We’ve written previously that Ron Howard will be directing the forthcoming film version of Steven King’s Dark Tower series, but for this post I want to give a little taste of who he is and talk about his previous projects.
Ron Howard was born on 1 March 1954 to a family of actors. He began his career as a child actor, starring in the Andy Griffith Show , Happy Days, and in films such as The Music Man. Today, Howard is known as the director of numerous Hollywood blockbusters, among them Apollo 13 and A Beautiful Mind, for which Howard won the 2001 Oscar for Best Picture and Best Director.
Unlike many actors and directors, Howard received his “big break” when he was only six years old. Since his break-through role on the Andy Griffith Show, Howard has continuously been involved with the film and television industry. His personal life is also dissimilar to the notorious lives of many Hollywood stars. He was married at the age of 21 to his wife, Cheryl, and has led the life of a family man ever since. In a 2006 interview, Howard described his “greatest achievement” as follows: “48 consecutive years of steady employment in television and film, while preserving a rich family life.”
Howard’s first credit as director was for the film Grand Theft Auto. Shot in 1977 and co-written by Howard and his father, Rance, this early film is an action-comedy about two young lovers (Howard plays one of them) trying to elope. It received mixed reviews.
After his directorial debut, Howard directed several TV movies, but it was only after the 1982 release of Night Shift, a comedy starring Michael Keaton and Shelley Long, that Howard received full recognition as a director. Before the end of the decade, Howard directed five more major motion pictures: Splash (Tom Hanks), Cocoon, Gung Ho (Michael Keaton), Willow (Val Kilmer), and Parenthood (Steve Martin and Rick Moranis). Howard’s later successes include Far and Away (1992), Apollo 13 (1995) How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000), A Beautiful Mind (2001), Cinderella Man (2005), and The Da Vinci Code (2006).
Howard’s diverse background as a director makes him an ideal choice for King’s complex cross-genre story. His experience with fantasy (Willow ), science fiction (Cocoon), American western settings (Far and Away) and psychological drama (A Beautiful Mind) will play heavily in The Dark Tower, and his general familiarity with big-budget films (he’s made about 20 of them) will, no doubt, give Howard the directorial expertise necessary for the successful film rendering of the complex and hefty Steven King story.