort of was just hesitant. He just was like, “Bryce, no one’s going to want to watch a movie where you’re putting me on a pedestal.” He’s constantly like, “One day, Bryce, one day, you’ll knock me off the pedestal. I just want you to be ready for it.” Because I really do have him on a pedestal. I really, really do, but I do feel it’s earned. Nobody’s perfect. Absolutely nobody’s perfect, but he is, in my mind, pretty darn close to it. He’s just such an admirable person and tries so hard and in such earnest to be good and grow. To see as man in his sixties always insatiably curious, always wanting to grow in ways that are often, I can imagine for anyone, challenging. So I just really, really admire that.

So, he was very nervous. But when he saw it, he was really emotional. We watched it at the Toronto Film Festival and that was really meaningful and a great moment overall for us to get to experience together. Totally wild, like nothing else and so personal. As we were nearing the festival, I was like, “Oh my gosh, what have I done? I opened to this movie with my birth. What did I do?” But so many of the subjects of this film, the dads, they were so vulnerable and really trusting. So in a way it’s the least I could do, to offer little family tidbits myself.

It was awesome and fun, and yes, I do hope to get to do more documentaries in the future. Absolutely. And I’m for sure cooking up another one.

RM: Most of the families that you’ve highlighted, the kids are really little, with the exception of the foster family that you had in there. Your kids are getting a little bit older and you even have a teenager! So how have you seen your husband’s fathering skills adapt through the years?

BDH: He’s remarkable! This is something that I will forever be grateful for, when we had our oldest, who’s now 13, like you mentioned, I really suffered with postpartum and struggled and just the instant that Theo was born, Seth held him and was whispering in his ears, “Anything is possible.” He was doing skin-to-skin contact, and his instinct as a father absolutely… changing diapers, burping, supporting me with nursing… I was just in awe of him. Totally in awe. He was really generous and selfless. And he was 24 when we had our first kid.

That has continued and he’s just a really engaged, devoted father. What we struggle with most is being like, “Seth, make sure that you have boundaries for yourself and you take time for yourself. You’re not just at the beck and call of the kids 24/7.” He’s a best friend to them. He’s a playmate to them. He’s an incredible role model. He’s a guide. He’s just… awesome. I’m so grateful to have the family that I do. Even when we live in a three bedroom house together, there’s a teenager and everyone’s going to school and working full time, it’s awesome. I’m enormously, enormously grateful for that. And so much of it has to do with how Seth parents, honestly.

Dads premiere on Apple+ Friday, June 19

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