Bryce Dallas Howard Interview On Voicing Mom's Novel 'In The Face Of Jinn,' Directing Plans
Actress Bryce Dallas Howard, the daughter of director Ron Howard and writer Cheryl Alley, is exploring projects off screen these days — including voicing the audio book for her mother’s 2005 mystery novel, In the Face of Jinn, which was just released by Audible.com. "I’ve always wanted to get to do something like this and then my mom wrote this book," Bryce told Uinterview exclusively. "We were just all kind of hanging out together one day, and my dad brought it up as an idea, and we were like, 'Yeah, this is really good timing.' I just had a baby, and it’s kind of a mellow thing to do."
Conceived in Dallas, which is the origin of her middle name, Howard was born in Los Angeles, but she and her three other siblings weren't encouraged to follow their dad into show business. She was allowed, however, to be an extra in some of her father’s movies, including Parenthood and Apollo 13.
Though she was raised away from Hollywood in Westchester, N.Y., and Greenwich, Conn., she couldn’t stay away from performing. She attended Stagedoor Manor, an upstate New York performing arts summer camp, and studied at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Her breakthrough role came in M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village (2004), and she gained wide acclaim for her performance in The Help (2011). Currently married with two children, Bryce has set a lighter workload for herself recently. "I did a few directing projects during my maternity leave," she told Uinterview. "And I did quite a lot of development, so hopefully we’ll be putting together a feature." Like father, like daughter.
Well, I’ve actually always wanted to do a book on tape. Actually, when I was a kid, it was kind of the way my parents entertained all of us, the four of us. We would go on these really long car trips, and we would always have books on tape. Actually, when I became an actress and was getting work, and was at an agency, one of the first things I said to my agent was that I really wanted to do a voice on a book on tape. And here I am, 11 years later. I had to have an ‘in’ with my mom writing a book in order to actually get the chance to do it. Then my mom wrote this book. We were just all kind of hanging out together one day, and my dad brought it up as an idea, and we were like, 'Yeah, this is really good timing.' I just had a baby and it’s kind of a mellow thing to do. But it’s also really wonderful because you get to create a bunch of characters, and do the voices and the dialects. It’s just a really kind of fantastic experience. So yeah, so it all worked out.
I worked with a coach named Nadia, who I worked with on The Help, and she’s fantastic. It was crazy, the different dialects — Hindi, Urdu, Australian. And lots of characters, so we just broke it down and worked together for a few months to try to get each of the various dialects down.
Amazingly, actually, the Australian was pretty difficult. Yeah, that’s tricky.
Oh, that’s a good question. I really loved — I mean, I don’t want to say too much that’ll give away too many plot points — but there’s an incredible romance throughout the book that I loved, and then there’s kind of a climax with that relationship. It’s quite thrilling and it’s mirrored, I think it might be the second-to-last chapter. It’s pretty near the end and when we were reading it. It flowed so well, it was just really honest.
Yeah, I’ve definitely done a bit and worked on things here and there throughout the years. I’m in the Writer’s Guild because I’ve done some screenplays. It’s a wonderful outlet and I love doing it.
We spent a couple summers in Vermont when I was really young and there was this awesome old general store and a watering hole that felt very 50s. I just remember that vividly. I think about that all the time, especially now that I have kids. I think about those kinds of things that were really meaningful to me when I was a kid. I also loved those different colored T-shirts that you would wet, and they would kind of become tie-dyed. That was very exciting. And, also honestly, bringing it back to this book, the car trips I took with my family together where we would listen to these great classics on the drive. I remember I think one of my favorite places that we went to was Hershey, Penn., and that was so fun! I think we actually listened to Tarzan on that trip. And, yeah, it was just awesome!
No, actually, I had my second child last year, and I did a few directing projects during my maternity leave. I’m actually right now at a visual effect house for a music video that I directed, so I’m just finishing that up. And I did quite a lot of development, so hopefully we’ll be putting together a feature. But as far as acting, there’re a couple of things that I’m attached to, but nothing that I can really publically admit to at this point.