Ron Howard: Fueled by Risk
He got some great advice from Henry Fonda.
Imagine accomplishing everything Ron Howard has. Now imagine doing all that and people still think of you as "Little Ronnie Howard." Such is the power of television, which traps people in our memories forever. Regardless of how many Academy Awards Howard wins, we can still see him on our screens as Opie.
In reality, though, Howard created a remarkable body of work to distance himself from Mayberry. Let's be clear, though: Ron Howard isn't an accomplished filmmaker out of shame or spite; There's nothing about The Andy Griffith Show that he regrets. Instead, he was compelled to do great work because of the way it made him feel. He's not running from Opie, but creating a legacy that includes and honors his past while also building an ever-bigger future.
At a critical juncture in his directing career, Ron Howard received some incredible advice from Henry Fonda, who advised the young Howard about career shakeups.
In particular, Fonda told Howard that he should put his career at risk every two years.
"Trying something that wasn't safe that could lead to some kind of embarrassment or failure," Howard said. In an industry where you're only as good as your last picture, this risk-taking mindset could be very counterintuitive. Instead, it gave audiences movies like How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Ransom.
While safety and security are important, they should never keep us from pushing forward into a rewarding unknown. We know what happens when we stay on the couch: there are a finite number of possible outcomes. But who knows what happens when we take that step towards risk? We might end up making Cocoon!