Ron Howard, star of The Andy Griffith Show and Happy Days, doesn’t do much acting now. He’s almost strictly behind the scenes, directing his vision, as opposed to following someone else’s.
But he made an exception back in 2009 when he made a cameo appearance with a host of other famous faces in Jamie Foxx’s music video. Ron Howard had no lines. But he had to try hard and pretend to be a guy partying at a nightclub.
And he needed some direction playing the part of a crew of friends going out on the town. Hype Williams directed the music video for “Blame It (On the Alcohol).”
“(Hype) wanted us to walk into the club with our party face on,” Ron Howard told the Chicago Tribune in 2011. “But my party face is usually ‘Hey guys! How’s it going? Forest Whitaker had to help me with my party face. Right before the scene, Hype was screaming ‘Don’t smile, Ron. Ron, don’t smile.'”
Ron Howard Wasn’t A Partying Kind of Guy
Howard kept his solemn, ultra-cool game face on as the group, which included Jake Gyllenhaal, Whitaker, and Fox, drove to the club. But the camera did find Howard in one scene where he kind of smirked for the camera. OK, smirk might be too strong. He raised an eyebrow.
There were other well-known people who made appearances in the video with Ron Howard. They included Samuel L. Jackson, Quincy Jones, Cedric the Entertainer, Rebecca Romijn, Keisha Knight Pulliam, and Garrett Morris. Foxx sang the song with T Pain.
The video was released on Feb. 25, 2009. Foxx’s song was an immediate hit. Foxx won a Grammy for the song. It spent 14 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot R&B Hip Hop song chart. That was the second-longest run at No. 1 for any R&B song. Meanwhile, BET named the video as the best of 2009. Ron Howard had instant street cred just for riding in an expensive car with three other hip guys.
How Did Richie Cunningham End Up in a Jamie Foxx Video?
So, it also begs the question. How did Ron Howard, aka Opie Taylor or Richie Cunningham, end up in a fancy club video with stars who ooze hip and cool?
Here’s your answer. Both Ron Howard and Jamie Foxx attended the January 2009 Inauguration for President Barack Obama. Foxx offered him the part on the spot.
Howard talked about the chance encounter with Entertainment Weekly.
“There was this tent full of showbiz people and their families,” Howard said. “Jamie came over and said, ‘Hey, I’m shooting a video in L.A., will you come by?’ I was picturing a sort of ‘We Are the World’ thing. So I showed up, and Jamie said, ‘It’s this party scene, and you’re going to drive up with Jake Gyllenhaal and Forest Whitaker and me. The only thing is that you’ve got to wear your party face.’”
Howard continued: “I said ‘I don’t think you want my party face, because this is it (Howard does a goofy grin) That may not be what you want.’”
Director Williams had the actors film the car scene a couple of times.
“And then we went in and sat with the girls and toasted champagne,” Howard said. “I had no idea what in the world it was or what I was doing. I do not have a secret night-clubbing side. I’m the opposite of a big pimpin’ kind of dude.”
Ron Howard said he probably last partied in a night club, or “disco,” was when he was doing advance work for the movie Night Shift. That was back in 1981, when he offered Henry Winkler the starring role.
“When I saw the finished result (of the music video) I did ask around: ‘Is it okay that I did this?’” Howard said. “I mean, I am one of the whitest men in the world. I like singer-songwriters. But I thought it was funny that I was in it. Jamie sent me a case of champagne. And I asked him if I could now blame everything on the a-a-a-alcohol. I haven’t heard back from him on that.”