Sure, Winona Ryder has a movie to promote — “Homefront,” starring Jason Statham — but she’d much rather talk about Lou Reed, if that’s OK. “I was supposed to see [the movie], but then Lou Reed died and I had to go to his memorial. And you know, I just haven’t been able to. But I usually see something before talking about it,” Ryder says with a laugh. ”And it’s also my first, like, this kind of movie.”
I’m still a bit broken up about Lou Reed, actually.
Yeah, I know. I am, too. It’s weird, isn’t it? I know he was 71, but I just didn’t expect it. I did not know him well. I had to follow him at Allen Ginsberg’s [memorial], giving eulogies. It’s like the scariest thing, following Lou Reed. But he was Lou Reed, you know?
Well, he was such a huge presence.
Last night, I was at a party for a movie that a friend of mine did, and there were these… “younger people.” (laughs) They’re talking about music, and it was like they didn’t know that he was in the Velvet Underground, they didn’t know anything about him. And they play music. I was like, “Walk on the Wild Side?” “Sweet Jane?” Like, the big ones, and they didn’t know them. It’s just crushing, you know? I actually played it on my phone for them.
I’ve heard he was one of the toughest people to interview.
Ethan Hawke — who worshipped him — met him somewhere and they were somehow exchanging numbers. Ethan was giving him his number and it was a 917 number — it was right when [those were new] — and he said Lou was like, “What?” Like he was too cool for the new area code. (laughs) Ethan was mortified, but it was kind of like, “He’s Lou Reed. He can think that that’s not cool.”
I should ask you something about the movie.
You mentioned this is your first of “one of these kinds of movies.” What was behind the decision?
Well, part of it was that I’d never done anything like this. I was kind of surprised they offered it to me. It kind of read like arm candy — which was kind of appealing to me. “Eh, I’m just a biker chick, arm candy in one of these movies. I’ve never done that, it could be fun!” And then also just honestly a big pull was James [Franco] because we’re friends. I was like, “Are you really going to do this ‘Homefront’ thing?”
You do come off as more interesting than just arm candy.
Oh good. (laughs) It’s just, there’s not a lot of logic in these movies. It was an experience. I don’t know if I’ll do another thing like that. I did a thing right after that was like the opposite, this really great David Hare thing [with] Christopher Walken and Bill Nighy and Ralph Fiennes, and it’s about the bringing down of Tony Blair. It’s all words and brilliant and about detention centers being built and money-laundering. So to go from this to that, it’s kind of like I’m glad that I’m older because I would hate to be the ingenue now. It just seems like it would be tough these days.
Things have definitely changed.
And you know what they’re remaking? “Little Women.” I saw Christian Bale last night, and I was like, “Hey, what the hell?” It’s just weird when you hit an age when they’re redoing [your old stuff].