Bryce Dal­las Howard is back with a (primeval) roar.

Bryce Dal­las Howard is back and ready for an­other adventure—dinosaurs and dragons in­cluded.

ELLE (Canada) - - StoryBoard - By Aliyah Shamsher h


Bryce Dal­las Howard’s voice sud­denly bursts onto the line. “Hel­looo!!!!!” she says with so much en­ergy and en­thu­si­asm that I can’t help but grin from ear to ear. Her pub­li­cist in Los An­ge­les has been try­ing to track her down on the other side of the world, in New Zealand, so some wait­ing and hold­ing is to be ex­pected. And that kind of hello is worth the wait—be­cause not only does it war­rant five ex­cla­ma­tion points when writ­ten but it also makes me think the 34-year-old actress must be grin­ning as well. And if Howard is smil­ing, it’s for a good rea­son: Her re­turn to the act­ing world af­ter al­most three years away sees her head­lin­ing this year’s big­gest sum­mer block­buster, Juras­sic World. “2015 is shap­ing up in a way that’s pretty ex­cit­ing for me,” she says while tak­ing a quick break on the set of her next film, Pete’s Dragon (out in sum­mer 2016).

The Vil­lage, Spi­der-Man 3, Ter­mi­na­tor Sal­va­tion, The Twi­light Saga: Eclipse— Howard’s ca­reer can be charted in big-bud­get sum­mer block­busters. And her re­turn is no dif­fer­ent. Af­ter six non-stop years of shar­ing the screen with mys­te­ri­ous crea­tures, su­per­heroes, ro­bots and vam­pires, she bowed out of Hol­ly­wood to spend more time with her chil­dren, Theo, 8, and Beatrice, 3, and her hus­band, ac­tor Seth Ga­bel; now she’s back to add dinosaurs and a dragon to the list. Con­sid­er­ing that her ca­reer has been made up largely of su­per­nat­u­ral en­coun­ters, the first ques­tion I have to ask is how she—a clas­si­cally trained actress with a predilec­tion for ex­is­ten­tial­ism— wound up in a bunch of ac­tion films whose tar­get au­di­ences fall some­where be­tween video-game-play­ing base­ment dwellers and lust-ad­dled teenagers.

“I just think they are so en­gag­ing to watch,” says Howard. “And while they all have some el­e­ment of spec­ta­cle, they also ask deeper the­matic ques­tions that res­onate glob­ally. With Spi­der-Man 3 it was ‘With great power comes great re­spon­si­bil­ity,’ and then with Ter­mi­na­tor Sal­va­tion it was ‘Can you change your des­tiny? Can you save the world?’ Th­ese sto­ries have very pow­er­ful mes­sages, but they also ask com­plex and h

chal­leng­ing ques­tions that we’re all faced with in our lives, even if we’re not swing­ing from build­ings or run­ning for our lives or stop­ping an apoca­lypse. I love watch­ing those movies, so when I get the chance to be in them, it’s re­ally ex­cit­ing.”

For the re­boot of the cult Juras­sic Park fran­chise, Juras­sic World picks up where the last film left off: It’s 22 years later, the park is open again for busi­ness and sci­en­tists’ quest for ge­netic mar­vels takes a very ex­pected deadly turn. The trailer, which came out late last year, went vi­ral in a mat­ter of hours, with fans cheer­ing the re­turn of a “clas­sic.” And for a cer­tain gen­er­a­tion (those 35 and un­der), it re­ally is. “This is some­thing Chris Pratt [with whom Howard stars along­side] and I talked about a lot. Juras­sic Park is like our Star Wars,” she says. “I have very dis­tinct mem­o­ries of go­ing to see the film for the first time. It was a sem­i­nal film for our gen­er­a­tion. It rep­re­sented the power of not just cinema but also sto­ry­telling and how it can re­ally trans­port you to a place that you could only have imag­ined or read about.”

But it’s Howard’s deep cu­rios­ity about ex­is­ten­tial­ism that be­comes most ap­par­ent as we talk about the film. Be­fore long, we’re dis­cussing the mer­its of biotech­nol­ogy as she ef­fec­tively breaks down the term “thin­tel­li­gence,” coined by Juras­sic Park au­thor Michael Crich­ton, as if she were shar­ing a recipe for peach cob­bler. “We view tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tions as an ex­ten­sion of hu­man in­tel­li­gence. But what hap­pens when we be­come so fo­cused on the progress and ad­vance­ment of tech­nol­ogy that we can only see what’s im­me­di­ately in front of us? That’s re­ally the cen­tral jump­ing-off point of the film,” she says. “I think about what the so­cial im­pli­ca­tions may be for my chil­dren down the road. It’s cru­cial to con­tex­tu­al­ize ev­ery­thing—not to stop progress but to bal­ance ev­ery­thing. Progress with per­spec­tive and wis­dom.”

Her chil­dren come up of­ten. “With my kids, the ques­tion al­ways in my mind is ‘How can I pre­serve their in­no­cence for as long as pos­si­ble?’—not in a sti­fling way but in a way that gives them the gifts that I had in my child­hood,” she says. “It’s so weird to now be in that place where I’m like ‘When I was a child...’ and ide­al­iz­ing my own ex­pe­ri­ence the way my par­ents and grand­par­ents did,” she adds with a laugh.

Her par­ents, of course, are award-win­ning direc­tor and pro­ducer Ron Howard and writer Ch­eryl Howard, although the actress is quick to dis­pel any ro­man­tic no­tions one might have about her grow­ing up in Hol­ly­wood. “It was a hec­tic house­hold with four kids and work­ing par­ents,” she says. “But I saw the joy of work­ing in a cre­ative in­dus­try and how they made it work and how they bal­anced it—or oc­ca­sion­ally didn’t—and that was my ver­sion of nor­mal. And now that is what’s hap­pen­ing in my world. My hus­band and I are both ac­tors and, again, it’s not like we’re read­ing po­etry to our chil­dren or recit­ing Shake­speare, but they know what’s up and hear us talk­ing about char­ac­ters and sto­ries. They’re re­ally in­ter­ested in their imag­i­na­tion, so we can re­late on that level.”

As well as rais­ing a fam­ily dur­ing her time off, Howard went back to New York Uni­ver­sity to fin­ish her de­gree in drama, cre­ative writ­ing and so­ci­ol­ogy. “I left in my third year to do The Vil­lage,” she says. “But I stayed in touch with my pro­fes­sors be­cause my in­ten­tion was al­ways to go back—with­out re­ally re­al­iz­ing where my life would take me, like hav­ing kids so young and stay­ing in Los An­ge­les. It’s kind of a sur­prise to re­al­ize that it has been over a decade since I was in school!”

But it’s her ca­reer she cred­its most with al­low­ing her to con­tin­u­ally sat­isfy her cu­ri­ous na­ture. “It takes a lot of courage to step out­side your com­fort zone and do some­thing so dif­fer­ent, and I feel re­ally lucky that my job fa­cil­i­tates that,” she says in a tone that makes me think she’s still smil­ing from ear to ear. “And I think that’s all we want to ex­pe­ri­ence when we open a book or sit down to watch a film: We just want to be taken on a ride.” n

Howard is back in Juras­sic World.

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