The Jurassic World star spoke to EW at the Toronto International Film Festival about getting to take part in the new Disney+ Star Wars series and her upcoming documentary Dads.
Bryce Dallas Howard recently traded in dinosaurs for space wars, and it was a “dream come true.”
The Jurassic World actress, however, doesn’t appear in front of the camera for The Mandalorian, a new Disney+ Star Wars series, but rather behind it, directing an episode of the small screen live-action adventure. In addition to having a famous director as a father, Academy Award-winner Ron Howard, Bryce says she learned a lot from The Lion King and Iron Man director Jon Favreau, who’s sharing Mandalorian showrunner duties with The Clone Wars‘ Dave Filoni.
“Getting to be a director, part of The Mandalorian, it’s been like…Jon [Favreau] didn’t even know that about me,” she explains of her directing aspirations at the EW and PEOPLE studio at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) while promoting her new documentary Dads (more on that below). “It was a dream come true on so many levels. He’s a brilliant filmmaker, but a better mentor — he just wants to share in the excitement and passion of filmmaking and what’s possible. Nothing about it that’s proprietary. It’s let’s push this forward and see what else can happen. I was doing Dads at the same time I was shooting Mandalorian and the stuff I was learning from Jon Favreau was completely applicable to a documentary”.
Set after Return of the Jedi and before The Force Awakens, the show focuses on a Mandalorian bounty hunter (Pedro Pascal). And thanks to her dad, who directed 2018’s Solo: A Star Wars Story, she had a front-row seat to that world. She stayed in the U.K. to watch him work on that movie after her filming wrapped on Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
While Howard has directed several short films and other small projects, The Mandalorian is her first big episodic TV series directing job, and she’s at TIFF with her featured directorial debut, Dads, a documentary that explores, per a press release, “contemporary fatherhood through anecdotes and wisdom from famous funnymen such as Will Smith, Jimmy Fallon, Neil Patrick Harris, and more.” More includes her own father, though she says he initially didn’t want to be in it.
“My dad straight up when I first pitched this, he was like, ‘Not with our family.’ When it came to telling a version of my family story, that was something that my dad wasn’t interested in,” she says.
(Apple has acquired the film at TIFF, according to Variety, which first reported the news.)
Once he gave in, Howard’s father and many of the others involved with the project ended up asking one central question: “They were all like: what IS a father? It brings on this existential crisis in a way.”
Watch the video above for our full interview with Howard.