At the beginning of my interview with Bryce Dallas Howard she does something I’ve never experienced before in a celebrity sit-down. Curled up on a coach in Toronto’s Park Hyatt Hote,l the four-and-a-half month pregnant star of The Help does something really un-celebrity-like—she offers to hold the microphone I’m using to record our chat.
It’s a small thing, but it goes a long way to creating a portrait of the down-to-earth Golden Globe nominee, who is best known for roles in blockbusters like Spider-Man 3, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse and Terminator Salvation.
Surrounded by celebrity from birth—her father is TV icon Ron Howard—she has observed stardom up close and has strong opinions about fame—her own and those around her.
“It’s weird that we expect celebrities to behave like they’re so entitled,” she says. “I think it’s because a lot of celebrities do, and that’s just absurd.”
This is coming from someone whose godfather is Henry Winkler, who once had Tom Cruise as a babysitter and first acted at age seven as an extra in one of her dad’s movies.
“I’ve always been kind of fascinated by that subject because while I have closely observed celebrity I have always felt apart from it because I was raised outside of Hollywood,” she says. “I’ve always had an interesting relationship with the idea of what a celebrity is.
“Recently, because of reality television, the notion of celebrity and what people are famous for is changing,” she adds.
I mention stars that parlay sex tapes into a showbiz career and she nods.
“I think unfortunately that is defining our time. I’ve never actually had this thought before, but I think it would be interesting to look back in history and see who the most iconic individuals of that time period were and then look at now, and perhaps be a little bit horrified.”
When I ask if fame is important to her personally she is quick to answer.
“No,” she says emphatically. “Not at all. One of the things I feel most grateful for is that I don’t live the life of a famous person. I could not imagine living a life with paparazzi around me, when you feel like your privacy is being intruded. That would be really terrifying to me.”