Bryce Dallas Howard (born March 2, 1981) is an American actress and director.
She is the eldest daughter of actor and filmmaker Ron Howard. Born in Los Angeles, Howard attended New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, initially leaving in 1999 to take roles on Broadway, but officially graduated in 2020.
While appearing in a 2003 production of As You Like It, Howard caught the attention of director M. Night Shyamalan, who cast her in the psychological thriller The Village (2004). It proved to be her breakout role and she subsequently starred in the title role of Shyamalan’s fantasy thriller Lady in the Water (2006). Her performance in Kenneth Branagh’s As You Like It (2006) earned her a Golden Globe Award nomination, and she appeared as Gwen Stacy in Sam Raimi’s superhero film Spider-Man 3 (2007). Howard went on to appear in the action film Terminator Salvation (2009) and the fantasy film The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010), both of which were financially successful but garnered mixed reviews from critics. Howard had supporting roles in the acclaimed 2011 comedy-dramas 50/50 and The Help. She gained wider recognition for starring as Claire Dearing in the adventure film Jurassic World (2015) and its sequel Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018), which rank as her most financially successful films. She also had a starring role in the adventure film Pete’s Dragon (2016) and a supporting role in the Elton John biopic Rocketman (2019).
Howard’s directorial ventures include a segment of the television drama film Call Me Crazy: A Five Film (2013), the documentary Dads (2019), and episodes of the Disney+ science fiction series The Mandalorian (2019–2020). She is married to the actor Seth Gabel, with whom she has two children.
In 2015, Howard starred opposite Chris Pratt, in the science-fiction action film Jurassic World, the fourth installment in the Jurassic Park franchise. She portrayed Claire Dearing, the operations manager at the titular theme park who is “accomplished, flawed and myopic” and undergoes development throughout the film. Howard did extensive ankle exercises in order to complete the scenes where her character was “running through the jungle in heels” in almost three feet of mud, which she described as “one of the hardest things ever had to do.” Jurassic World was a commercial and critical success, with Howard’s performance and on-screen chemistry with Pratt receiving praise. Rolling Stone described her portrayal “dynamo” and “nobody’s patsy” while the Associated Press wrote that “it is Howard who makes the biggest impact her transformation is the most convincing one in a film full of dubious evolutions.” The Los Angeles Times and The Atlantic considered Dearing and her use of heels as “sexist”, while Bustle and Inquisitr labelled Howard’s character as a “feminist hero.” Howard disagreed with the former view, stating that the character was “disconnected from reality and herself” and was “in high heels because she’s a woman who has been in high heels her whole life, and she can f—ing sprint in them.””
In 2016, she starred in the fantasy adventure Pete’s Dragon, a remake of the 1977 film of the same name. Howard described the film was a “beautiful story” that “doesn’t step on the toes of the original.” Pete’s Dragon was released to critical and commercial success. Howard appeared in the crime drama Gold as Matthew McConaughey’s character’s girlfriend, Kay. Howard stated that her character’s “satisfaction with her life” and “toughness” drew her to the role. Gold opened to a limited release with mixed reviews. The Hollywood Reporter dubbed her portrayal “sturdy, salt-of-the-earth” type who “makes impression.” That same year, she appeared in “Nosedive”, an episode of the Netflix anthology series Black Mirror. Howard gained 30 pounds (14 kg) for the role, saying in an interview that body shaming is a “huge part of the subtext of the story”. She chose a laugh for Lacie which mixed “fear”, “disingenuousness” and “depression”. Both the episode and Howard received critical praise; The Guardian lauded her portrayal as “brilliantly played” and The Atlantic wrote that “Howard’s performance is terrific—she conveys Lacie’s inner frustration while grinning cheerfully through it.” Howard received a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for her performance.
Howard reprised her role as Claire in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018), in which her character appears as a fervent dinosaur-rights activist; the film was a commercial hit and received mixed reception. For certain scenes in the film, Howard trained with a veterinary surgeon with experience with African wildlife for maximum accuracy. Variety stated that Howard “projects a luminous concern for God’s ancient revived creatures” while Empire praised both Pratt and Howard for “develop their characters beyond the archetypes they inhabited”. In 2019, Howard provided the voice of the titular character, Bella in A Dog’s Way Home, which opened to critical and commercial success. Howard appeared as Elton John’s mother, Sheila Dwight, in the musical biopic Rocketman (2019), directed by Dexter Fletcher. Howard describes her character as “witty, funny” but also “very unhappy…”, saying that it was an important reminder as a mother to “see what the impact can be on a child” when a parent’s mental health wanes. Howard worked extensively with make-up artists to design the character’s look as she aged and used Elizabeth Taylor as inspiration for her portrayal. Rocketman was a box office hit and garnered critical acclaim, receiving a nomination for the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. The Chicago Sun-Times praised Howard for her “finely nuanced work”, with CinemaBlend referring to her performance as a “wicked portrayal that really ties a film together”.
Howard made her feature film directorial debut with the documentary film Dads. It premiered at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival, where it was named second runner-up for the People’s Choice Award for Documentaries. The film received critical acclaim; Variety wrote that “Howard favors observation over lecture, anecdotes over numbers, showing instead of telling what equally split primary-caregiving looks like in contemporary households” and The Guardian said the film “mixes the platitudinous with the genuinely moving”. She directed two episodes of the Disney+ series The Mandalorian, which premiered in 2019 and 2020. On the story, Howard said that the existence of a “larger world” in telling a story can be “a real asset”, while maintaining character depth and appeal to both casual and devoted viewers. Howard’s direction received positive response, with DiscussingFilm stating that she “crafts to be admirably quaint” and praised her “ecstatic framing” that made for “wholesome visuals” while Den of Geek declared that she ” the episode pop and “knows what makes Star Wars tick”.