Five Favorite Films

Five Favorite Films with Terrence Howard

The Fighting co-star reveals a musical streak and discusses his acting philosophy.

by | April 23, 2009 | Comments


Terrence Howard

The Oscar-nominated actor Terrence Howard has amassed an impressive resume since making his Hollywood breakthrough in the 1995 drama Mr. Holland’s Opus (he also starred in that year’s Dead Presidents), excelling at giving each and every one of his characters an extraordinary complexity that always seems to simmer right beneath the surface, whether as part of an ensemble (Crash, Lackawanna Blues), as a villain (Awake, Idlewild), a sympathetic figure (Four Brothers, August Rush), or a hero in waiting (Iron Man). In this week’s Fighting, he plays mentor to a young street fighter (Channing Tatum) — a performance that critics are lauding as quietly powerful, and one of the standouts of Dito Montiel’s film.

In a discussion about Howard’s favorite films, Rotten Tomatoes discovered that the actor’s affinity for music runs close to his cinematic tastes (in addition to performing his own songs in Craig Brewer’s Hustle & Flow, he released an album in 2008). Read on for Howard’s Five Favorite Films, his anti-“acting” philosophy, and more.


Jesus Christ Superstar
(1973, 57% Tomatometer)



Jesus Christ Superstar
The harmony of music with the simplistic style of telling that story, as a framework for it, and then the acting… It’s like bringing Broadway — true Broadway — to the desert. Picking up a little naturalism from the desert. I believed Carl Anderson; believed every word of him, every frown, every inflection of his eyebrow. I love musicals. Always have. I think you have to tell a full story; it’s like asking someone, “Do you like black and white films?” or “Do you love 3D?” Music creates that third dimension.

That pick is impressive, especially since not a lot of men would admit to liking musicals.

Well they’re not real men, then.



On The Waterfront
(1954, 100% Tomatometer)



On the Waterfront
It was that basic human story, it was watching the fluid way in which Marlon [Brando] directed the wind around him. We were all moved and swayed by him, and it was the first time that I took notice of truth in acting. There was no acting; everyone else acted around him, but he was there.

How would you compare the way Brando acted to your own approach?

I made a vow never to “act.” Never, ever “act.” If you’re not there, if you’re not the person [whom you’re portraying], then get out of the way and let the real person in. If you’re acting like the person… People respect an ambassador, but they honor the king.

So you’re of the school of acting that really lives in each role, as opposed to just temporarily taking on a character for the time being?

Yes — or, allow the role to live in you. If you live the role, that world has its consequences when you bring it into our present world. But if you allow the character to live in you, then you are always in control and can direct where he is allowed; you allow the character to become a guest in your gracious space.

Does that mean that every actor has multiple personalities living as a guest inside of him?

Every human being is a composite of multiple, multiple atoms. All taking on different roles in the making of that person or that thing. Likewise, the end result of all of those atoms would be like those atoms; so we need a lot of different personalities; but in order to be one personality, you have to be a number of them because of how they balance off each other.



Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
(1968, 59% Tomatometer)



Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: “A posh life!” [From the song “Posh!”] “Lullabye Bay.” [From the song “Hushabye Mountain”] Those songs that Dick Van Dyke (as Caractacus Potts) and his father (Lionel Jeffries, as Grandpa Potts) sang blew me away! I saw it as a child, and I watch it as an adult. I love that movie.


Mary Poppins

(1964, 100% Tomatometer)

 

Mary PoppinsMary Poppins is still one of my very, very, very favorites. There are so many wonderful jewels of knowledge that they put in that film. It’s like that book, “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss. There are some wonderful hints to achieving success in life, and the greatest success is to be happy. That’s what those movies seem to tell me.

Are you a movie watcher who takes the lessons from films and employs them in your own life?

Well, a true teacher is always a true student. And if you are willing and humble yourself, you can learn from a lot; you have to listen very carefully.


Hustle & Flow (2005, 82%)



Hustle & Flow
Hustle & Flow showed me what could have happened to me. I hadn’t recognized that until I’d seen the movie completed; you never know what painting you’re making until the final stroke. And even then, it’s not finished until you put it into the frame. I didn’t understand the full impact of those individual strokes that we were making on a day to day basis until I saw [the film] — where A could have led me. I saw where A would end up at. And taking on B, C, and D… For a film to affect me that way, for a character to affect me that way, to where I feel worry and think about who Djay is… I still wonder about Shug and her baby. I still wonder about Key.

Hustle & Flow also had music in it, which told some of that struggle. Remember, music used to be written for films, conveyed by the actors themselves. They knew when that music was played and they responded to it. Now, [merging a film to its music] is something that’s done as a separate act, and it’s more manipulative and not honest. Music in Hustle & Flow gave us another plane in which to relate everything to, and to play from. It widened the playing field; it brightened the road down the way, because you could move to that music, and be in step with the audience instead of the audience being manipulated into step with you.

Taking that amount of pride in Hustle & Flow‘s musical elements, how did you feel when Three 6 Mafia won the Oscar for Best Song?

I felt absolutely elated, for the fact that the Academy was able to see past the genre lines and the lines of demarcation between individual people and could see the artists themselves, the work and the artistry. They didn’t care whose name was at the bottom of the painting, or who was the initial audience of it, they just saw a painting worth their appreciation. I was so honored to be a part of that.


