Ron Howard Reveals His Toughest Movie and How His Dad Makes It Even Tougher

Ron Howard visited The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Wednesday and revealed the toughest shot of his career. The Oscar-winning director is known for creating immersive shots in his films, like Backdraft, Rush and Cinderella Manbut he said Far contained, by far, the hardest blow.

The film, which stars Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, featured a historically accurate land race. The 1893 Land Run, also known as the Cherokee Strip Land Run, opened up just over 8 million acres of open land in what is now Oklahoma. More than 100,000 people took part in the land race, which was signaled by cannon fire.

“We had 750 people and horses lined up,” Howard said. “We were going to shoot a cannon. We had 13 cameras – two in the air, cameras stuck everywhere, and we were going to have this land run, and of course it’s dangerous.”

Director Ron Howard and father Rance Howard in May 2005. (REUTERS/Fred Prouser)

Even though the movie showed Cruise and Kidman on horseback, they were filmed separately. The massive stunt was shot without any actors because the stunt coordinator thought it was too dangerous. However, Rance Howard, Ron’s father from Oklahoma, made it clear he wasn’t going to miss the reenactment.

“He says, ‘100 years ago I had three ancestors who ran in this race. 100 years later my son, my firstborn, is making a movie about it. I’m acting in it.'” Howard said. “I just said, ‘Dad, take your horse.'”

Although he was 68 years old, Rance Howard was a great horseman and imagined himself to be a bit of a cowboy. He rode through the rush of horses and wagons and came out no worse.

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert broadcast weeknights at 11:35 p.m. on SCS.

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