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Happy Days

A chat with Bryce Dallas Howard, who stars in Lars von Trier's "Manderlay."

WWD: How did you feel about the graphic sexuality/love scenes in the film?

B.D.H.: (sighs) It is what it is. If I felt uncomfortable, which I did, that's because of my own ego and my own inhibitions and I'm trying to get over that because it gets in the way of my work.

WWD: How did your father feel about it?

B.D.H.: My parents get it; they are incredibly liberal and they know that things Lars stands for are bigger than my own inhibitions with my body.

WWD: What effect did having a director dad have on you?

B.D.H.: It was great growing up as Ron Howard's daughter because he's a great man. But as far as him being a director, we were raised in Connecticut so we were separated from that world. In the beginning of my career, I used a stage name Bryce Dallas [her middle name and the city where she was conceived] because I didn't want anyone to know who my dad was. Then one day my dad said, 'I get why you do that, but are you not proud of where you come from?' So now it's Bryce Dallas Howard.

I just started watching "Happy Days." It's a toss-up between Fonzie and Richie Cunningham. One's my godfather and one's my father.

WWD: What's next for you?

B.D.H.: I'm flying to London in 30 minutes, where I'm playing Rosalind in Kenneth Branagh's [film version of] "As You Like It." Then I'm going to do another M. Night Shyamalan film called "Lady in the Water," a family film where I play a water nymph. Paul Giamatti plays an apartment superintendent who discovers me in the swimming pool.

WWD: I was actually referring to the huge rock on your finger.

B.D.H.: (blushing) Yeah ... It's a nice addition that I've wanted for about four-and-a-half years and now it's mine. I'll be incredibly boring like most actresses because I don't talk about it. But it's pretty, isn't it?
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