10 Questions With Ron Howard
The Oscar-winning director shares his philosophy for good health.
By Matt McMillen
WebMD Magazine – Feature
Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD
1. Your new movie, In the Heart of the Sea, opens in December. What drew you to this true story?
I’ve always been fascinated by seafaring adventures. But this powerful, emotional survival story is also the origin story for Moby Dick. This is the real event that inspired Herman Melville. The story is engrossing on so many different levels.
2. Did it ever feel like you had taken on the great white whale yourself?
It was definitely one of the most logistically complicated and physically challenging movies that I’ve done. But it was also thrilling to have a physical adventure while making a movie. The challenge of creating the world and the whale in a historically authentic and cinematically powerful way borrowed on every movie-making experience I’ve ever had. It’s a movie I don’t think I could have tackled even a decade ago.
3. You’ve made a lot of different movies over the years. Does it get easier?
This is my 23rd feature film, but every project is more or less like starting from scratch. You have a different set of problems and different talents that you want to shape and harness in service of the story.
4. You shot this in the Canary Islands. Do you have to travel far from home for a good story?
It’s not about a particular place. It’s about an exciting combination of characters and story that I believe is going to be an interesting and exciting journey for the audience. With the right story, that could take place inside of my office.
5. Your wife has said that you’re most at home on a movie set. Do you agree?
Either on set or in my own house with Cheryl and the family — those are the two places that I understand the best and where I feel the most comfortable.
6. You and Cheryl celebrated your 40th anniversary in June. Share your secret?
I think there can be some guiding principles to success in marriage, but each marriage is its own, discrete relationship that works on its own terms, so I can’t offer much advice. Mostly, I feel grateful that it works and keeps working. It’s the big blessing of my life.
7. What do you do to stay fit?
I like to play basketball and ride bikes. Long walks are great, and Cheryl and I try to do that no matter where we are.
8. Do you have a health philosophy?
It gets back to the basics: diet, fitness, sleep. You’ve got to work toward that, and you’ve got to factor peace of mind into it, no matter how you achieve it. Getting up early and having the place to myself for a while — that’s something I like to do.
9. You put Cheryl in each of your movies, right?
She’s my good luck charm! Sometimes it’s pretty hard to spot her. It’s kind of like Where’s Waldo? But she’s in there, I guarantee you. I’m superstitious about it now, so when she shows up on set in costume, I breathe a little easier.
I like going to the movies. I make time to catch up with my kids whenever and wherever I can. And when I just have a little block of time, I love to grab Cheryl and jump in the car and go exploring.
Find more articles, browse back issues, and read the current issue of “WebMD Magazine.”