January 2, 2010 / 7:36 AM / in 8 years

A Minute With: Bryce Dallas Howard in "Teardrop"

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - After starring opposite giant robots in the action movie “Terminator: Salvation,” Bryce Dallas Howard plays a debutante in 1920s Memphis in the film drama “The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond.”

<p>Cast member Bryce Dallas Howard poses at the U.S. premiere of the film "Terminator Salvation" at the Grauman's Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California, May 14, 2009. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok</p>

Based on an original Tennessee Williams screenplay, the independent film opens on Friday in major U.S. cities before expanding across the United States January 8.

Howard, daughter of producer/director Ron Howard, sat down to talk to Reuters about her busy year that included not just acting in movies, but also launching a screenwriting and producing career.

Q: How does it feel to originate a Tennessee Williams character?

A: “When I was in drama school, whoever was assigned the Tennessee Williams scene was the luckiest because it was always the juiciest, sexiest and most dangerous scene. So to originate a Tennessee Williams heroine is something that never, ever occurred to me as a possibility.”

Q: You shot it shortly after having a baby with husband Seth Gabel.

A: “Literally two weeks after giving birth, I was working on the part, learning to play the piano. I was worried that it was a huge responsibility and I wouldn’t be able to rise to the occasion. (Director) Jodie Markell was so helpful. She’s a mom as well, and she kept talking me through it. Once we started shooting, I was lucky to have a character to lose myself in. I had to let certain things go, like fixating all day long in how I could be a better parent or how I‘m a terrible parent or how I should be doing more as a parent.”

Q: You grew up on your dad’s sets and were always an extra in his movies. How does that affect you today?

A: “I have distinct memories of being on the set and loving it. If I got in trouble, I would get grounded from the set. It was the worst punishment you could give me. It’s actually kind of a problem today because it’s hard to get me to leave when I‘m done with my workday. They’re like, ‘Your car is here; time to go home.’ I‘m always like, ‘Can’t I just hang around until we wrap?’ I still have associations that I‘m getting punished if I have to go home.”

Q: You and your writing partner Dane Charbeneau are writing a screenplay for Universal Pictures and your father Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment. How did that come about?

A: “They brought Dane and I in to consult -- not for any money, but because it’s my dad’s company. They wanted advice on a project they were working on. Dane and I wanted to be prepared so we were like, ‘Okay, they want to do a movie about our generation, so what are some of the things we want to see if we were watching a movie about our generation?’ We came up with a story that we decided to use as an example. They said, ‘Would you guys be interested in writing that?'”

Q: You’re also producing a movie with Imagine that’s shooting in Oregon now with Gus Van Sant directing.

A: “It’s a film that Jason Lew, one of my best friends from NYU, wrote. We developed it together for two years. A lot of companies were interested in it, but I was first time producer and they all said, ”and then we’ll take it from here.“ I had a strong point of view of how the film should be developed and how it should go into production, post-production, marketing, etc. Imagine was also interested. I felt that it was a very safe place to have a voice. And if I was wrong, I would get checked for it and people wouldn’t be afraid to call me out.”

Q: With everything on your plate, you seem to be leading an almost parallel life to your father‘s.

A: “We’re very, very similar, but these are genuine interests of mine. I‘m not just trying to be like him. I can’t ignore the fact that I have the greatest mentor possible for the things that I‘m interested in. I’ve had an amazing chance to have a type of apprenticeship with my father -- to learn from him and to work with him. It’s been the most positive, healthy, nurturing and challenging experience of my life.”

Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Patricia Reaney

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