Ron Howard Recalls Watching Daughter Bryce Dallas Howard Perform Nude in 'Bold' College Play

"It was a complete assault on a father's psyche," Ron Howard joked

Bryce Dallas Howard, Ron Howard
Photo: Rich Fury/VF20/Getty

Ron Howard jokes seeing daughter Bryce Dallas Howard perform nude in an experimental college play was a "complete assault" on his psyche.

At one point during a new episode of In Depth with Graham Bensinger, the Oscar-winning director, 69, recalled going to see daughter Bryce, now 42, act in a college play, not knowing the cast would be naked for most of the show.

"Within seven or eight minutes into the show, nobody had any clothes on," said Ron. "It was experimental theater. And I was sitting next to my dad — I wasn't sure what he would think. When it was over, he turned to me and he said, 'I think that's just great. That's what college is all about. She's never going to be afraid onstage again.' That's just the way he viewed things. So he was proud of her, of her courage as an artist."

Host Bensinger asked Ron if he was hesitant about going to the performance at all, but the filmmaker said with a laugh, "No, because first of all, I knew there was nudity. I didn't realize it was full-body, nonstop. It was a complete assault on a father's psyche."

He added, "It was quality. But it was bold."

Ron Howard (L) and actress Cheryl Howard attend the 2018 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on March 4, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California
Ron Howard and wife Cheryl Howard in 2018. John Shearer/Getty

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Though it was a household rule that Ron and wife Cheryl wouldn't let their kids Bryce, Reed, Paige and Jocelyn start acting until they were 18, Ron told Bensinger he became aware Bryce could act professionally when she'd stand in on sets at around 13 years old.

"I saw that she could do it," he said. "[I was] proud of her but a little terrified because the business is so much tougher for women than it is for men, and I dreaded the fact that she was gonna have the talent to really be able to make a run at it."

Bryce went on to have several big-screen roles in films like The Village, The Help, Rocketman and the recent Jurassic World franchise. She's also a director, having made the documentary Dads and at work on the upcoming Flight of the Navigator remake.

She officially graduated from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in 2020 after she first enrolled in an undergrad program at NYU in 1999 but "took a leave of absence to start working as an actor."

The actress told the Los Angeles Times in 2020 that she didn't divulge her family name while enrolled at NYU so as not to fall under her famous dad's shadow.

RELATED VIDEO: Bryce Dallas Howard Opens Up About Convincing Ron Howard to Join Her Film: 'He's a Real Softy'

"I was insecure about that when I was younger," she said at the time. "When I went to NYU, I wouldn't tell anyone my last name and I was like, 'No, Dad, you can't come see my play because people might recognize you.' "

Bryce said she "realized pretty quickly," however, that Cheryl and Ron are "exceptional" parents whom she shouldn't take for granted.

"For me to be weird about something that, honestly, really doesn't have anything to do with me — I just realized, that's just shortsighted," she said. "So many of my peers at NYU had parents who were really not supportive of them being artists in any way, shape or form, which totally made sense because they were scared for them. I had parents who were emotionally supportive of me. ... There wasn't a lot of baggage that I inherited from them in that way."

The full episode of In Depth with Graham Bensinger with Ron Howard debuts in broadcast syndication across the U.S. this weekend.

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