The Untold Truth Of Bryce Dallas Howard

Bryce Dallas Howard has been a Hollywood star for decades. Throughout her career, she has worked with some of the biggest directors, starred in critically acclaimed movies like The Help, and has helmed one of the movie industry's biggest franchises.

She has also turned to television, starring in an episode of the hit show Black Mirror. Her diversified career is incredibly impressive, but should come as no surprise since she is descended from Hollywood royalty. She caught her parents' acting bug and studied theater at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, graduating in 2003, so you know she's serious about her craft.

But outside of her acting resume, who is actress Bryce Dallas Howard really? Unlike many actresses, she has managed to keep a relatively low profile, and she's actually a lot different than you might expect. Let's dive into the untold truth of Bryce Dallas Howard. There's a lot to learn.

Bryce Dallas Howard comes from a famous family

Bryce Dallas Howard comes from a family that's well-known in Hollywood. For starters, her father is actor and director Ron Howard. He first became known for starring as Opie in The Andy Griffith Show before later landing the role of Richie Cunningham in the classic sitcom Happy Days. After years appearing on-screen, he decided to shift his focus behind the camera and went on to direct hit movies like The Da Vinci Code and Solo: A Star Wars Story, earning major nominations and taking home awards along the way.

However, Bryce Dallas Howard's family's history in show business goes back even further. Her grandfather, Rance Howard, was a famed actor known for his work in movies like Nebraska and Far and Away. Her grandmother, Jean Speegle Howard, was also an actor, appearing in major films like Apollo 13 and Scrooged. Given their professions, it's not surprising Ron Howard began to pursue acting from an early age.

Ron's brother, Clint Howard, took to the screen as well, appearing in films like The Waterboy. Notably, Bryce Dallas Howard's mom, Cheryl Howard, has also acted.

Bryce Dallas Howard stayed far away from the spotlight as a child

Though Bryce Dallas Howard was born in Los Angeles, her parents made the decision to move the family away from the city when she was 5 years old and relocated to the small town of Greenwich, Conn. Howard credits her family for encouraging her to lean into her imagination instead of watching television. She essentially grew up on a farm with lots of horses, llamas, and chickens that would roam her parents' property, according to the Hartford Courant.

Reflecting on her childhood in an interview with The Independent, she discussed how, as an adult and as a parent herself, she's come to recognize the sacrifice her parents made to give her a normal life. She said, "Only now as an adult can I appreciate how courageous it was for my parents to move because they didn't know anybody there [in Connecticut], and also for my dad's career it must have been hard being away from LA."

Even though she grew up far from Hollywood and the film industry, it was only a matter of time before she started to pursue her own theatrical dreams. 

This celebrity played jester for Bryce Dallas Howard when she was a kid

Typically, babysitters are a friendly next door neighbor or a disgruntled older sibling, but, if you're Bryce Dallas Howard, you were lucky enough to have movie stars look after you. Yes, seriously. Tom Cruise used to look after Howard and her siblings while he would film projects with her dad, though he more entertained them than full-on babysat them.

In an interview on Bravo's Watch What Happens Live, Howard spilled all the details. "He would do, like, cartwheels for us kids and entertain us," she said. "And parents are always so relieved when there's a person like that, like a young, enthusiastic person in their 20s willing to watch over a bunch of kids."

Cruise wasn't the only famous star with whom she spent time as a kid. As she noted in her Watch What Happens Live interview, actor Tom Hanks was "the most famous person in her living room growing up."

Bryce Dallas Howard was childhood friends with this famous actress

The film industry is a small and often tight-knit circle. Many famous families span generations, and they often form friendships with other families who understand the struggle of life inside the celebrity bubble. While growing up in Connecticut, Bryce Dallas Howard attended the prestigious Stagedoor Manor theater camp in New York. The camp has housed many famous faces over the years, and, while she was there, Howard became best friends with another actress. 

In an interview with BuzzFeed, Howard shared that she performed in a Stagedoor Manor production of A Midsummer Night's Dream with none other than Natalie Portman. "We were like 15 and she had this flourishing professional career," Howard explained. "I was like, I hope you're all enjoying the future Academy Award-winning performance that she's giving you on this lawn." Even at that young age, Howard knew Portman was destined for success.

