Confirm or Deny: Ron Howard

Confirm or Deny: Ron Howard


Maureen Dowd: Those fishing poles you and Andy Griffith carried in the great opening credits scene of “The Andy Griffith Show” never caught a fish.

Ron Howard: No, unless you count all of the fishing scenes where the prop man had to wade in and put a catfish on the line. That was Franklin Canyon and we were only allowed to put two fish a day in, because it was actually the drinking water for Hollywood. And on the opening-credit scene shoot, I was only allowed to throw two rocks in the water for the same reason. Yeah, there was a lot of pressure on that rock toss. I had to get it right.

When you were at college at the University of Southern California, you thought about making a porn film called “Opie Gets Laid.”

That’s true. I was desperate to find a way to finance an independent movie. I thought I could make a killing by giving the public what it really wanted.

The Millennium Falcon works harder than most millennials.

That Millennium Falcon takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’, doesn’t it?

The episode of “Black Mirror” that your daughter Bryce Dallas Howard starred in was better than the episode of “Twilight Zone” you were in.

Mine was one of the classics. Gig Young was the star, and he sure was perspiring a lot. But that “Black Mirror” episode is remarkable. I’m so proud of her.

You get scared watching dinosaurs chase Bryce in “Jurassic World.”

The only thing that scares me is the high heels.

The Grinch is a cruelly misunderstood antisocial icon who is smart to want to be alone with his dog and to hate Christmas music.

No, no, Maureen. No. His heart has to grow three sizes.

Opera fans are more crazed than “Star Wars” fans.

I don’t know. I’ll have to check Reddit after “Pavarotti” opens.

The voice-over in the American Express ad that Pavarotti starred in was done by Tom Bosley, who played your father in “Happy Days.”

Confirm. We were all jealous of Tom’s annual voice-over payout for ads. It blew away all our salaries on “Happy Days.”

Tom Cruise babysat your kids.

Yes, that’s true. We were in Tokyo on the publicity tour for “Far and Away,” and he said, “Hey, you want me to look after the kids so you and Cheryl can walk around?” I said, “Yeah, O.K.”

You and Tom Hanks make movies of Dan Brown novels simply so you can go hang out in cool cities.

Well, not simply. But largely.

Tiffany Trump is a member of the Illuminati.

I would like to think so.

Lando is cooler than Han Solo.

Lando’s cooler than everybody.

You once danced naked on the living room table to entertain your wife.

This was our one-year anniversary. And I fell and banged my head and she started laughing. I’m laying there. It really hurt. And she’s laughing. I also shot myself in the eye with a champagne cork trying to be suave that night. Pow! Sometimes sitcoms come to life.

At 8, you got your first writing paycheck, for a “Flintstones” episode.

My dad wrote for “The Flintstones,” and I came up with an idea. And he said, “If I sell this idea, I’ll split this story money with you.” I think he actually gave me a credit on it. It was sort of a mystery where Fred Flintstone finds something in the glove compartment of his car that causes him to go on an adventure.

Your greatest regret is that your parents threw away your Beatles wig and your Pete Rose rookie card when you went to college.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was still bitter.

Pavarotti once got 165 curtain calls, which dwarfs your baseball cap count.

Actually, I’ve got the maestro beat on that one.

You frequent the clubs on Sunset Strip so much that Jamie Foxx cast you in the music video for “Blame It (On the Alcohol).”

It had nothing to do with going to the clubs. I’m a little allergic to those clubs. But he did cast me. He cast me, in fact, at the Obama inauguration. He said “I’m doing this thing. I’m getting a lot of people to be in it. Will you be in it?” And I thought he was doing a sort of “We Are the World” kind of thing. And then I show up and it’s “Blame It on the Alcohol.” I showed them my party face, and they said, “No, no, no! Ron, don’t smile, do not smile.”

My 2008 Obama inauguration party was the worst party of all time.

It was tight quarters. But as a Washington outsider who watches all the Sunday morning news shows, it was like going on the Universal tour for pundits. It was at your party that David Geffen and George Lucas said to me, “Movies are dead. Television is king.” They gave me the lowdown on what was going to happen.

You gave your children middle names based on where they were conceived, which is a very Sarah Palin move.

Yes, I did that with all of them for their middle names. Bryce Dallas Howard. Carlyle for the Carlyle Hotel for the twins. Paige and Jocelyn Carlyle Howard. And it’s Reed Cross Howard. We happened to be on a road, Lower Cross Road. I didn’t think Volvo was a very good middle name or Reed Lower Howard. But Reed Cross Howard.

You cast Amy Adams in “Hillbilly Elegy.” Do you prefer to cast redheads?

No, no, I have no bias.

But you do prefer to be interviewed by redheads.

Yeah, I love it.

Maureen Dowd, winner of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary and author of three New York Times best sellers, became an Op-Ed columnist in 1995. @MaureenDowd Facebook

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