Why you can trust us
We may earn commission from links on this page, but we only recommend products we believe in. Pricing and availability are subject to change.

'Argylle' star Bryce Dallas Howard uses acting to be a 'super spy' on sets led by filmmakers she admires

"Something that my dad said is that the thing that he misses most about being an actor is getting to watch other directors direct. It's so true," Howard said

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Bryce Dallas Howard, star of the spy movie Argylle (now available to stream on Apple TV+), is one of the most captivating and entertaining actors to watch, who has also proven to be an exceptional director, including brilliant episodes of The Mandalorian. But with a diverse range of skills, when Howard decides to take on a project as an actor, she's not completely pushing her director's chair aside.

"Because I'm also a director, I use being an actor to be a super spy and to basically infiltrate sets of filmmakers I admire," Howard told Yahoo Canada. "I'm curious about their process, they're doing something that you need to see to understand how they're doing it."

"That's a big part of the attraction for me, and it probably shouldn't be, it probably shouldn't be a factor in why I choose acting roles, but it just is. If they've done something that I admire, that I respect, I want to see how they do it in real time. ... Something that my dad said is that the thing that he misses most about being an actor is getting to watch other directors direct. It's so true, because the infrastructure from film to film is almost identical, but the process and the way in which a filmmaker approaches something is completely unique on each movie."

Apple TV+

Watch Argylle on Apple TV+ with 7 days free, then $12.99/month

$13 at Apple TV+

Speaking specifically about Argylle director Matthew Vaughn, Howard praised Vaughn's "passion" as a filmmaker, adding that it was "exciting" to watch his creativity.

"He is so immersed in the story, and the characters and the world building, and so incredibly creative and inventive," Howard said. "It was very exciting to be witness to that, for sure."

"It was a very ambitious production and he's very ambitious. ... It required all of us to be flexible, to step outside of our comfort zone, to adapt to a very particular kind of tone, that is very Matthew Vaughn. ... That's honestly why I make movies and love working with filmmakers who have really singular voices, because you get to experience a peek inside of that genius world."

Howard picked up a saying from a makeup artist that she likes to keep in mind: "My loyalty is to the screen." It's also a statement that Howard believes Vaughn really embodies.

"Sometimes on set, when things will get difficult, ... I'll remind myself ... 'My loyalty is to the screen,'" she said. "What's the most important thing right now? It's not interpersonal dynamics. It's not what I'm having for lunch. It's not what's on my phone. It's 'my loyalty is to the screen' and what can I do in order to ensure that."

Bryce Dallas Howard in
Bryce Dallas Howard in "Argylle," now streaming on Apple TV+.

Moving on from Taylor Swift conspiracy theories

In Argylle, Howard plays a successful author, Elly Conway, who has written a series of spy thrillers based on the character Agent Argylle (Henry Cavill). She loves her cat Alfie and is generally an introverted homebody.

But when Elly meets Aidan Wilde (Sam Rockwell) on a train, she realizes that the events that happen in her books are actually happening in the spy world, and Aidan's work has mirrored what Argylle has done in her books. Because of that, Elly has become a target for a spy organization, the Division, led by Director Ritter (Bryan Cranston).

Apple TV+

Watch Argylle on Apple TV+ with 7 days free, then $12.99/month

$13 at Apple TV+

When Argylle was first released in theatres, there were a number of rumours swirling around online related to who wrote the book "Argylle," with many pointing to Taylor Swift due to the similarities between Swift and the character Elly Conway. Specifically the cat backpack. Now the real Elly Conway has been revealed, and of course it's not actually Swift.

There was also a lot of commotion about how the Argylle fixes a contentious Jurassic World issue, where Howard's character, Claire Dearing, is running in heels. In Argylle, we see Howard's character kick off her heels before running.

"It was kind of shocking," Howard said about all these online rumours and theories related to Argylle. "As a movie's being released, you can never anticipate what folks are going to focus on."

"The heels for Jurassic, who knew! And so that's always something that's, honestly, it's more scary than it is exciting. ... I remember with the Taylor Swift thing, I was like, 'She didn't write it, right?' Like Matthew's daughter came into his room and she was like, 'Why didn't you tell me that Taylor Swift wrote the book?' And he was like, 'Wait, what?' And she showed him all this stuff online. ... With that particular circumstance, you would never want to mislead anyone, especially not Taylor Swift's fan base, especially when you're fan yourself, and so it was a little wild."

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 24: (L-R) Dua Lipa, Bryce Dallas Howard, Ariana DeBose and Claudia Schiffer attends the World premiere of
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 24: (L-R) Dua Lipa, Bryce Dallas Howard, Ariana DeBose and Claudia Schiffer attends the World premiere of "Argylle" at Odeon Luxe Leicester Square on January 24, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images for Universal Pictures)

'Sometimes what an actor brings to the table is going to surprise you'

Conspiracy theories aside, Howard highlighted that she really appreciated how her Argylle character is "unapologetically" disempowered, and is able to move into feeling empowered through the film.

"It's so rare to play a character that is so multi-dimensional and where ... you see her in kind of one state and you think you understand everything about her, ... this is the anxious woman, this is the shut-in novelist," Howard said. "And then as the movie continues and the adventure continues, she really surprises herself and taps into two sides of herself that we never see coming, she never sees coming."

"I think for me, playing a character, specifically who goes from being disempowered to empowered, it's very juicy for me, because you can ... unapologetically feel disempowered. ... She's disempowered and then she becomes empowered as you go for the fullest version of who she is, when she is the most fearful and phobic, and anxious, and all of that."

THE KELLY CLARKSON SHOW -- Episode 7I073 -- Pictured: (l-r) Catherine O'Hara, Bryce Dallas Howard -- (Photo by: Weiss Eubanks/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)
THE KELLY CLARKSON SHOW -- Episode 7I073 -- Pictured: (l-r) Catherine O'Hara, Bryce Dallas Howard -- (Photo by: Weiss Eubanks/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)

Howard also got to work with a number of impressive costars, including Canadian icon Catherine O'Hara, who plays her mother, and Howard herself actually recommended that O'Hara would be great for the role.

"She is just absolutely wonderful and just funniest, kindest, most thoughtful, genuine, brilliant person," Howard said.

"She was just incredible and I think brought so much more dimension to that character than was even initially conceived. ... She's funny as f**k. ... To meet someone who is a legend and is also incredibly kind and zero ego, ... it's exciting and a privilege."

Sam Rockwell and Bryce Dallas Howard in
Sam Rockwell and Bryce Dallas Howard in "Argylle," now streaming on Apple TV+.

Additionally Sam Rockwell is someone Howard spends a lot of time with in the film, who she described as very "playful" on set, with the dance scenes and moments in Argylle being inspired by Rockwell himself. Working with the Rockwell also allowed Howard to get a new perspective on directing actors.

"I learned a lot actually as a director watching Sam work, because I saw how when you empower an actor to have some freedom to explore, also within the text, freeing oneself of previous decisions that had been made and just sort of seeing things get discovered, that are amazing," Howard said.

"I immediately was directing another Star Wars episode right after I shot Argylle and I remember being like, OK I don't want to say anything to the actors, ... unless it's something that they need for clarity in order to do their work. I don't want to ask anything specific of them because I just want to see what they're going to do. Because sometimes what an actor brings to the table is going to surprise you and dazzle, and maybe it's best to not kind of put a performance onto them."