Ron Howard letter from 1999 defending Jake Lloyd and “The Phantom Menace”

Ron Howard letter from 1999 defending Jake Lloyd and “The Phantom Menace”

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  • Ron Howard is one of the most genuinely good people in Hollywood. This letter only makes me respect him more as a person.

  • “He may not be able to comprehend the reason that it was printed, however, but then obviously neither can I.”

    This is a very touching line. It raises an interesting point for me too as to whether there is an ethical obligation not to criticize child actors, simply because the place and function of criticism is so likely to be lost on them.

  • As evidenced by Hayden’s performance in Ep. II, I don’t think Lloyd should take all or even most of the blame. I think Lucas’ vision for the prequels was too over-arching to worry about little things like realistic dialogue and character motivation.

  • Good on Howard for defending Lloyd, it’s never appropriate to attack a child. But on the same hand, I don’t think over praising is the correct approach either.

  • Ron Howard – Former Child Actor.

  • Ron Howard, you have been promoted to mod of /r/PrequelMemes

  • I don’t agree with Ron Howard’s defense of the film, but I agree with his message. Very stand up thing to do.

  • Despite all of the prequel memes, it wasn’t a great movie.

    It wasn’t the absolute worst film ever made, although a lot of people thought that because their expectations were so goddamn high, not that I blame them. First Star Wars movie since Jedi.

    I watched it when I was a kid, maybe 13 or 14 years old, and I don’t remember anything awful about the child’s acting — the movie as a whole just wasn’t that good.

  • Lloyed wasn’t terrific, he wasn’ particularly bad, the problem of the movie lie elsewhere, the kid didn’t write the script.

  • What a nice guy. Personally I still don’t think *The Phantom Menace* is THAT bad, although it certainly has its faults. But hey, I (the same age as Lloyd) really loved it when it came out — and it was for me and other kids about my age that the movies were made for.
    It has a lot of fancy spectacle, slimy aliens, nice environments and cool action scenes, which was pretty much what you want from a *Star Wars* film. It’s a goddamn kids movie, if people were expecting *2001 II* or something the fault is with them. Also, Lloyd was not so bad, I mean the adult, experienced actors’ performances weren’t much better, but no one bullied Liam Neeson to the point his career (and arguably life) was derailed. Fuck, not even Jar Jar Binks’ actor got any shit (although the character certainly did). But hey, let’s hate on the kid!

  • While I absolutely despise the Phantom Menace and everything about it, the poor kid deserves no blame. He did his best. Adult actors with a lot of experience couldn’t make the prequels better.

  • if he has that wrong opinion han solo is screwed

  • If I was Jake Loyd I would have put this on my wall framed.

  • Why is the takeaway here the defense of Lloyd by Howard and not his assertion that the Phantom Menace is “amazing”?

  • I’m really no fan of the prequels, but I’ve never understood the hate for Lloyd’s performance. He was sweet, innocent, got the job done.

  • What’s sad is there was a lot of people crapping on the kid and continue to shit on him now. He was just a kid, it wasn’t his fault the movie sucked.

  • For those who didn’t bother to read this **short** letter, the Newsweek article panned Lloyd’s performance based on rumors BEFORE SEEING THE MOVIE.

    You have to be a real shitty human being to do that to a child.

  • A good sentiment, but he loses me when he says Episode 1 is “truly amazing”.

    Though I admit he could have been amazed at how totally shitty the writing, directing and acting was.

  • It’s nice to see someone defend Jake Lloyd’s performance as a young Darth Vader. The kid had big shoes to fill. Ron Howard is a cool guy for doing that.

  • Slightly concerning that the man making the new Star Wars movie thought the Phantom Menace was truly amazing.

    Jake Lloyd was dreadful of course but so were all the other excellent actors in the film. Maybe Hayden Christensen was the next Day Lewis but we just couldn’t tell because he was in Star Wars.

  • Is anyone troubled by Ron Howard deeming Phantom Menace “amazing” and that he’s currently shepherding the Han Solo movie through completion of principal photography and post?

  • He thought Jake was terrific in that movie?

    The Han movie is doomed.

  • I have represses episodes 1-3, I choose to ignore them and treat them like they were never made.

  • I have a bad feeling about this…

  • remember before the movie was released, and the only thing we had of it was this? so hype.

  • I just rewatched Episode I the other night and I found it to be surprisingly good.

    Yes, Jar Jar is horrible and there is some stiff dialogue, but I was pretty entertained and thought that Jake Lloyd did a great job.

    His portrayal made me really feel for Anakin, especially considering what happens to him later on.

  • It’s true the adult Jake Lloyd bears the scars of all the hate he received as a kid for that performance. Is it really worth wrecking someone’s life to hate on a child actor. With the exception of Ewan McGregor, most actors in the prequels gave muted performances because Lucas isn’t an actor’s director. He was more interested in filling every frame with digital crap.

  • Yo, ADHD boys: please focus once in awhile

  • Truly wonderful, the mind of a child is.

  • Oof, Ron Howard thought The Phantom Menace was ‘amazing’?

    As if the Han Solo movie wasn’t doomed already.

  • The script was shit but Jake Lloyd turned in a fine performance for a child actor.

  • I think it’s reasonable to take umbrage at tone, especially with a child actor, but Lloyd wasn’t a particularly skilled actor in that movie and I think it’s pretty objectively clear it’s ok to discuss that in a review. I think this is more an issue of tone and execution. That being said, the original piece seems more like production gossip than an actual review of the film, which wasn’t out yet – I’m not sure it warranted a serious response from anyone. Kind of quaint considering what people on the internet say now.

  • I guess time has proved Ron Howard right!

    Oh wait…

  • This was literally posted a day or 2 ago.

  • Ron Howard is a great person. Seriously, he’s never had a scandal or went off the deep end, despite growing up in Hollywood as long as he has, which is almost a miracle.

    But Jake Lloyd was very weak in the film. They had a casting shoot with three finalists, and there was one kid that was older and more trained, and I preferred him (as did many). I get that Lucas wanted a cute innocent-looking kid, but it was obvious Lloyd almost never acted before.

  • Makes sense given he was a child actor. Him being nice and mostly right about going after some kid does mean those films weren’t lazy trainwrecks of course.

  • Did she attack the child himself or his acting? When you star in a film your age shouldn’t mean that critics are unable to comment on the quality of your performance. If they attack your character, that’s another matter entirely.

  • *”Jake Lloyd is terrific in the film (which, by the way, is truly amazing).”*

    The director of the Han Solo movie thinks The Phantom Menace was an amazing film.

  • When did people start liking TPM and Lloyd’s performance?

  • What a nice guy,

  • I’ve read several articles from top directors that say most of their work is done by who they cast. As much as I didn’t like most of the performances in Phantom Menace, including the child’s, the fault should lie on the Lucas.

  • And now Jake is broken and batshit insane, and now things like this are par for the course when talking about the myriads of tabloid trash news media that nest inside the internet like a cancerous boil filled with blood, pus and ticks.

  • Jake Llyod (himself) is about the one thing in that movie that’s flawless. Now the script and editing of Jake was perhaps a problem, but that’s not Jake’s fault.

    Putting shit on a kid for things that are other people’s faults is just mean.

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