Feeling the love! Ron Howard was thrilled to learn of Jennifer Aniston’s appreciation for his former TV series, Happy Days, weeks after she gave it a shout-out during her Screen Actors Guild Awards acceptance speech.
“That’s very flattering! Very flattering. And she’s great,” Howard, who played Richie Cunningham on the beloved series, told Us Weekly exclusively at the Television Academy Hall of Fame Ceremony in Los Angeles on Tuesday, January 28. He revealed that he “didn’t see” what Aniston, 50, said about Happy Days during the 26th annual event, but he only had praise for the Friends alum’s acting chops.
“Very few people can move between comedy and drama, you know, the way she’s proven that she can. So as a result, she’s both very funny with impeccable timing but she’s always very honest,” the filmmaker explained. “You don’t feel like she’s a performer, ever. She’s, you know, a really strong actor. She’s also a good director! She hasn’t done very much of it, but she did a short film in … a program that my daughter Bryce [Dallas Howard] was also involved in.”
He continued, “I thought that Jennifer’s was really, really good [at directing]. So I’m always prodding her whenever I see her, ‘Do a little more directing!’ But … the business keeps her busy in front of the cameras.”
The Da Vinci Code director also pointed out why Aniston and many others are drawn to Happy Days. He argued that the Henry Winkler-led show, which ran on ABC from 1974 to 1984, had “a really good cast” and “strong” writing. “When the show was at its best, it had the innocence but it also had really great sharp comedy timing and a lot of heart,” he added.
On January 19, Aniston walked away with a SAG award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series for work on The Morning Show. She beat out Helena Bonham Carter (The Crown), Olivia Colman (The Crown), Jodie Comer (Killing Eve) and Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale) for the coveted prize.
In her speech, the Cake actress admitted that her love for shows such as Happy Days sparked her interest in acting as a young girl.
“Oh, my gosh. This is so unbelievable. What a room!” she said at the time. “You know, I was thinking back to when I was a little girl, and I would — I didn’t have a VCR, but I had a tape recorder, and I would tape Laverne & Shirley, Happy Days and others. … I’d listen to episodes in my head and say, ‘I know one day I am going to do that.’”
She continued, “Then I got a Bob’s Big Boy commercial and I got into SAG. They were humble beginnings, but you have to start somewhere. I just have to say I am so grateful. Our extraordinary head writer created so many characters that are so layered and complicated and messy and ugly and beautifully human.”
Aniston stars as Alex Levy on the Apple TV+ series and served as one of its executive producers. The buzzed-about drama follows the events that transpire after Alex’s (Aniston) longtime coanchor and pal Mitch Kessler (Steve Carell) was terminated over sexual misconduct allegations. Reese Witherspoon, Billy Crudup, Mark Duplass, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Bel Powley and Nestor Carbonell also star.
With reporting by Taylor Ferber
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