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Published:June 26th, 2010 12:19 EST
Hanging Out With Bryce Dallas Howard, Twilight's 'Eclipse'

Hanging Out With Bryce Dallas Howard, Twilight's 'Eclipse'

By H.B. Forman

Taking over the role of the evil vampire Victoria in `Eclipse` was not something that Bryce Dallas Howard took lightly.

After all, stepping in another actresses` shoes can be risky enough, but with the `Twilight` franchise, the fans are fiercely loyal and who wants to mess with them. "It is something I deeply considered and talked about with many people," the lovely, red-haired 29-year-old actress recently confessed. "Happily, they embraced me and I adore all of them."

Bryce Dallas Howard

The long-anticipated summer movie Eclipse will be released on June 30.

Now that the movie is about to become this summer`s blockbuster, the fans are eagerly embracing Bryce as the bloodsucking Victoria, who unleashes a group of newborn bloodsuckers [vampires] to hunt down the movie`s heroine Bella Swan. "She is such a good actress, that she had no problem freaking out her co-stars. It was really easy to be scared of her," says Kristen Stewart, who plays leading lady Bella.

The 29-year-old actress had a relatively normal upbringing in Connecticut, despite the fact that her dad is famed actor/director Ron Howard from Happy Days, American Graffiti, a Beautiful Mind and other blockbuster movies. She has two younger twin sisters, Jocelyn and Paige, born in 1985, and a brother, Reed Howard, born in 1987.

Life may have seemed quite normal, but not everyone has Henry Winkler [Fonzie from Happy Days] as his or her godfather.

Howard was raised in Greenwich, Connecticut, because her parents decided to raise their four children as far away from the trappings of showbiz milieu as possible. During most of her childhood she really did not have much access to a TV.

She attended Greenwich Country Day School, and Byram Hills High School in Armonk, New York. She attended the prestigious Steppenwolf Theater School and Stagedoor Manor Performing Arts camp at Catskills together with her friend Natalie Portman.

She applied to drama school as Bryce Dallas, dropping her last name so she wouldn`t get special treatment because of association with her father.

As a young girl she appeared in three of her father`s movies as an extra, including her appearance with her mom in Apollo 13.

She made her feature-film debut as Heather, a supporting role in `Book of Love` (2004) by director Alan Brown. Director M. Night Shyamalan was so impressed by her performance in a Broadway play that he cast her without an audition as a female lead in his two thrillers: `The Village` (2004) and `Lady in the Water` (2006).

Howard replaced Nicole Kidman in `Dogville` (2003) sequel, /Manderlay/ (2005). She stars as Rosalind in As You Like It (2006), a reprise of her stage role that made such an impression on Shyamalan. She is also billed as Gwen Stacy in the third installment of the Spider-Man franchise, `Spider-Man 3` (2007).

"Bryce is fantastic in `Eclipse`, people are going to love her," predicts co-star Peter Facinelli, who plays Dr. Cullen, the very pale and caring leader of the Cullen family.

Howard became a devoted vegan since Joaquin Phoenix showed her Earthlings (2007), a documentary about animal cruelty. After seeing that, she has consumed no animal products, not even milk or eggs. Her other activities outside of her more and more high profile acting include playing basketball and writing.

On June 17, 2006, she married her long-term boyfriend, actor Seth Gabel, in Connecticut. The two met at New York University and had dated for five years before they were married. On February 16, 2007, Bryce and Seth, became parents of their first child, a boy, named Theodore Norman Howard Gabel.

When she was not filming scenes for Eclipse, Bryce and her husband and son spent their free-time touring Vancouver, which they truly enjoyed. She says that her young son was welcomed on the set, but mostly during the louder stunt scenes. "It`s difficult to tell a young child to hush, that we are making a movie here."

Let`s talk about some personal stuff -you have an adorable three-year-old son, Theo, how has he changed your life? How`s motherhood.

BRYCE DALLAS HOWARD: Truly amazing. It changes everything. I think having him in my life has made me more intentional and selective about my work because it does mean long hours away from him.

Anything else you noticed about you since you become a mom?

BD: Yes, it`s given me a renewed sense of joyfulness and playfulness seeing the world through my young child`s eyes. It`s like seeing everything for the first time. I see him use his vast imagination, which is so vast and my time with him is so special and you start seeing that in other aspects of your life. That sense of joy and childishness, it`s really great.

Are there favorite things you and Theo do?

BD: Everything. Exploring, reading, learning, going to the park, finding educational toys - with him every day and every moment is a new adventure.

What kind of grandfather is your dad well-known director Ron Howard?

BD: Oh, my gosh, he is amazing. He`s very involved. My son goes over to my parents` house every Friday night and he spends the night. It`s amazing. I know that my father is an amazing father, but I never got to the chance to see what he was like when we were all babies and toddlers, because I was a child myself.

Tell me more.

BD: But it`s so incredible to see how great he is with my son, and the way he plays with him. It`s nice because my parents had me young and I had my son when I was young, so they are young grandparents and get to be very hands on with him.

Did you always want to be an actress - keeping it in the family so to speak and keeping up your father`s legacy?

