Ron Howard is easily one of the most recognized names and faces in Hollywood. He’s a successful and well-respected film director, producer and actor, and is probably best known for playing two high-profile roles in television sitcoms in his childhood and early adulthood, and for directing a number of successful feature films later in his career.
As a talented child actor, he first came to prominence playing young Opie Taylor in the sitcom The Andy Griffith Show for eight years, and later teenager Richie Cunningham in the sitcom Happy Days for six years. Meanwhile, he appeared in the musical film The Music Man (1962), the coming of age film American Graffiti (1973), the western The Shootist (1976), and the comedy Grand Theft Auto (1977), which he also directed.
In 1980, he left Happy Days to focus on directing. His films include the science-fiction/fantasy film Cocoon (1985), the historical docudrama Apollo 13, (1995), the biographical drama A Beautiful Mind (2001) (which earned him the Oscar for Best director), and the thriller The Da Vinci Code (2006). In 2002, Howard conceived the comedy series Arrested Development, on which he would also serve as producer and narrator, and play a semi-fictionalized version of himself.In 2003, Howard was awarded the national Medal of Arts and he was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 2013.
His latest directing venture takes us into the depths of the ocean with the film, In The Heart of the Sea. Based on the best-selling novel of the same name, it recounts the experiences of crewmen (played by Chris Hemsworth, Benjamin Walker, Cillian Murphy and Tom Holland) who in 1820 were aboard the New England vessel “The Essex.” These men faced a harrowing battle for survival when a whale of mammoth size and strength attacks with force, crippling their ship and leaving them adrift in the ocean. Pushed to their limits and facing storms, starvation, panic and despair, the survivors must resort to the unthinkable to stay alive. Their incredible tale ultimately inspires author Herman Melville to write “Moby-Dick.” It was during the time he was shooting Rush that his leading man Chris Hemsworth brought the script to his attention and he immediately knew he had to tell this story, with Hemsworth once again at the helm.
I recently caught up with Ron Howard in New York where we discussed why he was interested in telling this story, how he really feels about the water, the importance of showing the film in IMAX and working with this extraordinary cast.