Before ‘Jurassic World’: 5 of Bryce Dallas Howard’s Best Roles
On June 12, one of the most anticipated films of the last few years has finally hit the big screen. Jurassic World, the fourth film in the Jurassic Park franchise, takes us back to the island where it all started, where fans will encounter some familiar and unexpected dangers.
It’s been more than a decade since the last Jurassic Park film was in theaters, so it’s no surprise that most of the characters in Jurassic World are new. One of the main characters is park operations manager Claire Dearing, played by Bryce Dallas Howard. This 34-year-old actress is no stranger to big Hollywood events. From a young age, she’s learned the ropes from her father, director Ron Howard. He cast her in cameo roles in Parenthood, Apollo 13 and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
But Howard stepped out to forge her own career early on. Since then she’s built a pretty impressive resume. She’s done Shakespeare and horror, superhero adventures, and indie flicks. Chances are, if you’ve been to the movies in the last decade, you’ve seen her at least once. Here are five of her best performances.
1. The Village – Ivy Elizabeth Walker
When this supernatural thriller hit theaters, director M. Night Shymalan was one of the hottest directors in Hollywood. So it was big news when virtual unknown Bryce Dallas Howard was cast as the lead in this supernatural thriller. The Village is a spooky, moody film about an isolated community that experiences strange disappearances and upsetting visits from an unseen force. Howard plays Ivy, a blind but brave young woman who tries to get to the bottom of the town’s violent mysteries. She gives a breathtaking performance, embodying Ivy’s fear so that it feels completely palpable. Overall, her portrayal is perhaps the one truly positive standout in a film that’s ultimately disappointing.
2. As You Like It – Rosalind
Taking on Shakespeare can be one of the most daunting tasks an actor faces. But Bryce Dallas Howard did it fearlessly in Kenneth Branaugh’s adaptation of As You Like It. She stars as Rosalind, one of Shakespeare’s most beloved heroines. Howard beautifully captures the young woman’s wit, intelligence and passion for life. While the film falters in its ultimate presentation of the story, Howard’s performance — particularly her moments with cousin Celia (Romola Garai) and lover Orlando (David Oyelowo) are completely enjoyable. Bryce Dallas Howard was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Made-for-TV Movie for her performance as Rosalind.
3. Spider-Man 3 – Gwen Stacey
Before Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard originated the role of Gwen Stacy in the first big screen Spiderman comic books. In Spider-Man 3, she stars alongside Tobey Maguire as a supermodel and potential love interest for Peter Parker. Howard had big shoes to fill, coming in as the character that threatened to break up Peter and Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst). But she played the role with an energy and sex appeal that makes her time on screen well worth watching.
4. 50/50 – Rachel
In a move away from her traditional role as heroine, Bryce Dallas Howard took on the role of runaway girlfriend Rachel in the indie dramedy 50/50. Her character struggles to stand by her boyfriend Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) after he’s diagnosed with cancer. While Rachel is often unlikeable, due to the way she treats Adam, Howard insures that she never comes off as entirely villainous. She brings her internal conflict to the forefront, and infuses her with an honesty that makes her actions feel, if not forgivable, at the very least true to life.
5. The Help – Hilly Holbrook
Bryce Dallas Howard’s character in The Help has virtually no redeeming characteristics. Haughty, spoiled and bluntly racist, Hilly is without a doubt the villain of the story. So it’s truly a testament to Howard’s talent that she’s able to play the character, given her previous, more light-hearted performances. Her portrayal of Hilly and the brutal way she treats anyone she feels is beneath her is one of the key factors in helping the audience to really feel empathy for the plight of the African American servants in The Help. You can’t help but hate Hilly — which means Howard did an amazing job.