BD: No, not really. I love it. I didn`t always know that I was going to do it. But I went to college and studied acting in school. I fell in love with it. And I feel very fortunate to have parents who support me and my acting dreams and who understand the industry that I`m in.

Go on, please.

BD: There are a lot of parents don`t and a lot of my acting friends are misunderstood by their parents, who say `go get a real job.` I feel very lucky for that I don`t get that from my family.

Eclipse is your fist Twilight movie. So how was it coming into this `Twilight` world for the first time?

BD: I had not only read the books, but one of my friends actually made this little pack of Post-It notes for me with Rob`s face, that said, `Live dangerously.` All of my friends were like, `Why are you so obsessed?` I was just like, `it`s so dangerous. Their love is so dangerous.` It was very fast and it was very sudden.

Tell me more.

BD: To be honest, I was intimidated going into it, for a variety of reasons, but I felt so lucky to get to meet this group of people. It`s a group of people that has genuine friendships and is so deeply committed to doing justice to these stories, and who always put the character and the story first. Obviously, that`s translated, and I think that`s why the movies are as beloved as they are.

What do you think of your co-stars in Eclipse?

BD: Great friends and great actors. Kristen kept asking about my son and Rob and Taylor are truly terrific guys.

How did you approach your big fight scene with Rob Pattinson?

BD: There was a lot of fight training that happened to prepare for it. Actors are always nervous about not only hurting each other, but perhaps hitting each other`s face and ending one`s career. So, there was a lot of preparation that made us feel more comfortable, certainly. I just knew that, if I rustled his hair, millions of young women would want to kill me, so I was quite cautious for that reason. It was fun. There`s a point at which you`re wrestling for six consecutive hours that it just becomes absurd. You just can`t help, but laugh. It ultimately was great

Did the latest book influence your performance?

BD: No, because it wasn`t given to me, I didn`t feel entitled to take it from Xavier`s room. But, I was like, "Can you read some of it out loud to me?," and he did. He read all the Victoria parts.

Your character is more fully fleshed out in Stephenie`s new book, The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner. Did you all read that and, if so, did it influence your performance?

BD: Since I was the resident Twi-hard in my group, I was ridiculed for it, and now it`s like, ha. Now, they fully need to embrace it and support it.

How did you decide on your look for your hair in the film?

BD: Actually, quite ironically, I flew out on a Monday or a Tuesday to do the role, and that Friday before; I had dyed my hair really dark. My natural hair color is an orange red, which is what is depicted in the book, but that Friday, I dyed my hair really dark and, by Monday, I had learned about it and flew out the next day. I showed up and they were like, this is not the girl we hired. Shooting had to start pretty quickly, so I wore a wig, which I was really happy about because it was really important to have continuity with the character. Even though my hair color was perhaps right, I felt that the texture and everything needed to be as exact as possible.

Talk about the overall Twilight experience and attraction to it?

BD: There`s definitely an epic scale to this movie and to this chapter of the Saga that is probably unique and distinct to `Eclipse`. The story does culminate in this massive battle sequence, at the end. There are multiple threats, like the strife between the Wolf Pack and the Cullens, and there`s the Volturi, and Victoria is after Bella, and Riley is after Bella and the Cullens, and there`s a Newborn Army of vampires that now exists. It definitely became like an epic action film.

What was the most challenging scene that you had to do?

BD: The most challenging part for me was the big fight scene. Because there`s so much build up to that moment, there was so much training that went into the choreography of that final battle sequence and I didn`t want to mess it up. I certainly didn`t want to punch Robert Pattinson in the face.

Bryce, you approached Stephenie about the voice for Victoria. As a fan of the books, how hard was it to approach her?

BD: Yeah, it is intimidating to talk to Stephenie, although she is not an intimidating person. She`s a really, really lovely woman, and a very warm person. It wasn`t that I wanted to do anything different at all. It`s just that Stephenie wrote in the book, very clearly, that when Victoria spoke, she had a surprisingly high voice, almost like a little girl. So, I wanted to know more of what she envisioned, in terms of that, so it didn`t seem silly and I wasn`t doing a caricature of what she had written, but rather an honest depiction of what she had written. That was just something we had a brief conversation about.

What are you working on next?

BD: I did a Clint Eastwood film, called `Hereafter`. I`m really excited about. It`s coming out later this year, with Matt Damon. It`s supernatural. And then, I did a comedy with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen, which used to be called `I`m With Cancer`, but now it`s Untitled Comedy.

Aren`t you also doing `The Help`?

BD: Yes, I`m doing The Help in a couple of weeks.

Will that be faithful to the book?

BD: Yeah. The script really is, but it`s not been shot yet. Millions of things happen on a film shoot.

What is a supernatural Clint Eastwood movie like?

BD: To be totally honest, I`m getting the impression that they`re still being private and secretive about the process, so I don`t want to reveal too much because I don`t want to be the person that messed up and said something when they`re trying to keep it a secret.

What projects do you want to do in the future?

BD: I desire to do everything; I just want to be involved and play at something that I truly love.