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July 2006
LADY IN THE WATER: An Interview with Bryce Dallas Howard

LADY IN THE WATER: An Interview with Bryce Dallas Howard, continued
By Melissa Walters
July 17, 2006

Or did you shock him with the news?

Bryce Dallas Howard: (Laughs). No I actually I remember there was one dinner when I was applying to colleges and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be a writer or an actor or at least like in what direction I wanted to go in my life and my mom is a writer and my dad is obviously a director and was an actor and I was telling them the pros and cons for each and they are great parents because they really let their children be who they want to be, I mean within reason, like if we were like “I want to be a heroin addict they’d be, (laughs) I don’t think” but they really let us find our own paths in life but at this one particular dinner they started negotiating with each other as to what was a better life my mom was like “It’s a better life to be a writer because of this, this and that” and my dad was like “it’s a better life to be a performer because of “this, this and that” and I realized wow that I’m really stepping into a life that resembles my parents and they do, there are some high stakes in this and they do have some emotions and they are invested in this.

You never wanted to be a veterinarian or a firefighter?

Bryce Dallas Howard: When I was pretty young I wanted to be a forensic anthropologist but that totally, when I look back on that I realize that that had to do with the same exact reasons why I act and that’s because forensic anthropology is about researching these different worlds and understanding like how these people lived and what made them tick and what their hopes and dreams were and what ultimately made their worlds collapse and um, same exact thing-

Now the Lady in the Water, do you see her as being a woman or a child?

Bryce Dallas Howard: I see her as being …to quote Brittney Spears (laughs) “Not a girl not yet a woman” (Laughs). No, but she’s not, because she’s not a human being she is in that liminal place, like she’s neither one nor the other but I think that that’s where, where all narfs life, they are in that in between space in life where there’s nothing that truly defines them.

What was it like walking around with a shirt all the time? That was the only piece of wardrobe that you had right?

Bryce Dallas Howard: Well, it was breezy. That was an interesting thing because I have a tendency just in my own persona life to dress very modestly and um to be, uh, slightly inhibited, physically, and um I was constantly trying to be like “Well, if I put on undergarments is that going to make me comfortable so I won’t be inhibited or do I just like go there”.

And wear just the shirt?

Bryce Dallas Howard: Or just wear the shirt yeah. Yeah and kinda just do the scene and if I like get up during the scene and the grips can see everything so um that was something that I always having to think about and negotiate with myself and um one of the first days we worked a lot in this warehouse in outside of Philadelphia and I don’t know to this day actually I’m gonna ask Night but if there was about a hundred yards of construction workers I don’t know if they worked on the, on our film or if they were working separately at a separate part of the warehouse for another company but I would have to walk in this wet white tee shirt every single day past a hundred yards of construction workers that ultimately ended up being really respectful but it was like a girl’s worst nightmare- I was just like (draws breath)- I can’t believe I’m doing this walking towards the set.

You didn’t bring a robe?

Bryce Dallas Howard: What, well that’s the thing I wasn’t sure if I’m, yeah the first day but I mean for when I’m in this character it’s not a big deal.

Well, did you try streaking to overcome---

Bryce Dallas Howard: (Laughs) No, no certainly not. No I’m not, I wouldn’t describe myself as being a method actor but I do like to, but I do like in private moments to explore that thing- what is it to walk past a bunch of human beings and be totally uninhibited.

So where did you come down on the underwear issue? Did you wear it or not?

Bryce Dallas Howard: Well it was like a daily choice (laughs).

What about the scenes where Paul had to lift you up. We heard from him that that was the hardest part.

Bryce Dallas Howard: Oh my God.

Did you go on a water diet?

Bryce Dallas Howard: No, I was, I was thinner when I did that film, she was ill and I did want to kind of create that fragile look as much as my bone structure would allow but um oh God, he was like, we had to do so many takes and I think we had been doing it for a while and he had to like run and run up these stairs and we had like a slick, plyboard?


