Ron Howard's bro to act in ''Far and Away'' -- Clint Howard plays the evil villain in the Tom Cruise/Nicole Kidman movie

If all the unremittingly evil villains in Far and Away, perhaps the most despicable is Flynn, the ugly boss at the poultry factory where Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman labor in 1890s Boston.

In a perverse bit of Hollywood nepotism, the actor given this thankless role is none other than Clint Howard, the younger brother of director Ron Howard. In fact, Flynn is only the latest bad guy in a gallery of meanies Clint has portrayed in his brother’s movies:

In Cocoon (1985) he plays the orderly who mocks the retirement-home residents.

In Parenthood (1989) he’s the loutish father who harasses Steve Martin at a Little League game.

In Backdraft (1991) he’s the autopsy technician who, when Billy Baldwin shrinks from handling a charred corpse, sneers: ”Jesus Christ, he’s not going to sell you insurance. Just lift him up.”

Is this some kind of twisted fraternal punishment? Clint doesn’t think so. ”My hope as an adult actor is just to be this terrific, versatile character actor,” says the 33-year-old. ”I’m proud of all my work.”