Bryce Dallas Howard takes on Hollywood as Gwen Stacy in `Spider-Man 3′

By The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES – No wonder Bryce Dallas Howard is smiling.

The eldest daughter of Ron Howard, the Oscar-winning director of “A Beautiful Mind,” is a newlywed, a new mom, and now a classic comic-book babe as Gwen Stacy, Peter Parker’s new crush in “Spider-Man 3.”

Howard first gained fame in M. Night Shyamalan’s 2004 film, “The Village,” and went on to become the ethereal star of his “Lady in the Water” two years later.

But “Spider-Man 3” is her first big summer blockbuster, and judging by her grin, she’s ready for more.

Despite having a baby boy just 10 weeks ago (with husband Seth Gabel) Howard, 26, is out promoting the film and already looking forward to her next project, a leading role in “The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond,” due in 2008.

Folded into an overstuffed chair at Beverly Hills’ Four Seasons Hotel and peeking out from beneath her long red bangs, Howard beamed as she talked with The Associated Press about motherhood, movies and what she’s learned from her famous father.


AP: How does “Spider-Man 3” compare to other films you’ve done?

Howard: It is supersized. Literally I would walk around the Sony lot … and they took over the entire lot practically. I was really surprised because when I was on set with (Director) Sam (Raimi) and all the other actors, it felt so intimate and fun and playful. Then when I finally saw the movie I remembered again, “God this is such a big movie.” I cant believe it, because it didn’t seem like a high-pressure situation. It seemed really relaxed and cool and like we were just making this movie.

AP: Are you a fan of superhero films?

Howard: I was really into this franchise in particular because although it is obviously this big film and there are these huge action sequences that are absolutely terrifying, it really is, at the end of the day, just a great character piece. Sam creates these really complex characters and there’s a lot of humor in it as well. It’s very, very funny, so it’s an incredibly balanced film. It’s terrifying, it’s hilarious, it’s emotional, it’s beautiful.

AP: Are you at the point yet where you’re giving your dad advice?

Howard: Oh God, no. Are you crazy? All the time I come up with these weird ideas or theories. I have all these theories about the industry or the future of storytelling, that kind of thing, so I’ll talk to him about that, but no, that man needs no advice from me, trust me.

AP: Does he give you a lot of advice?

Howard: No, he’s really great in that way. I mean, I ask him for advice sometimes, but he never gives unsolicited advice. He’s always kind of letting us – myself and my siblings – find our own way, make our own mistakes and come to our own conclusions. He’s pretty much the ideal parent.

AP: Are there any downsides to having such a famous father?

Howard: No. Sure, there have been times where there has been a bit of criticism and people say I’m only in this industry because he’s in this industry and all that kind of stuff, but that’s OK. I’m really grateful to have the father that I have and if I’m going to get that kind of criticism, I have to take it with a grain of salt. … I feel so lucky to have parents who are so supportive. I know a lot of my friends who are actors, their parents don’t quite understand … whereas my parents … know it’s possible. That itself is such an advantage just knowing your parents believe in you.

AP: Is there a genre that appeals to you more than others?

Howard: No, I like doing it all because I have a lot to learn. I want to immerse myself in as many genres as possible and as many different industries as possible. I love the European film community, I love the independent film community. I love now, with “Spider-Man,” being part of the more conventional Hollywood film community. So I just want to continue doing that and gathering as much information as possible and experiences as possible.

AP: How about a director you dream of working with?

Howard: I would love to work with my dad. I’m dying to work with my dad. We talk about it and I harass him about it. But I think eventually, if there is a role that’s totally appropriate and perfect, I hope it would become a reality. I have a bit further to go though.