Bryce Dallas Howard
- March 02, 1981 (age 40)
- Actor, Screenwriter, Film Director
- Seth Gabel
- Ron Howard, Cheryl Howard
Bryce Dallas Howard (born March 2, 1981) is an American film actress, writer and director. The daughter of director Ron Howard, she made her acting debut in her father's film Parenthood (1989) and went on to have small roles in films and make stage appearances for the next several years. During this time she also attended New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, later getting a BFA and went to drama schools. After she came to the attention of M. Night Shyamalan, he cast her in what would be her breakout film, The Village (2004) and then in Lady in the Water (2006). Her performance in As You Like It (2006) earned her a Golden Globe Award nomination.
Howard became more recognizable to audiences as Gwen Stacy in Spider-Man 3 (2007) and as Victoria in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010). Those two projects, as well as Terminator Salvation (2009), are among her most financially successful movies, but all three garnered mixed reviews from the press. Her most recent films include the 2011 releases of The Help and 50/50. She is currently playing the role of Claire in the sequel to the 2001 film Jurassic Park III, Jurassic World.
Conceived in Dallas, Texas – the source of her middle name – Howard was born in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of writer Cheryl Alley and actor-director Ron Howard, on March 2, 1981. Her paternal grandparents are actors Rance Howard and the late Jean Speegle Howard; her uncle is actor Clint Howard; and her godfather is actor Henry Winkler, who co-starred on Happy Days with her father. Howard and her younger sisters, twins Jocelyn Carlyle Howard and Paige Carlyle Howard (born 1985), and their younger brother, Reed Cross Howard (born 1987), were named after the places they were conceived. All of the Howard children were raised away from the world of show business. Their parents did not allow them access to television and instead encouraged outdoor activities and hobbies. At the age of 7, however, she was allowed to be an extra in her father's movies. In an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Howard mentioned that she and her siblings were babysat by family friend Tom Cruise on several occasions. She was raised in Westchester, New York and on a farm in Greenwich, Connecticut.
Howard attended Stagedoor Manor, a performing arts camp in upstate New York, with actress Natalie Portman. After graduating from high school, she studied at New York University's (NYU) Tisch School of the Arts for three years, during which time she also attended the Stella Adler Conservatory, The Experimental Wing, and International Theatre Wing in Amsterdam. During her schooling, she took part in the concept recording of the Broadway-bound musical A Tale of Two Cities. She graduated with her BFA in Drama in 2003. Howard is also an alumna of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company's School at Steppenwolf in Chicago, and of The Actors Center in New York City. During her time in New York, Howard was also a member of downtown theater company Theater Mitu, in residence at New York Theatre Workshop, who are known for their exploration of theatrical forms. When she had applied to drama schools she dropped her last name to avoid special treatment because of her father. She later had second thoughts because her first and middle name combined made her sound like a porn star.
After her film debut, Parenthood as an uncredited extra, Howard played an extra in her father's critically lauded Apollo 13 (1995) and the 2000 holiday live action Universal Studios film How the Grinch Stole Christmas. While on her father's film sets, she would often socialize with the crew rather than the actors. For the next several years, Howard appeared in New York plays. Among these were House and Garden, a 2002 Alan Ayckbourn production held at the Manhattan Theatre Club, in which she portrayed a disdainful, flirtatious teen. While performing as Rosalind in the critically acclaimed 2003 William Shakespeare comedy production As You Like It, Howard caught the eye of director M. Night Shyamalan. Howard was not familiar with the play and was cast just one day before it started. She then starred in the Alan Brown-directed 2004 drama Book of Love, about a young woman having an affair with a lonely teenage boy, destroying her marriage. It was generally ignored by critics and movie goers alike.
Her breakthrough role came in Shyamalan's fantasy thriller The Village (2004). When Kirsten Dunst could not commit to the schedule, Howard was cast without having to audition two weeks after Shyamalan first saw her onstage. Its story is about a "turn-of-the-20th-century" village whose residents live in fear of the creatures inhabiting the woods beyond it. She plays the female lead, the chief's blind daughter and love interest to Joaquin Phoenix's part. Her performance was applauded by critics and Howard was nominated for several awards, mostly in the category of "Best Breakthrough Performance". The Village did well commercially, but had a mixed reception.
On June 17, 2006, Howard married actor Seth Gabel, with whom she now lives in Hollywood, California. The two met at New York University and dated for five years. She had only one previous boyfriend and claims to have pursued Gabel vigorously after first meeting him. They had planned to start a family together in their 30s. However, seven days after their wedding, she learned that she was expecting their first child. Howard gave birth to their child, a son named Theodore Norman Howard-Gabel, nicknamed Theo, on February 16, 2007. Theo's godfather is actor Josh Gad. Howard openly discussed having experienced post-partum depression. Howard had difficulty breast-feeding, which she found to be more painful than experiencing natural child birth and would often cry in the shower. Rather than refer to her son by his name, she would call him "it". Feeling overwhelmed and unable to make decisions, Howard also felt not only disconnected from her husband and baby, but herself as well. With the help of a physician and a therapist she recovered from the depression, which lasted for about 18 months. Howard said of the depression in 2010:
"Do I wish I had never endured post-partum depression? Absolutely. But to deny the experience is to deny who I am. I still mourn the loss of what could have been, but I also feel deep gratitude for those who stood by me, for the lesson that we must never be afraid to ask for help, and for the feeling of summer that still remains."
Howard gave birth to the couple's second child, daughter Beatrice Jean Howard-Gabel, on January 19, 2012.