LOS ANGELES - No wonder Bryce Dallas Howard is smiling.

The eldest daughter of Ron Howard, the Oscar-winning director of A Beautiful Mind, is a newlywed, a new mom, and now a classic comic-book babe as Gwen Stacy, Peter Parker's new crush in Spider-Man 3. (See our review on Page 4.)

Howard first gained fame in M. Night Shyamalan's 2004 film, The Village, and went on to become the ethereal star of his Lady in the Water two years later.

But Spider-Man 3 is her first big summer blockbuster, and judging by her grin, she's ready for more.

Despite having a baby boy just 10 weeks ago (with husband Seth Gabel), Howard, 26, is out promoting the film and already looking forward to her next project, a leading role in The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond, due in 2008.

Howard beamed as she talked with the Associated Press about movies and what she's learned from her famous father.

Question: How does Spider-Man 3 compare to other films you've done?

Howard: It is supersized. I was really surprised because when I was on set with [director] Sam [Raimi] and all the other actors, it felt so intimate and fun and playful. Then when I finally saw the movie I remembered again, "God this is such a big movie."

Q: Are you a fan of superhero films?

A: I was really into this franchise in particular because although it is obviously this big film and there are these huge action sequences that are absolutely terrifying, it really is, at the end of the day, just a great character piece. It's very, very funny, so it's an incredibly balanced film. It's terrifying, it's hilarious, it's emotional, it's beautiful.

Q: Are there any downsides to having such a famous father?

A: No. Sure, there have been times where there has been a bit of criticism and people say I'm only in this industry because he's in this industry and all that kind of stuff, but that's OK. I'm really grateful to have the father that I have and if I'm going to get that kind of criticism, I have to take it with a grain of salt. . . . I feel so lucky to have parents who are so supportive.