Ron Howard may be an Oscar-winning director today, but he hasn’t always felt like his work was worth the hype.
The former Andy Griffith Show star has been in Hollywood since he was only 2. He got his start in acting and landed starring roles in major sitcoms like Happy Days and blockbuster hits like American Graffiti. He then moved behind the camera for directing and producing in his 20s, after attending film school at the University of Southern California.
In the years that followed, Howard became one of the industry’s most respected directors with movies such as Apollo 13, Cinderella Man, and The Da Vinci Code on his resume. He’s also the genius behind A Beautiful Mind, which earned him two Academy Awards in 2002.
Ron Howard Isn’t Impressed by His First-Ever Directed Film
But all great accomplishments come with great work. And Ron Howard admitted that he didn’t find immediate success or chemistry with directing and producing. He had to create a few lackluster projects first. In fact, he still feels a tinge of regret for his first film as a director, Grand Theft Auto, which was released in 1977.
“I was a little disappointed in my first movie and the first couple of TV movies I made after that,” he told DGA in 2009. “I just felt like the magic wasn’t happening, you know?”
Fortunately, Ron Howard found his sea legs by 1982 while filming Night Shift. The movie starred his Happy Days co-star and real-life best friend, Henry Winkler, and several A-listers. The actors helped Howard find his confidence and flow.
“But by the time I was doing Night Shift, which was my first high-profile film but maybe my fifth or sixth undertaking as a director, I was much looser and freer. I was able to let Michael Keaton run with that wild character and to trust him, Howard continued. “He and Henry Winkler both had the green light to ad-lib. But we also had a fantastic script by Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel.”
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