Howard says the director is "the keeper of the story.”
His education began on "The Andy Griffith Show,” which ran from 1960-68 on CBS and continues to charm in rerun eternity. "Andy took that show very, very seriously,” Howard says. "There was no phoning it in.”
The education continued on "Happy Days,” the ABC sitcom on which Howard learned by watching series creator Gary Marshall and Henry "the Fonz” Winkler, and by working in front of a studio audience.
Producer Roger Corman put Howard on the directing path with 1977’s "Grand Theft Auto.” (It airs at 8:30 p.m. Monday on TCM.) Howard has shown an affinity for stories about history and families ("Parenthood” grew out of a flight he took with his children).
Howard loves actors who can deliver powerful performances. That trend dates to "Skyward,” a 1980 TV movie he made with prickly Bette Davis. It has continued most famously with Russell Crowe in "A Beautiful Mind” and Frank Langella as Richard Nixon in "Frost/Nixon.”
Howard says he looks for stories that work out, such as "Cinderella Man.” When your own story has worked out so fabulously well, that approach makes sense.
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services