It’s hard to say which is more incredible: that Ron Howards Age 68 or no other Lifetime Achievement Awards. After all, if Howard had stuck to acting, he’d still be considered an icon thanks to her roles as Opie in The Andy Griffith Show and Richie Cunningham in Happy Days. But what he really wanted to do was direct, and his production for the last 40+ years, including his most recent, 13 livesa truth-life drama about a soccer team trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand, has been absolutely incredible (see “Career Highs”). Howard was honored at the 25the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) Savannah Film Festival this year with the Lifetime Achievement in Directing Award. parade I took the opportunity to ask him about his long career and what he’s up to next.
How do you attribute all your success behind the camera?
A lot of it has to do with being in the right place at the right time with the right ideas to work with. But it also helped connect with [co-producer] Brian Grazer all those years ago and navigate the system together. We formed our production company, Imagine Entertainment [in 1985], and we knew we could do a good job. That was huge. Sustaining that relationship is rare and a gift.
What are some of the highlights of your career? Win the Oscar for An amazing mind?
Yes, winning the Oscar [in 2002] it was a remarkable emotion. [Another highlight is] the first time Brian Grazer and I were driving and we saw lines around the block to Splash [in 1984]“That was this life-affirming moment. It felt like some kind of arrival, or at least proof that this kind of success was possible. But oh man, I’ll never forget the going away party for [1977’s] Grand Theft Auto. I had to star in it to direct it, and I also co-wrote it. [The party] it took place in this dive next to the race track where we had just completed the Destruction Derby sequence. We were all dancing and shooting. I remember dancing with my wife and saying, “You know, I love this even more than I thought.” And as soon as I saw the cut of the movie, I realized that I had a lot to learn!
Which of your films do you think is ripe for a remake?
I’m always thinking about doing more with the format of [1989’s] Paternity. We have talked about theater, about making another film or even applying it to other cultures. Every once in a while people want to talk about doing something with [1985’s] Cocoon Y [1991’s] countercurrent again. But I think it’s both of our instincts to keep looking forward. [Brian and I are] always trying to look at storytelling in different ways and find new partners for collaboration. That excites us more than anything.
Why take on a project like your recent thirteen lives?
I felt the timing was perfect. What these people achieved in this bailout was an object lesson in international cooperation and simply ignoring political, ideological and religious differences. It was the right thing. I felt like it was really a subject to connect with on a granular emotional and psychological level; to try to understand what it might have been like to be there and to be in the middle of something so amazing and positive.
It really was a miracle that they all survived.
It was about the human process. There were no guarantees because there were so many risks and for people to take those risks was a miracle. A miracle doesn’t mean you sit around and wait for it. They really operated on the premise that if even one life could be saved, it was worth the risk.
How difficult was filming?
I have to admit, it was a fantastic filming challenge. About 30 percent was in Thai, which is a language I don’t speak. And I knew that capturing the diving scenes would be challenging as the level of weightlessness in [1995’s] apollo 13 and the fires in countercurrent. He was excited to tackle it, even though it was a grueling undertaking.
Where do you go from here?
I’m always trying to find the next project. I have my first animated movie coming soon on Netflix, and I’m working on a documentary about Jim Henson. In fact, I’m looking at my hotel room desk and it’s full of notes because I have an important meeting tomorrow and I’m trying to collect my thoughts. So, I really try not to look back as much because I’m too busy.
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Upcoming Ron Howard Movies
The Treehorn Shrink (Netflix)
Howard’s first animated film is based on a 1971 children’s book of the same name by Florence Parry. The book was illustrated by the beloved Edward Gorey (the artist responsible for those wonderful Masterpiece Theater animations). In the book, a boy named Treehorn begins to shrink a little each day, and no one around him seems to notice.
Untitled Jim Henson Project (Disney)
Howard will produce and direct this documentary about the creator of The Muppets, Sesame Street and more. the henson family is cooperating with Disney and Howard and the document may contain never-before-seen footage of Henson’s early performances and puppets.
Ron Howard’s greatest movies
Grand Theft Auto (1977)
apollo 13 (nineteen ninety five)
An amazing mind (2001)
The Da Vinci Code (2006)
In the heart of the sea (2015)
Just a Star Wars History (2018)
thirteen lives (2022)