O’Brien began by reminiscing about hearing that Ron Howard, a well-known on-camera personality at the time, was set to direct the movie adaptation of “Grand Theft Auto.” Reflecting on the unconventional decision, Howard admitted it was not the norm for an actor to transition to directing. However, he always had a strong desire to direct since he was young, much to the patronizing responses from others.

Despite the preconceived notions people had about him, Howard knew deep down that he had the ability to succeed as a director. In fact, he started shooting “Grand Theft Auto” the day after his 23rd birthday. However, he shared that he had originally planned to direct a feature film while still in his teens, but the entertainment industry was much more closed off back then, making it nearly impossible to break in.

Howard highlighted the stark contrast between the entertainment landscape of the past and today’s digital era. He mentioned how current content creators have the advantage of platforms like YouTube and social media where they can showcase their talent and find their voice. In contrast, during Howard’s early career, there were only a handful of networks and studios deciding who would make it in the industry.

Interestingly, Howard drew a parallel between his experience and that of Jim Henson, the creator of the Muppets. He emphasized how Henson and his wife were like the young content creators today, experimenting with television as a new medium. Similarly, Howard felt restricted by the limited opportunities available to him at the time. He even considered doing a show on public access television to get a chance at directing a feature film.

It was during a conversation with renowned filmmaker Roger Corman that Howard found the break he needed. Corman, known for taking risks, offered Howard a chance to act in a movie called “Eat My Dust.” Seizing the opportunity, Howard used the meeting to pitch his desire to direct. He presented Corman with a script he had written, and if Corman liked it, Howard would get a chance to direct his own film.

The gamble paid off, and Howard successfully convinced Corman to greenlight his script. Thus, “Grand Theft Auto” came to life. Howard revealed that he and his father wrote the script in just one month, making it the fastest green light of his directing career.

The interview with Howard took on added significance as it occurred shortly after the passing of Roger Corman, who passed away at the age of 98. Howard expressed his admiration for Corman and how supportive he remained of all his former protégés.

The conversation between Ron Howard and Conan O’Brien shed light on the early challenges faced by aspiring directors in the entertainment industry. It showcased the determination and drive necessary to break into the closed-off world of Hollywood. Ultimately, Howard’s journey from actor to successful director serves as an inspiration to those pursuing their dreams in the entertainment field.