CINEMA: NICE GUY AT MISSION CONTROL

Child stars lose it once their hormones kick in, nice guys finish last, and you can't shoot a movie in zero gravity. Those are just a few of the show-biz verities broken by Ron Howard, whose assured direction of Apollo 13 may finally help people get past his image as the TV tyke who grew up in our living rooms on The Andy Griffith Show and Happy Days.

"It's Opie Cunningham!" folks on the street still yell out when Howard walks by, combining the names of his TV alter egos. Since his days as a child actor, however, Howard has gone...