Howard and Howard

Actor/Director Ron Howard called in to discuss his latest film "Cinderella Man" which hits the theaters tomorrow (June 3). Howard and Robin had been to a screening of the movie last week and both thought it was fantastic. Ron thanked them profusely for all the great things they have said about the movie. Howard said that it was a really great movie, a great story and that Renee Zellweger, Russell Crowe and Paul Giamatti were all great in the film. Robin added that the depiction of life during the Depression was incredible. Howard believes Ron will win an Academy Award for the film. Ron told how Russell Crowe had found the script in 1997 and had been preparing for the role ever since, including bringing in Ron after they worked together on "A Beautiful Mind" to direct it. Ron said they brought Renee in, got some studios behind them and had the writer from "A Beautiful Mind" work on the script. He said once they got all the pieces in place, it took about 80-85 shooting days to complete.

Ron said the toughest thing was filming the fight scenes. To prepare for the scenes, he watched endless hours of real fight reels plus scenes from every fight movie ever made -- including Wallace Beery films from the 1930s! Ron did this to make the fight scenes as accurate as possible. Ron said the hardest thing of all was accurately depicting the variety fights that fighter James Braddock fought during his comeback, including the fight with Max Baer, the world champion who had killed 2 fighters in the ring. Howard said he succeeded, recalling that while watching some of the fight scenes during the screening, he found himself punching at the screen along with the movie. Artie joked he had to pull his light saber out to fight a few Wookies. Howard asked if there was any pressure from the studios not to make another boxing movie after the success of "Million Dollar Baby" last year. Ron said not at all, everybody thought the combination of a great script and great actors meant nobody questions anything. Ron also noted that he chose Paul Giamatti for his role as the trainer in the film at least partly based on seeing him in "Private Parts".

Richie Cunningham Does Good

Howard switched gears on Ron for a moment and asked about his daughter, Bryce. Ron sounded like an extremely proud parent as he talked about her work in films like "The Village" and one she's currently working on with M. Night Shyamalan. Howard asked about another film she did recently which included a nude scene by her. Ron said she was great in the film. Although it wasn't the easiest thing for a father to watch, she is so true to her art and such a professional that he was very proud of her.

For good measure though, Howard (Stern) asked Bryce to stop taking her clothes off in movies. Howard tried to find a chink in Ron's life. He said Ron is so squeaky clean that maybe he has just never gotten caught...and then asked if Ron ever dressed up in women's clothing. He hasn't. Howard asked about Ron's favorite directors right now and he mentioned Paul Thomas Anderson, Steven Spielberg, Robert Zemeckis and Peter Weir.

He also wanted to know if Tom Cruise ever tried to push his Scientology on him the way he seems to do to others but Ron said Tom seems to avoid that with him. Howard then tried to get Ron to say who the bigger talent was, Russell Crowe or Tom Cruise, but, ever the professional, Ron said they were both very talented. Even Ralph Cirella seemed humbled by Ron. Ralph called to ask if Ron would ever do another comedy like "Night Shift", Ron said comedies were really tough to get just right, so probably not. Ralph also asked about his involvement with the TV show "24" which Ron is a producer on but he doesn't really have much to do with, although he is very proud of it all the same. Ron is also the producer and narrator for the Fox hit "Arrested Development" again, something he is very proud of. Vinnie Favale, CBS Vice President of Late Night Programming East Coast, called to make sure everyone knew that Ron is currently working on the film version of one of the best selling books of all time, "The Da Vinci Code". Ron confirmed this and he is working with Tom Hanks and thinks it will be a great film. Howard wrapped up the phone call asking Ron if Fonzie was still bugging him. Ron said he did recently speak to Henry Winkler who has a new sitcom that just got picked up for next year. After Ron hung up Howard kicked himself for not asking the same thing about Potsie and said he could interview Ron for hours about his Happy Days years alone.