It was around the same time that Howard also started to recognize her own potential, saying, "It kind of was like the first moment when I thought, Oh, I should audition for the school plays!" The rest, as they say, is history.

Bryce Dallas Howard's name comes from an uncomfortable tradition

Let's face it, celebrities tend to come up with some pretty unique baby names. Some are really cute, such as Apple and North, and some are, well, a little more out there. Pilot Inspektor, anyone? While Bryce Dallas Howard's name is a fairly standard moniker, her family has a tradition for choosing each of their children's middle names. Howard shared the story in an interview with ABC News and said, "The rule was it's wherever we were conceived, it's so disgusting!"

She elaborated, "For me, it was a city, for my sisters, it was a hotel [Carlyle]. My brother, his middle name was Cross after a place we used to live ... that was our road where our house was." While it may not be the most PG approach for naming children, it definitely keeps things interesting. 

Howard also admitted that she intended to go simply as "Bryce Dallas" for her stage name for a while because she didn't want to seem like she was only acting because of her famous parents. However, she decided to be proud of her family's history and used her full name — and she likes how it sounds much better.

This famous director gave Bryce Dallas Howard her big break

One might assume that, given her lineage, Bryce Dallas Howard was a shoo-in for stardom, but that was far from the case. She worked hard and eventually landed on the stage. In fact, for a while, she thought that being a theater actress was her future. That is, until a famous director saw her perform, as reported by Vulture.

Acclaimed horror director M. Night Shyamalan saw Howard perform on stage one night as Rosalind in Public Theater's production of As You Like It. He loved her performance so much that he asked her to join the cast of the 2004 film The Village. The two would work together again a couple of years later on his movie Lady in the Water. These films served as a launching pad for her entertainment career, allowing her to take off into the motion picture scene. 

To this day, Howard credits the director for giving her her big break, even taking to Twitter to share that she was "forever indebted" to him.

Bryce Dallas Howard's own father confused her with Jessica Chastain

The film industry is full of doppelgängers who constantly get mistaken for one another, often leaving audiences asking themselves, "Wait, which one is that again?" And few actresses look more alike than Bryce Dallas Howard and Jessica Chastain. The two women finally crossed paths on the set of The Help, and admitted their resemblance is uncanny. So much so, that even Howard's own father got them confused.

Chastain shared the hilarious encounter, which took place at an Apple store, in an interview with the Associated Press. "I was, like, walking by. I was like, 'Oh that's Ron Howard,'" she said. "And then my friend [who] was with me said he turned to someone, he goes, 'I think I just saw Bryce.'" Howard would later go on to confirm the story to Entertainment Tonight, saying her dad was "legit shook."

Both actresses thought the mistake was funny. They also both went on to say that it was a huge compliment to be compared to the other since they think highly of one another. Well, let's just hope the right actress makes it to the Howard family dinner table!

Bryce Dallas Howard thinks it's fun to play this type of character

Every actor enjoys playing certain types of roles more than others. One thing in particular that makes Bryce Dallas Howard unique is that, unlike many other performers, she has avoided getting pigeonholed. Throughout her career, she has run the gamut, playing virtually every type of role and genre. But she's admitted she likes to play one type of person more than others — the "b***h." Yes you read that correctly.

While speaking to Collider about her portrayal of Hilly Holbrook in 2011's The Help, she delved into why it's so much fun to play devilish characters. "There's a lot of freedom when you're playing a character like that," she said. "You don't need to worry about being likable or appealing, or anything like that." Regarding the character, Howard further noted, "This was the first real person I've played that's despicable."

Bryce Dallas Howard has this celebrity as a godparent

They say you can't choose your family, but you can choose your friends. Bryce Dallas Howard's father, Ron Howard, got his start on the hit show Happy Days, and, along the way, he became close friends with his co-star Henry Winkler. The two apparently formed a lifelong friendship, and he eventually named Winkler as daughter Bryce Dallas Howard's godfather.

