Ron Howard reveals his hardest film shot and how his dad made it even harder

Ron Howard dropped by The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, Wednesday, to promote his new movie, 13 Lives. When the director was asked which of his movies had far and away the hardest shot, he revealed it was the land run scene from the blockbuster epic Far and Away.

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

Even though the film showed stars Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman riding horses in the land run, they were filmed separately of the massive stunt. It was shot without any actors because the stunt coordinator thought it was too dangerous. However Rance Howard, Ron’s dad, was from Oklahoma, where the Land Run occurred. He made it clear he wasn’t about to miss the reenactment.

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

Video Transcript

STEPHEN COLBERT: What's the most difficult shot you've ever pulled off, or sequence?

RON HOWARD: Well it's actually-- those were all challenging, fires and backdraft. But there's-- there was one that's, you know, far more difficult.

KYLIE MAR: Ron Howard dropped by the Late Show with Stephen Colbert Wednesday to promote his new movie, "13 Lives." But when the director was asked which of his movies had far and away the hardest shot, he revealed it was the land run scene from his blockbuster epic, "Far and Away."

RON HOWARD: So we had 750 people and horses lined up.

STEPHEN COLBERT: Sure.

RON HOWARD: We were going to fire a cannon. We had 13 cameras, two in the air, cameras dug in everywhere. And we're going to have this land race and of course that's-- it's dangerous.

KYLIE MAR: Even though the film showed stars Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman riding horses in the land run, the massive stunt was shot without any actors because the stunt coordinator thought it was too dangerous.

RON HOWARD: And as we've discussed, no actors in this take, right? And I said, yeah, you know, then we'll go in for a second take. I'll get close-ups on Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman and-- and I'll get a shot of my dad and a couple of the other actors. And he says, well, that's the problem. Your dad wants to be in the shot.

[AUDIENCE LAUGHING]

KYLIE MAR: Rance Howard, Ron's dad, was from Oklahoma where the land run occurred. And he made it clear he wasn't about to miss the re-enactment.

RON HOWARD: 100 years ago, I had three ancestors who rode in this race. 100 years later, my son, my firstborn, is directing a movie about it. I'm acting in it.

KYLIE MAR: So Ron did what most people would do in his shoes. He obeyed his father.

RON HOWARD: I just said, Dad, get your horse. And, uh, he's in there. He's in there.

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