Clint Eastwood Rescues Ron Howard From Humiliation, Saving “Willow” From Boos At Film Festival

Clint Eastwood Rescues Ron Howard From Humiliation, Saving “Willow” From Boos At Film Festival

The incident is a testament to the importance of support and solidarity in the film industry.

Few stories in the enormous world of Hollywood, where talent and egos clash, are as heartening as the one involving Clint Eastwood and Ron Howard.

ron howard

Known for his commanding presence both on and off the screen, renowned actor and talented filmmaker Clint Eastwood famously saved the humiliated Ron Howard from having to endure a round of boos for his direction of the fantasy movie “Willow” at a film festival.

Eastwood’s outstanding acting career and his shift into filmmaking were both highly regarded by Howard, a renowned filmmaker in his own right. Eastwood’s successful transition into directing in his later years profoundly influenced Howard. This persuaded him that his directing skills might continue to develop for a long time. 

Most people thought a director’s prime occurred in their 50s or 60s, but Howard was motivated by Eastwood’s success and saw a similar path. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Howard expressed his admiration for Eastwood, saying, “Considering that Clint Eastwood is out with American Sniper, I think I can tack another decade onto that.”

By highlighting the value of creating one’s own creative space, Eastwood’s method also showed Howard the futility of comparing himself to others. In an interview with Men’s Journal, Howard remarked, “We’re all constantly keeping score. You can’t help it.”

clint eastwood ron howard

“But trying to pit ourselves against other people in some measurable way is largely a waste of time. Look at Clint Eastwood and Ridley Scott, two guys who, at least creatively, inhabit their space in a way that I admire. I don’t know them well, but I don’t think they are looking over their shoulders and wondering what people will think of them.”

The event at the Cannes Film Festival happened in the midst of this atmosphere of respect and appreciation for one another. The 1988 science fiction fantasy movie “Willow,” which was produced and directed by George Lucas and Ron Howard, opened to mixed reviews.

The audience booed and expressed their unhappiness throughout the film’s showing, which was received with a hostile and nasty response. Clint Eastwood stepped in during this awkward period, which Howard was unaware of then, and changed the situation.

Bryce Dallas Howard, Ron Howard’s daughter, recounted the incident in an interview with Daily Mail, revealing the true heroism of Eastwood. “My dad made a film called Willow when he was a young filmmaker, which screened at the Cannes film festival, and people were booing afterward,” she once told Daily Mail

“It was obviously so painful for him, and Clint, who he didn’t know at that time, stood up and gave him a standing ovation, and then everyone else stood up because Clint did.”

willow movie ron howard

“Clint puts himself out there for people,” she added. “As a director, he is very cool, very relaxed; there’s no yelling’ action’ or ‘cut.’ He just says: ‘You know when you’re ready.’ I told my dad he should do that!”

Even years after its premiere, Ron Howard still had a soft spot in his heart for the movie “Willow,” despite its mixed initial reviews at Cannes. He indicated an interest in doing the project again during a Reddit AMA, believing that his growing expertise would produce a more dynamic and entertaining movie. 

 Reflecting on the collaboration with George Lucas, Howard stated, “George Lucas was so trusting; I was still fairly green; I always say it was a little like me doing my doctoral thesis working with George Lucas on that movie Willow.”

“And I think today I could make it even more dynamic, I could make it cooler, I could make the funny stuff funnier, but all that said, you know, Willow was a great experience, and I’m really glad it sort of lives in people’s memory.”