Rick Bentley

Howard waits to start career; Foy’s early start goes well

Bryce Dallas Howard is Grace in Disney’s “Pete’s Dragon,” the adventure of a boy named Pete and his best friend Elliot, who just happens to be a dragon.
Bryce Dallas Howard is Grace in Disney’s “Pete’s Dragon,” the adventure of a boy named Pete and his best friend Elliot, who just happens to be a dragon.

There are both positive and negative stories about those who got into acting at a very early age. Check out the then-very young cast of “Diff’rent Strokes” if you want to see some young acting horror stories.

On the other hand, someone like Ron Howard started acting when he was very young and went on to have both a successful career and avoid all of the pitfalls that have tripped up so many other young actors. He’s a great example of how the system should work.

His success did not spark his own daughter, Bryce Dallas Howard, to follow his lead. She was in her 20s before her acting career really launched.

The star of the upcoming “Pete’s Dragon” says she had a very good reason for not starting acting at a younger age.

“Because done right, it’s a parent’s full-time job. It’s really their full-time job, and my dad had a full-time job. And my mom had a full-time job taking care of my dad and four kids,” Howard says.

Her work has often brought her in contact with young actors. The ones she expects to survive the tumultuous world of being a young actor – such as her “Pete’s Dragon” co-stars Oona Laurence and Oakes Fegley – are those who have a family structure similar to hers.

Howard says that her grandparents saw that her father and her uncle, Clint Howard, had callings to act and decided to do what they had to for support.

“There were certain boundaries and certain requirements,” she says. Her dad “had to keep up his grades and all of that, and he had to treat it like a job. He had to behave like a professional.

“But like if a kid has a passion for chess or a kid has a passion for soccer, as a parent you support that, obviously, within reason.”

As for working with kid actors, Bryce Dallas Howard enjoys the experience. That’s because it doesn’t always feel so much like work as getting a chance to just let it all feel like a natural experience.

Now, as a mother of two children who have two generations of actors to look to for help, Howard has to deal with their ideas about acting. Her son was an extra in “Jurassic World,” and after the shoot told his mother that the next time he wanted to be the lead.

“And I said, ‘Well, if you study very hard and you go to school and you audition a lot and you get a role, there’s a chance that you might be able to be the lead of something.’ And he said, ‘Well, how old do I need to be?’ and I said, ‘Well, you’d need to be over 18.’ 

She found out that after her son went back to school, he was telling everyone he would be the lead in a movie when he was 20. The youngster thought it was just a matter of age.

In her ‘Twilight’ years

Mackenzie Foy found out early in life what it means to be an actor in a franchise with rabid fans. She played Renesmee, the daughter of Bella and Edward, in both halves of “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn.” She was only 10 when she shot the movies.

So far, her fan experience has been positive.

“I am very lucky in that I have very incredible fans who support me,” Mackenzie says during an interview to talk about her voice work as The Little Girl in the new animated film “The Little Prince.” The Little Girl is dealing with a strict educational curriculum set up by her mother to make sure the youngster is ready for the fall.

The actress calls doing voice work the hardest acting job she’s ever had because the only way she could express emotions was through her voice. It helped that her recording sessions with Jeff Bridges, who voices The Aviator, were done at the home of the veteran actor.

Bridges, who is also a musician, has a full recording studio in his home.

Mackenzie could also relate to her “Little Prince” character because she’s home-schooled. She also has to keep up with studies while also finding opportunities to act and, when time allows, have some fun.

“For me, the balance is getting good grades. That’s very important to me. But, also having fun with it. You can’t do school and be like, ‘Oh, I have to do it.’ You have to have fun to get good grades and get an education,” Mackenzie says.

Other news

End is here: “Hell on Wheels” concluded its five-season run on AMC with a series finale episode that attracted 2.5 million total viewers.

Back for more: USA Network’s “Chrisley Knows Best” will return for the second half of its fourth season at 10 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 23, with two new back-to-back episodes.

Don’t be square: VH1 is giving the classic game show “Hollywood Squares” a hip-hop makeover with the help of Ice Cube. Slated for a fall premiere, celebrity contestants will match wits and test their pop culture knowledge with the superstar squares, featuring those in hip-hop, comedy and entertainment.

Rick Bentley: 559-441-6355, @RickBentley1