Film interview: Bryce Dallas

Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt in Jurassic World.
Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt in Jurassic World.
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Bryce Dallas Howard, the leading lady in Jurassic World was just 12 when Jurassic Park was released. Keeley Bolger speaks to her.

Assuming she “would never get a chance” to audition for a role in the much-anticipated blockbuster Jurassic World, Bryce Dallas Howard had another reason for “begging” for a meeting with the director Colin Trevorrow.

“I was just looking at that meeting as a chance to get spoilers,” says the 34-year-old, laughing.

“As a fan, I wanted to know what they were going to do with Jurassic World, and I think what they chose to do was absolutely inspired,” adds the actress, best known for her performances in The Help, Spider-Man 3 and the Twilight movies.

In Jurassic World, the action takes place in the dinosaur theme park originally envisioned by Dr John Hammond (played by the late Richard Attenborough). Howard plays operational manager Claire who, at first, is desperate to attract visitors. But, of course, things go terribly wrong, and she ends up having to call in ex-military animal expert Owen (Chris Pratt) to try and save the day.

Playing the “powerful” but “misguided” Claire was a hearty life lesson for the actress, who is the eldest daughter of Happy Days actor and acclaimed director Ron Howard.

Growing up, her parents (her mum is author Cheryl Howard) were against Howard and her three younger siblings becoming child actors, although they did relent and allow their eldest daughter to play a tiny un-credited role in her dad’s 1989 comedy Parenthood.

But Howard, who visited her father’s film sets in the school holidays, was determined to act, and as soon as she was old enough, she trained at New York’s Tisch School Of The Arts where she met her future husband Seth Gabel, who starred in The Da Vinci Code and US TV series Fringe.

“Claire needed to let go of control,” explains the actress, who has inherited her famous dad’s thick auburn hair, green eyes and friendly manner.

“This was a really important journey for me in my own spirit, because I consider myself a bit of an organised person, perhaps a little too much at times, and it was beautiful to play this woman who really comes into her own. Hopefully I took some of that with me.”

But just a glimpse at the actress’ feet, which are nestled in a homely but bog-standard pair of white hotel slippers today, suggests that maybe she won’t be keeping Claire’s stilettos - which the character insists on wearing as she darts away from the dinosaurs.

“Claire goes out into the jungle and her white clothes get muddy and ripped up and she gets bruised and sweaty – but she does not take off her heels!” says Howard with a loud laugh, joking that she’s going to add “running in the jungle in heels” to her CV.

While the film is expected to make a whopping $100m in its opening weekend in the States, were there any doubts in Howard’s mind about accepting the role?

She shakes her head indicating a firm ‘no’.

“When I eventually read the script, I felt so excited to be in a film that I so believe in, and as a fan. I’m very proud of this movie.”

Being in one of the summer’s biggest blockbusters is winning her some young fans, including her eight-year-old son Theodore. “Someone asked my three-and-a-half-year-old daughter [Beatrice] what her favourite thing in the whole world was, and she said, ‘Dinosaurs’,” says the actress, who married Gabel in 2006.

“It’s very cool that I’m getting to be in this movie, and that Jurassic World hopefully is a film that really resonates with today’s generation of young people in the way that Jurassic Park did 22 years ago. I hope that my children are a part of that.”

Jurassic World is released in cinemas on Thursday, June 11.

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