Bryce Dallas Howard also became close with the legendary star, whom she says has been a huge part of her life. Reflecting on their relationship in an interview on The Talk, she said, "He's just the most wonderful man." She added, "It's great, I think, as a kid to have adults who you can go to who are mentors to you," noting, "They don't have the ability to ground you, but they do have the wisdom of being someone who loves you and who cares about you and is aware."

Notably, when it came time for her to name a godparent for her kids, Bryce Dallas Howard chose longtime friend and fellow actor Josh Gad.

Bryce Dallas Howard often buys her award show dresses at department stores

The harsh reality is that Hollywood has had unrealistic expectations about actors' bodies for decades. Many celebrities have been outspoken about the constant pressure to remain thin and the challenges that come with being criticized for the way they look.

Bryce Dallas Howard has been open about these struggles, and she's revealed that she tends to shop for her own award show dresses. Instead of using designers to dress her, she often will just go to a department store and pick one out herself. In a red carpet interview with E! News in early 2016 (via Today), she shared, "I like having lots of options for a size 6, as opposed to maybe one option, so I always go to department stores."

Her candidness during the interview was praised by fans who admired her directness about what led to her decision and her calling attention to societal pressures. Since then, Howard has continued to be open about her outlook on body positivity and become an advocate for making the film industry more inclusive to all body types.

Bryce Dallas Howard gained 30 pounds for this role

In 2016, Bryce Dallas Howard took her acting prowess to the hit show Black Mirror. In the episode "Nosedive," she played a woman in a world where everyone is obsessed with a social media app through which they score every person they come across. She ends up facing a series of trials and tribulations, including trying to fit into a bridesmaid's dress that is too small at a friend's wedding.

Howard opted to gain 30 pounds for the role, a controversial choice in Hollywood. When asked why she took on the project, she was clear about the importance of the subject matter. In an interview with The Wrapshe said, "Society puts all this scrutiny on women's bodies, which in a way serves to make us go insane and distract us from what's really important." She noted that she wanted to show "how people want to control what other people think about them by trying to control themselves in ways that are harmful."

The episode would go on to earn Howard a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination.

Bryce Dallas Howard's father once told her to keep several day jobs

Bryce Dallas Howard's father gave her the advice that she should keep several day jobs. Despite her family's long history in the film industry, it wasn't always a given that she would follow the same career path, and her famous dad, Ron Howard, wasn't shy about the harsh truths of Hollywood.

In an interview with Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live, Bryce Dallas Howard shared the advice he gave her about the industry and said, "It has more to do with, I think, the lifestyle around acting, and that it's a very difficult profession."

And while that might seem harsh, it actually became a driving force for the actress. She credits the advice for helping to establish realistic expectations about her career and recognize how lucky it is when she gets the chance to act. This motivated Howard to develop a strong work ethic and to learn not to rely on anything, even her familial connections, to be successful.

Bryce Dallas Howard fainted from fear while filming this movie

It's not uncommon for actors to go to extreme lengths on movie sets. Getting the right shot usually involves a combination of camera angles, special effects, and stunts. While filming Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Bryce Dallas Howard had a terrifying experience while filming one of her own stunts. To give the effect of a gyrosphere falling off a cliff and to garner a truthful reaction from the actors, a roller coaster was built. The goal was to capture their expressions while they were falling, and, unfortunately for Howard, they had to do several takes.

In an interview on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, she said, "I was so scared." She further noted that when it comes to stunts, actors often become more confident after every take... but that wasn't the case for her. "With each take, my panic increased substantially," she said. She explained that she "blacked out," noting that she "came to" when it was over.

Bryce Dallas Howard is also a director

With Bryce Dallas Howard coming from such a talented family and having such a critically acclaimed director as her father, it was really only a matter of time before she took her skills behind the camera. She made her directorial debut at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2019, as reported by Collider. The project was the documentary Dads, which centers around what it really takes to be a dad in the modern world.

The film featured interviews with and stories from famous dads like Neil Patrick Harris, Jimmy Kimmel, Ken Jeong, Judd Apatow, and Will Smith. Since then, Bryce Dallas Howard has gone on to direct several shorts, as well as an episode of the hit show The Mandalorian – "Chapter 4: Sanctuary," to be exact. 

In the future, Howard will hopefully continue to direct projects and will follow in her father's footsteps!