Bryce Dallas Howard made her directorial debut with the heartwarming Apple TV documentary Dads which premiered around Father's Day in 2020. In addition to interviewing her own father, Andy Griffith Show alum and director Ron Howard, she also spoke with a slew of celebrity dads about the meaning of fatherhood.
"What I realized in interviewing all these guys is that we're treating dads like they're in the background when they're not," Bryce explained to TODAY.
"The vast majority of fathers are incredibly involved, present, and committed. That needs to be acknowledged. It would be really hard for me to be a good mother when everyone assumed I wasn't doing anything."
While Bryce has been a familiar face in Hollywood for years after starring in films like Jurassic World and The Help, this was her first time working as a filmmaker like her dad. She interviewed numerous famous fathers including Will Smith, Jimmy Fallon, Judd Apatow, Patton Oswalt, Kenan Thompson, Conan O'Brien, Ken Jeong, Neil Patrick Harris, and even her younger brother Reed who was preparing to become a new father during filming.
In honor of Father's Day, we've rounded up some of the most meaningful quotes shared by fathers in Dads and how fatherhood changed their lives for the better.
The late-night host and father of two explained that fatherhood is "the most meaningful thing that happens in your life. So much of youth is 'Me, me, me, me.' Then when you bring a kid into the world and you realize, 'That's my daughter,' your shoulders drop in this very profound way. 'Oh, right, now it's about her. It's not about me.' It's this incredible realization that you're not the most important person in the world."
He made sure to point out that nothing can actually prepare you for becoming a father, everyone just has to figure it out as they go.
"We're all making this up as we go, there's no school for this. It's love and limits. Love them, and then there are times when I have to say, 'No.'"
Kimmel recalled a pivotal moment when he was holding his daughter Katie, 10 months old at the time, and she decided to projectile vomit into his mouth.
"It hit my uvula. It went right into my throat," Kimmel says. "And of course your reaction is to throw this person as far away from you as possible. But I didn't. I held on to her and I spit as much as I could of it out. And that's when I realized I was a dad."
In addition to recalling that although his own father worked during the week, "the weekends were where Dad would shine," the ABC host made sure to mention that moms are real superheroes.
"Make no mistake about it, she's Batman and you're not even Robin. You're one of the tires on the Batmobile."
The beloved actor recalls the moment his wife's water broke while he was in the middle of reading his new manual for his "picture in a picture" television set. When they later left the hospital with their new baby, he was hyper-aware of all of the bad drivers on the road, wishing that everyone would just calm down so he could safely drive his newborn son home.
"It was the first moment that the full weight of (Jaden's) life was my responsibility," Smith says.
After getting home, "it dawned on me and I looked down. There's a thousand-page manual for a picture-in-picture television, and they sent us home with a baby and nothing. I was like, 'Something's really wrong here, baby.' "
Many of the dads admitted that they felt many fathers probably endure the same pressures of needing to work constantly to support their family. But comedian Patton Oswalt said that's not exactly what your child will see.
"I think a big part of the fatherhood narrative is still a very old narrative -- the father goes into the wilderness...and kills an elk. But actually, your kid wants you there."
The youngest Howard reflected on his dad's busy career...he is an Oscar-winning director after all. But admitted that no matter how busy he was, he was always there for his children. He even showed a touching photo of Ron directing a film with three children hanging all over him, not distracted by his work in the slightest.
"I remember Dad was a hard worker but there was never a second of doubt where the priorities were. Ya, my dad worked a lot, but we were on set hanging out...if I wanted to see Dad, talk to Dad -- Dad was there."
Potentially one of the sweetest parts about the documentary was all of the home movies that Bryce shared from her childhood. Ron and his wife Cheryl had gone to great lengths to capture special moments from all of their children's pregnancies and births as well as their childhoods.
The director got particularly choked up reflecting on his own dad, the late Rance Howard. Bryce even featured an interview with her grandfather from 2013 where he reflected on his son's days working as Opie on Andy Griffith. Apparently, during the initial table reading, Opie was going to be quite a different character who talked back to his father and was a bit of a smart ass. It was only with Rance's feedback that Griffith and the writers decided to make Andy and his son's on-screen relationship based on the closeness Ron and Rance shared in real life.
"I felt my father was somebody that I admired and wanted to emulate in many, many ways. Especially the way he handled himself through life," Ron explained.
"He was great. I don't think I was. Man, if you can be a good dad, that's a blessing that you can pass on that's beyond words. He really delivered. His greatest advice is to set a good example for your children - "What ultimately adds up is what they see, what they witness, the way you as a father live your life" - and adds that we need to create a society that facilitates fathers doing their best. "Because at his best, a father provides a kind of consistent sense of safety and therefore, possibility."
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