OTR Interviews

Ron Howard Goes 'On the Record' on Innovative New Film Project with Daughter Bryce

Acadamy Award-winning director dishes on innovative new project with daughter and the filmmaking process

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," November 16, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: You may still think of him as Opie or Richie, but decades later Oscar-winning filmmaker Ron Howard continues to dominate Hollywood with two dig studio films in theaters right now. Ron Howard is also debuting another intriguing new project. He may have a smaller budget, but it has big meaning for Ron personally. He tells us all about it.

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VAN SUSTEREN: This new movie "When You Find Me," what is so intriguing about it, not just the uniqueness of its plotline, the story, it's how it was created. I know how it is created at least a little bit, but tell the viewers.

RON HOWARD, FILM DIRECTOR: Well, it began as a concept from Cannon, a think called project imagination. And really it was a contest, it was a way to reach out to photographers, consumers and inspire them to participate in something. So the idea was for me to sort of supervise this contest, break this narrative into eight different categories like setting and theme and character and so forth and have people send in photographs. They would be evaluated. Eventually I would select one per category and then we would build a short film around it.

When I say "we" I am also include the writer, but my daughter, Bryce Howard, who was going to direct the film. So it was a fantastic creative experiment and exercise, and then it also ended up being this great opportunity for Bryce and I to work together. And she did a fantastic job with the film.

Out of this experience not only is the film she made very visual, it really kind of moves outside the box in unexpected ways. But she also found a way to make it a very personal film out of it, as well. So I think she did, you know, terrific work and also I think the Cannon people are pleasantly surprised about how well the experiment actually worked in terms of using folks submitting photographs to actually inspire a narrative and inspire a real story.

VAN SUSTEREN: Where can people see it or how can they see it?

HOWARD: It will show up in a few select theaters. Then it will go online in December for a short period of time, and then they will see what the future of the film might hold after that. And so I think that online window in December is going to be the best thing to look for.

VAN SUSTEREN: I'm curious even the cost of this compared to some of the other things, any estimate of how much this cost?

HOWARD: Well, I never give quotes on budgets, but this was very Indy. She had six days of shooting, so it was nothing epic about it. It was professional, people were paid, and she had a great crew to work with.

But to your point, one of the great things that technology is offering, and to be honest one of the reasons I wanted to get involved is, you know, because Cannon is really making this possible. I have been around Cannon equipment most of my life. But more recently in the last few years it's become more and more pivotal in independent filmmakers to go out and make films that can compete visually with anyone.

And the software on the post production side is making it -- it's allowing independent film makers to be unbelievable ambitious in a way they couldn't be just a few years ago.

VAN SUSTEREN: You have a new movie coming out, a Formula One movie?

HOWARD: I'm getting ready to shoot a movie called "Rush" which I won't start until next year. It will come out probably about a year from now. And it takes place in 1976. There was a famous, if you are a Formula One fan, there was a famous rivalry that year between James Hunt and Nicki Lauda. Peter Morgan, who wrote "The Queen" and "Frost/Nixon" which I directed, has found another great couple characters to build a drama around. But we are also expecting to get fantastic Formula One race action out of it, as well. And my partner is now producing the Oscars. That just happened this last week. We have two films in the theatre right now, "Tower Heist" and "J. Edgar." And so it's a pretty busy time for us which we are pretty grateful for.

VAN SUSTEREN: When you look at a script and you look to pick an actor, right away when someone is a perfect actor for that script do you know it?

HOWARD: Having been an actor, I find the casting process to be the most agonizing. Every once in a while, sure, you read a role and think about an actor and it's an absolute consensus. You know in your own mind or heart this man or woman is absolutely right for the role. That's all too rare, and more often there's this agonizing process because, it really is vitally important. You can work on your story, you prepare it, you plan it, you do all of that.

But, you know, acting is the one way to really reach an audience, to create that human connection. And when something casts perfectly, it makes all the difference in the world. So it's tricky, and then to get the chemistry. So the short answer is, no, you don't always know. And in fact, it's one of the periods of the filmmaking process where I toss and turn the most is trying to go through that sort of building the cast.

VAN SUSTEREN: The way you describe your career and directing and acting is a little bit like in our business. We get to meet all sorts of people, travel all around the world and see things and use the camera to try to tell a story differently. We are trying to make it strange or something. But it's much the same exploration and exciting part, the good part about my business.

HOWARD: I've always felt that. And when I was in high school, of course, I had been a child actor and, you know, starting with "The Andy Griffith Show" and things like that. But even when I was in film school before "Happy Days" started, and I thought, well, I don't know if I will be able to make this transition. I would like to be a filmmaker. If it doesn't work out, what else would I do?

And I was wrestling with two other areas. One was being a high school basketball coach because I thought that would be fun, but the other really was journalism. I've long felt that it sort of -- I'm very grateful for the kinds of range of experiences that I get making films, but I've always felt that, you know, a journalist puts in his or her years doing that and it's a -- you know, it's a rich life experience because, you know, everything that you are exposed to, everything you must consider and think about, understand and then try to share with people. You know, I think we are lucky.

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