Bryce Dallas Howard: Plywood like slick plywood and he would have to run over and I was like this is asinine, this is just totally absurd so he’s carrying me over this plywood that’s really slick from all the water from the sprinklers, up these stairs and through the door and finally one time he just fell and he kept holding me and just slid across the entire room and we finally crashed into the wall and he was like “Are you okay?” (laughs). “Yeah I’m okay”.

Thank God your head didn’t hit something.

Bryce Dallas Howard: No, no. He was so overprotective and very, very strong like to do that literally for fourteen hours.

The press kit mentioned that there were some days that you were in makeup for hours.

Bryce Dallas Howard: Oh yeah, every day for about three hours. Mostly it was to take all of my freckles away. We knew how Night was going to shoot but pretty much everyday it was my whole body of some form and the makeup artists were just very meticulous about just taking them out- making me very, very pale.

And what did you do after this movie? Was it “As You Like It”?

Bryce Dallas Howard: I did As You Like It Right before I did this but it hasn’t come out yet.
Who directed that?

Bryce Dallas Howard: Kenneth Branagh.

And is that going to be out this fall?

Bryce Dallas Howard: Uh, I’m not sure, I actually don’t even know, I was about to say maybe spring but I would be totally talking out of my thoughts. I just finished filming Spiderman 3.

Oh, who are you in Spiderman 3?

Bryce Dallas Howard: Gwen Stacey.

Now you are a trained actress so you’re working with the director as an actor in this movie.

Bryce Dallas Howard: Yeah with Night

So did you say why did I bother training all these years? So just anyone can act in a movie?

Bryce Dallas Howard: No, it’s not that just anybody can act in a movie but just that everyone has their own journey in life there are people for instance, I’ll just go out and name names, Kirsten Dunst, I just finished working with her and in Spiderman and she is grotesquely talented, unbelievably talented, and she started working when she was three years old and I mean he has been working her whole life and yeah, I went to college but she knows this way more than I do and um, and Night is very similar. He’s been thinking about stories and thinking about performances and dissecting performances his whole life and college and any kind of study is a great place to do that and to incubate and to get criticism and all of that stuff and people can learn ho to do this craft in a variety of different ways.

And an actor’s job in a movie is to serve the director?

Bryce Dallas Howard: Yeah. It can be that was my job I think on this film was to serve the director because I realized like I described before like this is his thing.

And in Spiderman 3 what’s your job there then?

Bryce Dallas Howard: In Spiderman 3, it was really fun because it was like to be part of this group and be like guys let’s all together tell this story and then Sam Raimi was there to guide us, to inspire us and then, then of all the choices that we offered him to take the choice that were best for the story. And that was a very empowering experience.

What kind of a character is she?

Bryce Dallas Howard: Stacy? She’s a very a pretty famous comic book character. She was one of Peter Parker’s first loves and in this film it’s a love triangle between Mary Jane and Peter Parker and herself and she’s young and she’s kinda sexy.

Did Sam Raimi just call you out of the blue? Or did you have to meet with a lot of people for this?

Bryce Dallas Howard: No, I had to audition for it.

Do you want to be a movie star?

Bryce Dallas Howard: A movie star?

Yeah, a movie star I mean does that mean anything?

Bryce Dallas Howard: I don’t usually want for things that you can’t like control. I want to be the best actor that I can be I want to be working in this business absolutely and if that means being a movie star then ok that’s fine. But, to me movie star, celebrity, all that stuff means something very different then being an actor.

Now you’ve done three very talking movies, now you’ve got this big action movie. These other movies were based on talk and dialogue and this was a big action movie. How different was it for you?

Bryce Dallas Howard: Not at all because and in particular with this film, Spiderman 3, it’s a very, very dramatic film. I mean you guys should check out the teaser if you can on the computer because it really has the conflict and it’s very high and the stakes are really high with this story.

Bryce we heard there were no nude outtakes for this movie?

Bryce Dallas Howard: Oh thank God. My dad would be like after him.

Does your Dad tell you things about your career? Do you consult with him before you take a role?

Bryce Dallas Howard: No, not at all he lets me do my own thing.

LADY IN THE WATER opens on July 21, 2006

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