Bryce Dallas Howard's feature directorial debut explores contemporary fatherhood in a documentary format

By Nigel Smith
September 06, 2019 06:36 PM

Bryce Dallas Howard had to get a little sneaky to complete her feature directorial debut.

The Jurassic World actress, 38, follows in her famous father Ron Howard’s footsteps with Dads, which sees her step behind the camera to explore contemporary fatherhood in a documentary format.

Of course Bryce made a choice to include her own dad, who won an Oscar for directing 2001’s A Beautiful Mind. But to her surprise, he wasn’t so eager to take part, which led her to go behind his back.

“My dad straight up when I first pitched this, he was like, ‘Not with our family.’ When it came to telling a version of my family story — that was something that my dad wasn’t interested in,” she recalled to PEOPLE and Entertainment Weekly in Toronto, where the film is having its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on Friday.

“So I went and I stole our home videos,” she continued. “I did! I didn’t tell him. My mom was very cool with it because it was very important to me that I got her consent.”

Bryce Dallas and Ron Howard
JAKE CHESSUM

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Ron eventually relented and agreed to participate in the documentary.

He’s not the only familiar face to appear in Bryce’s project: the documentary also features Will Smith, Jimmy Fallon and Neil Patrick Harris, all of whom dish out wisdom about being a dad. Bryce also includes portraits of non-celebrity dads from all over the world, who speak to evolving nature of fatherhood.

The Toronto International Film Festival runs through to Sept. 15.

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