Who Is Ivan Howe? 4 Things to Know About 'Eric' Netflix Actor

By Richard Nebens Posted:
Ivan Howe, Eric Netflix

Netflix's Eric series shines a light on 12-year-old Ivan Howe, making fans want to know more about the young rising star.

The six-part miniseries features Doctor Strange star Benedict Cumberbatch as a distraught puppeteer in New York City during the 1980s, dealing with an unhappy marriage and a volatile nature.

He then finds himself in a terrifying situation as his son, Edgar, goes missing, leading him to a bout with substance abuse as he's convinced one of his puppets can help him reunite with his child.

Millbrook, New York native Ivan Howe is featured alongside Cumberbatch, starring as Edgar.

4 Things To Know About Eric's Ivan Howe

Ivan Howe in Eric on Netflix

Ivan's Best Friend Got Him into Acting

As detailed in an interview with The Lakeview Journal, Ivan Howe was inspired to get into acting by one of his close friends, Harriet Luongo.

He first saw Luongo in a production of Oliver years ago, enjoying her performance and "[wanting] to give it a go" after seeing her on stage. He then signed up for his first theater group and started acting in school plays:

"Actually, I was first introduced to acting by my best friend who is doing 'Oliver!' as well, Harriet [Luongo]. I actually saw her in 'Oliver!' five to seven years ago. I thought it was super cool, her acting on stage, and I thought I wanted to give it a try, and so my mom signed me up for first another theater group called SRO — Standing Room Only — and then I did this and one school play."

Ivan Played the Titular Role in Oliver

After seeing his friend perform in Oliver, Howe had his own opportunity to star in that show, playing the leading role in the Sharon, Connecticuit-based production in 2023.

He shared his excitement about the role on Instagram in July 2023, praising the show's cast and expressing a sense of honor:

"So honored to play Oliver at Sharon Playhouse with such a great cast! Tickets are linked in bio and the show runs from August 4th to the 20th!"

About a month after the show's run ended, he shared a set of pictures from his performance on Instagram, describing it as one of the best experiences of his life.

In a review from Berkshire On Stage, the show's young cast received plenty of praise, although Howe stood out from the rest.

Given credit for his singing chops, the review highlighted his "strong stage presence" as a highlight, praising him for his ability to work off of his castmates:

"This group of youngsters, mostly in single digits, is extraordinary especially young Howe and Phoebe Amankwah’s Artful Dodger.

The performances are universally impressive. Young Howe has a pleasant singing voice, but it is his strong stage presence that commands attention. An important talent is that he knows how to listen and react to his acting partners."

Ivan Found 1 Oliver Song Particularly Difficult

While Howe excelled in his performance as the titular Oliver, the song "Where is Love?" presented him with challenges he'd never faced.

In his chat with The Lakeville Journal, Howe explained how he had to cry during his performance, noting how challenging that is due to the connection he has to have with the character.

Additionally, the song requires proficiency in difficult dance moves, which he had to work through after not having any dance training before that show:

"In the song 'Where Is Love,' which is Oliver talking about that feeling, I have to cry in it, and that’s been challenging because I have to really connect with the character in order to do that. Also, I’m not the best dancer. I don’t have any dance training, so choreography always requires a little practice."

However, that did not deter his enjoyment of the experience whatsoever as he hyped up how great his cast was and how much he liked working with everybody:

Q: "What’s your favorite part about being in this show?"

Howe: "I really like everyone here. Everyone’s super nice. And I also like the show a lot. I think it’s really interesting and it’s super fun to be in it."

Netflix's Eric Is Ivan's First On-Screen Role

After starting his acting career in various stage productions, Eric marks a huge turning point for Ivan Howe as he takes on his first on-screen role.

Howe portrays Edgar Anderson, the son of Benedict Cumberbatch's leading character, Vincent Anderson.

Following a heated argument between his parents, Vincent lets Edgar walk his route to school alone, which only consists of a few blocks. Tragically, he never makes it to school as he goes missing, with Vincent finding his jacket in the street at the end of the first episode.

In celebrating the show's debut on Instagram, he shared pictures from various parties alongside his family and friends on Instagram. He also showed off a small yellow clapperboard statue he received from Netflix to celebrate his role in the series, as mentioned in the caption:

"'ERIC' premiered yesterday! Loved getting to share it with my friends and family. Thanks to everyone who came to The Movie House last night, including my great manager April Baker. And special thanks to Netflix and Netflix UK for the cool ERIC clapper board (photo 2)!"

How To Follow Ivan Howe Online

Those looking to keep up with Ivan Howe online can do so via his Instagram page (@theivanhowe).

Eric is now streaming on Netflix.

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- About The Author: Richard Nebens
Richard Nebens joined The Direct in March 2020, now serving as the site's Senior Writer and also working as an assistant editor and content creator. He started his journalism career as a hobby in 2019 and is passionate about sharing news and stories from the entertainment industry, especially comic book movies, comedy, and sci-fi. Richard looks to expand his knowledge about movies and TV every day, and he is eager to stay locked into the latest releases and breaking news at every opportunity.