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Exclusive Interview with Bryce Dallas Howard

Updated August 15, 2016

bryce dallas howardPhoto Credit: Jana MerlotMommy.com

Bryce Howard Dallas the daughter of Ron Howard stars as Grace in the new Disney film “Pete’s Dragon”. She is as sweet in person as she is on-screen and I had a chance to meet with her for an exclusive interview on Tuesday.

Pete’s Dragon was filmed in beautiful New Zealand where she was first there 30 years ago with her dad when he shot the movie “Willow”. Her kids are 9 and 4 years old and was able to take them with her while she was filming the movie Pete’s Dragon. Walking thru the woods in New Zealand there are no predators to worry about and no internet connection so it was a nice innocent perfect moment to be free from that. Having the experience of being in nature is something that she wants for her kids and truly enjoyed while she was there.

bryce dallas howard photo 2Photo Credit: Jana MerlotMommy.com

Q: Can you tell us about how you took on this role and why you wanted to do this role?

BDH : The 1977 version of Pete’s Dragon was just one of those movie collections you had as a kid and where you just watch those movies again and again.  It’s very different from the 1977 version but I think it’s so beautiful and it really reminded me of the Disney films that I watched as a child that were quite defining for me and emotional and really sort of cemented this, I don’t know, this idea of kind of like American values or something.

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Q:Did you show them the first movie?

BDH : No, they haven’t seen the first version yet but they’re going to. I have the board book that’s like the book written based on the film and I read that to them a lot. That’s already kind of getting them like hooked on the story. I didn’t want to show them that film and then have them say to me, you know, well why weren’t you singing or something like that.

Q:What is it about your character that you are you most like?

BDH : It’s really interesting with the Disney movies because watching them when I was a kid I always identified with the child and then reading the script I just instantly was thinking about it from the perspective of being a parent. I was talking to my husband about it a lot because I don’t want to create a sort of this complicated persona that’s sort of like what’s this adult, you know, persona and his children’s film?

I just wanted to really approach it simply and he said something great to me which is, he was like listen, you haven’t really played a mother. I mean you were technically a mother when you played Hilly Hollbrook but didn’t. I didn’t kind of picture her as a mother or an ideal mother at least. And he just said, you know, I mean you’ve been doing this for almost 10 years. Use this kind of the relationship and the dynamic you have with our kids and just be with Pete in the way that you are like how you talk to you know, Theo and Beatrice.

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Q: What’s it like working with Robert Redford?

BDH: He is an environmentalist and when you are around him you feel like you have so much peace. It was wonderful getting to know him and learn from him while filming. He is a family man and raising kids also, you know, in this industry and in this world. He has a lot of perspective on that and, and so, you know, it was just, it was wonderful getting to, getting to learn from him and to be around him and admire him and see that he has the most incredible head of hair.

Plus, he’s never dyed his hair.  He said his son was “like dad, you can stop dying your hair. And he’s like why don’t you believe me? I don’t dye my hair.” It’s crazy. Yeah, never.

image005Photo Credit: Disney

Q: What was your favorite moment while filming?

BDH: My favorite moment was getting to ride on the back of Elliot. I was just in hysterics that whole day. And I was sitting behind Wes last night at the premiere and I just like grabbed his shoulders when we were watching it. Yes, we were just losing it the whole time because you know, we’re adults and we have kids and just like we’re on a dragon. And the way they set it up it was kind of like this rig where, you know, it was, it was like we had harnesses on and you had to climb up, you know, you were pretty high up like climbed up on a ladder and it would move around like a ride. So it was, it was nice that they kind of replicated the Disneyland experience in New Zealand while we were shooting.

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Q: What is your favorite Disney movie and why?

BDH: My favorite Disney movie is The Little Mermaid because of course, she has red hair. As a kid I would memorize all of her songs and put my leotards on, tie them together and throw myself in the pool and pretend to be a mermaid. I did it so many times and it was so dangerous. I don’t think my parents new about it ever.

bryce dallas howard group photoPhoto Credit: Jana MerlotMommy.com

Q:What’s message do you hope people walk away from Pete’s Dragon?

BDH: So many families deal with a loss. It’s so powerful. Telling a story after a loss and finding a family is a powerful message. Disney movies are 50% entertainment and 50% therapeutic. You sort of practice those emotions as a child and you go through that experience and in a way I think stories are meant to do like prepare you for, for what is ahead, you know, prepare you for the commonalities within the human experience. Telling a story of a magical world with the real world reminds us to look for magic and make you believe that this supernatural exists.

Pete’s Dragon is now in theaters everywhere so be sure to take the whole family to see it!

Follow Pete’s Dragon on Facebook and Twitter!

Disclosure: Disney provided me with an all expense paid trip to LA to the #PetesDragonEvent #Moana #QueenofKatwe #JungleBookBluray event.  All opinions are 100% my own.

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