Tribeca: Ron Howard Recalls Early Days of Festival, Shares Update on 'Heart of the Sea'

1:31 PM PST 04/24/2014 by Hilary Lewis
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Ron Howard

Courteney Cox, Mike Myers, Harvey Weinstein, Robert De Niro and New York City mayor Bill de Blasio all stepped out for Vanity Fair's annual star-studded party.

On a cold, windy Wednesday night in New York, many of the stars who stepped out for Vanity Fair's annual Tribeca Film Festival party quickly scurried inside, just pausing to pose for photos in front of the New York State Supreme Court steps.

But a few brave actors and directors stopped to share their thoughts on the festival's early days and its development over the past 12 years.

Ron Howard talked to The Hollywood Reporter about how impressed he is with the growth of the festival, even as it retains the societal spirit that marked its beginning, when it was established to help revive lower Manhattan in the wake of 9/11.

"It just keeps growing. It's always had a good spirit around it because it wasn't born out of sort of a business plan. I think it's growing into a business, which is great for everyone involved. But in the beginning I think it was a societal need. It was a rallying point socially and emotionally. I think that continues to pervade the environment," said Howard. "But now it's growing. It's growing in legitimacy. They're launching more and more movies out of here. It's even beginning to be a bit of a film market and becoming one of the most prestigious and important festivals in the world. And I think people feel the excitement around that growth, too."

Howard, meanwhile, seems excited about his upcoming film Heart of the Sea, on which he re-teamed with his Rush star Chris Hemsworth.

The director said he's still editing the true story of the events that inspired Herman Melville to write Moby Dick.

"So it's still unformed, unfinished, but it's showing a lot of promise, I think," he said.

Actor Bob Balaban also spoke to THR about the festival's beginnings.

"I'm especially fond of the early years of the festival when it was forming and it was being brave," he said. "They did a huge amount to … help the spirit of the recovery down here.… They had no other agenda than 'We gotta help the city.' "

Other stars, moguls and public officials that THR spotted arriving at the party included Courteney Cox, Mike Myers, Harvey Weinstein, Robert De NiroKate Walsh, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, Madison Square Garden Company executive chairman James Dolan, Anna Wintour, former NYC police commissioner Ray Kelly, Graydon Carter, Charlie Rose, Norah O'Donnell and Tory Burch.

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