On the set of The Shootist, actor John Wayne revealed he had an admiration for co-star Ron Howard after this moment.
Although both John Wayne and Ron Howard were both film industry giants, the two started out on a rocky path.
The two were well aware of their high-profiles as the veteran and the young gun, so maybe this was why the actors were acting intimidating to one another.
In an interview with The Andy Griffith Show, Ron Howard talks about how he and Wayne may not have been on the same page.
Ron Howard once brought Henry Winkler a copy of TV Guide Magazine. The cover of the magazine featured a huge spread about the sitcom Happy Days, which Howard starred in.
When director Don Siegel showed the cover to John Wayne, Howard said his response was, “Ah, big shot, huh?”
When Ron Howard Surprised John Wayne
To try and mend the relationship between the two, Howard came up with a way to both practice and get on The Duke’s good graces. He asked Wayne to run lines for their scenes together. Wayne was taken back by the request.
“Nobody ever asks me to do that,” Wayne states.
Ron Howard reveals what it was like to work with the icon. He says he has always been such a big fan of his.
“I always admired him as a movie star, but I thought of him as a total naturalist,” Howard explained. “Even those pauses were probably him forgetting his line and then remembering it again because, man, he’s The Duke. But he’s working on this scene, and he’s like, ‘Let me try this again’. And he put the little hitch in, and he’d find the Wayne rhythm, and you’d realize that it changed the performance each and every time.”
With over 70 films under his belt, Ron Howard has worked with the best in the industry. He said they are all alike for one reason, and that’s what makes them the best.
“I’ve worked with Bette Davis, John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, Henry Fonda. Here’s the thing they all have in common: They all, even in their 70s, worked a little harder than everyone else.”
While The Shootist was recognized as John Wayne’s final film, Ron Howard received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor.