Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic
Christopher Rosen
January 08, 2016 AT 04:13 PM EST

Ron Howard has become one of Hollywood’s most prolific and diverse directors, and he’s got George Lucas to thank for the dexterity.

As part of EW’s Fanuary, Howard spoke about how Lucas influenced him during the filming of American Graffiti, Howard’s breakout film as an actor.

“I had just been accepted to USC Film School. Even though George was only 28 when he was making American Graffiti, he was already — to would-be film students — he was kind of a god,” Howard said.

Howard, whose latest film, In the Heart of the Sea, was released in December, explained how his experience with Lucas was formative in how to approach being a director — especially with regard to attention to detail on set.

“He took as long to select the cars in American Graffiti as he did the actors,” Howard said.

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