The 'Argylle' star talks to PEOPLE about making time to appear both behind and in front of the camera
Bryce Dallas Howard may be known to most for her varied acting roles, but she's slowly been building a second career for herself as a director — and fully intends to continue to play dual roles in Hollywood.
"I love directing and it's as important to me as acting and it's always been happening in the background," the Argylle actress tells PEOPLE in this week's issue.
Bryce, 42, helmed the 2019 documentary Dads, as well as several episodes of multiple Star Wars series, includingThe Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett and the upcoming Star Wars: Skeleton Crew.
She tells PEOPLE she looks to fellow multi-hyphenates like Robert Redford and Jon Favreau for inspiration. Bryce also, of course, eyes her own father's successful transition from onscreen to behind-the-camera work.
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"My dad never intentionally shut off acting, he just started directing full time and he still even talks about it. He's like, 'Oh, I'd love to act,' " shares Bryce of her father, Oscar-winning director and Happy Days alum Ron Howard. "But he makes zero time for it. For me, I hope it's something where I'm lucky enough to do both in some capacity."
Bryce says she has shadowed Ron on-set to glean inspiration from his approach. She asked to be a fly on the wall as he directed 2018's Solo: A Star Wars story — a request he was "not really into" at first. Her past experience and interest in working with special effects companies and emerging technology on projects like Jurassic World franchise (which shared some of the same crew with Solo) helped sway him.
"My pitch was like, 'Really? I know everyone. Please. I just finished working with everyone for the last six months,'" she recounts. "I was like, 'The crew is not going to be uncomfortable with me. I promise. I'll be invisible.' "
Curious by nature. Bryce notes that she's "very nosy" on set — from how much animatronics cost to why certain special effects are used. It's all helped build up her knowledge base, and she found her interest and feedback has been welcomed: "[On Jurassic] everyone was really open with me and they weren't like, 'Oh, just sit over there little girl.' "
A notably inclusive environment was also present on Argylle, her spy action comedy out Friday. Director Matthew Vaughn was "so generous and so open," says Bryce, and allowed her into his process. "What's funny is that Argylle is a movie about spies and in my life, I've always had this perspective that it's like, infiltrate the set. Learn, learn, learn as much as possible," she tells PEOPLE.
No matter what, Bryce sees every opportunity in the industry as a positive step in her overall journey: "It's been really wonderful to lean more into gaining experience than finding that perfect one thing," she says. "And I love to work."
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