Movies - TV
Working With Bette Davis Was A Nerve-Wracking Ordeal For Director Ron Howard
By JEREMY SMITH
Some actor-and-director relationships are golden right from the start, while others are rocky no matter what. In the case of Ron Howard and Bette Davis, the actor-and-director pair took a
while to hit it off on the set of the made-for-television drama “Skyward”, and Howard had to get creative to win over the trust of Davis.
According to Howard, Bette Davis lived up to her reputation for being feisty. Their relationship got off to a rocky start when Howard cast first-time actor Suzy Gilstrap alongside Davis, and subsequently Davis refused to call Howard "Ron" as he requested, because as Howard recalled, “She said, ‘I will call you Mr. Howard until I decide whether I like you or not.’”
To get on her good side, Howard did some research and found out that her favorite filmmaker was William Wyler. To emulate Wyler, Howard began showing up in a suit, and while Davis didn’t immediately like him, she took him more seriously. Howard remembers that on the last day of the shoot, the star paid him a compliment, “[Davis] said, “You can be another Wyler. Keep it up.’”