Watch Terrence Howard in Fighting this Friday. For more Five Favorite Films, visit our archive.

Tag Cloud

free movies Superheroe DC Comics BBC America Calendar PBS Spike a nightmare on elm street PaleyFest halloween CW Seed Lifetime Christmas movies San Diego Comic-Con renewed TV shows Kids & Family Disney Channel Mary poppins Awards Trophy Talk 4/20 cooking Year in Review romantic comedy space Academy Awards foreign television romance Best and Worst slashers revenge comic Family Sundance Pixar TCA Awards 2017 Hallmark Christmas movies IFC Films Marvel Studios Crackle Tubi VICE Sundance Now movie aliens harry potter LGBT hispanic Musicals Drama teaser GLAAD Amazon Prime films MTV HBO dragons Holidays CNN 21st Century Fox nature ABC Family game show Interview Columbia Pictures TBS BET Super Bowl Creative Arts Emmys game of thrones Hulu Countdown ABC A&E streaming FOX Walt Disney Pictures Syfy Animation criterion social media MCU cats TV Land Ovation concert batman Action 2019 Anna Paquin AMC Masterpiece Dark Horse Comics RT21 2015 period drama zombies Shudder Classic Film Pride Month Captain marvel justice league Pop TV Pirates comiccon Christmas PlayStation Hallmark HBO Max Lucasfilm true crime TV adaptation technology First Look Warner Bros. Food Network parents Showtime asian-american Netflix Comics on TV Star Wars crime thriller spy thriller Black History Month 2016 TNT 72 Emmy Awards Martial Arts Hear Us Out SDCC OWN 2020 rotten Teen Nominations Biopics Oscars screenings Comedy Central dceu Film war remakes police drama Apple TV+ Podcast Rom-Com El Rey Disney streaming service crime south america Reality christmas movies worst diversity docudrama Schedule Video Games Elton John Character Guide cults singing competition History venice Rock video on demand franchise USA Network natural history DGA BBC zombie ESPN Superheroes YouTube Binge Guide DirecTV TCM crime drama kids Reality Competition Trivia Emmys Paramount Network NBC book Sci-Fi witnail Opinion jamie lee curtis universal monsters Apple Disney+ Disney Plus mockumentary BBC One Western crossover indie Sneak Peek tv talk toy story YA quibi critics facebook Spring TV finale 45 science fiction Chernobyl BET Awards TIFF Film Festival Election National Geographic DC streaming service sitcom cancelled television Amazon sequel Trailer Apple TV Plus football thriller hist what to watch 71st Emmy Awards Funimation SXSW robots Adult Swim First Reviews cars Fox News anime WGN Star Trek fast and furious transformers historical drama Vudu indiana jones Esquire Writers Guild of America twilight blaxploitation The Walking Dead composers YouTube Red spinoff series strong female leads USA Universal mutant psycho SundanceTV 007 Television Critics Association FXX independent Comic Book travel obituary worst movies Brie Larson Premiere Dates best medical drama Musical award winner Rocky documentary The Witch werewolf cancelled TV series APB Amazon Prime Video Certified Fresh Thanksgiving casting Marathons richard e. Grant emmy awards DC Universe Netflix Christmas movies Mudbound Watching Series OneApp based on movie President elevated horror satire Grammys Travel Channel 20th Century Fox cinemax The CW GIFs Marvel Television comedies New York Comic Con sag awards FX on Hulu Infographic talk show psychological thriller political drama The Purge movies Nat Geo comics unscripted Set visit green book anthology NYCC Valentine's Day dramedy Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Winter TV versus Discovery Channel mission: impossible vampires breaking bad Spectrum Originals latino animated ratings Mindy Kaling Starz screen actors guild Red Carpet Ellie Kemper Sundance TV Photos E3 Pop Disney Plus CBS All Access LGBTQ canceled TV shows toronto Turner Classic Movies discovery Tomatazos Logo TCA spider-man Music A24 canceled boxoffice Britbox Cartoon Network Arrowverse die hard superhero Freeform Cosplay Sony Pictures GoT Mary Poppins Returns 24 frames nbcuniversal Endgame Rocketman Baby Yoda stoner Holiday Awards Tour BAFTA HBO Go Fantasy news dc Tumblr See It Skip It Extras dark Lionsgate stand-up comedy reboot Winners spanish language Ghostbusters Stephen King politics Women's History Month rotten movies we love chucky cartoon laika VH1 golden globes American Society of Cinematographers Amazon Studios CMT directors Marvel Crunchyroll CBS Toys Peacock Acorn TV Black Mirror Television Academy ITV Box Office hollywood VOD miniseries Turner scorecard serial killer TCA Winter 2020 Lifetime WarnerMedia Song of Ice and Fire Horror Tarantino sports adventure reviews Shondaland Pet Sematary Summer Quiz child's play festival video YouTube Premium Nickelodeon RT History nfl disaster sequels E! The Arrangement scary movies spain Polls and Games all-time classics name the review Heroines blockbuster Epix Mystery Emmy Nominations cancelled TV shows Cannes documentaries TV renewals Bravo Paramount cancelled biography Fall TV ghosts X-Men Disney Avengers joker Country supernatural IFC festivals cops TCA 2017 doctor who dogs MSNBC Mary Tyler Moore binge TruTV theme song TLC 2018 zero dark thirty children's TV stop motion FX Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Comedy