A new amazing interview done to The Daily Beast about Homefront, Beetlejuice, Hollywood and… Homeland! Check it:
Winona Ryder is whispering to me.
I have just stepped inside an anonymous suite on the 15th floor of the Four Seasons Beverly Hills, which has been overtaken by the PR team for Homefront, the new meth-head action film written by Sylvester Stallone. Jason Statham, who plays an undercover drug cop turned single dad trying to protect his daughter from drugland lowlifes, is doing his interviews in another room. So are Kate Bosworth (an angry addict) and James Franco (the dangerous local dealer). But it’s Winona I’m here to see. Winona forever.
The 42-year-old Minnesota native has had her ups and downs. The ups are legendary: Lucas, Beetlejuice, Heathers, Edward Scissorhands, Mermaids, Night on Earth, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, The Age of Innocence, Reality Bites. The list goes on.
Ryder’s downs are famous, too. The shoplifting incident. The prescription painkiller abuse. The anxiety and depression. And the half-decade hiatus that followed.
In recent years, however, Ryder has returned to the screen in a series of smaller, quirkier roles. Each time—Star Trek, Black Swan, The Iceman—she has proven that her iconic status is no fluke.
Which brings us to Homefront—and Ryder’s whispering. As the PR folks slip into the bedroom and gingerly close the door, leaving me and Winona alone together, she leans in and makes a confession.
“I haven’t seen the movie, so…” She smiles apologetically. She looks immaculate: black blazer, dark, longish hair, perfect skin, perfect teeth. If I didn’t know her age, I would say she was about 30. I promise not to interrogate her too aggressively about Homefront.
To be honest, I think Ryder is the best thing about the movie. She brings layers of vulnerability, confusion, and conscience to a drug-moll character that might otherwise have been a one-dimensional cliché.
But like Ryder—who is so eager to tell me about her other new project, the “amazing” BBC political thriller Turks and Caicos by David Hare, that I have to gently steer her back to the topic at hand before our interview can start—I would probably prefer to talk about other subjects as well: Beetlejuice 2, Reality Bites, how Hollywood has changed over the last 20 years, why aging is so much more complicated for actresses than actors. Even Homeland.
So that’s what we proceed to do.
So, finally, some video from Homefront premiere in Las Vegas. Entertainment Tonight interviewed the stars at the red carpet. Winona appears on 1:40 mark.
To promote the release of Homefront, Winona is cover of V Magazine in an AMAZING shoot by Mario Testino. You can find previews up in the gallery, and the article as well under the cut:
YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW WINONA
“Beetlejuice, Tim Burton, my first relationship, the air-quotes ‘incident’ that happened, and then the couple of awkward years of ‘comeback, question mark?’”
Winona Ryder, star of more than 50 films, is laughing while reciting the usual topics brought up on interview junkets. “It’s no fault of the press, they only have a few minutes with each person. But it’s like, Does everybody have AMNESIA?!” She delivers this last sentence with a shrill Midwestern accent, because she’s quoting Kathy Bates in Misery. Conversations with Winona come peppered with major movie moments such as this—a habit both endearing and dangerous, should any reporter unschooled in film trivia fail to notice she’s merely being playful. Here’s another:
“In one way, it’s not offensive at all. But it’s like, the word ‘comeback’ makes you feel like you’re standing in line for another chance, like in Oliver when he steps up and says ‘Please sir, can I have some more?’ ‘MORE?!’”
When Winona Ryder turned 40, she reached a landmark age that would send many Hollywood actresses into a tailspin and into the arms of a cosmetic surgeon. For Ryder, however, it was cause for celebration and optimism about what the future might hold. “I love getting older,” she says. “And I was really excited to turn 40. I feel like the older you get, the more yourself you become, and I think the roles, even if they are smaller, are more interesting.”
And it’s true. Lately, she’s been playing some meaty characters – an ageing ballerina crushed at giving way to a younger dancer in Black Swan, the wife of a hitman in her latest, The Iceman – and even though they are not the leading roles of her teen heyday, she’s not complaining.
“Being the ingénue is fun for a while, and if you are lucky you get a couple of years. I feel like I got really lucky because I had a lot longer than that. And part of me never thought that I would still be acting now, so I relish the work. There’s a lot of pressure in Hollywood on women to stay younger looking, which I don’t quite understand.”
By Stephen Mooallen for Interview Magazine
Winona Ryder knows her Simple Minds—and not just “Don’t You (Forget About Me),” to which she enthusiastically lip-synchs while propped up on her elbows on a dark red comforter on the set of our cover shoot. “Will you recognize me, call my name, or walk on by? Rain keeps falling, rain keeps falling, down, down, down, dooowwwnnn . . .” But like most things with Ryder, her connoisseurship is not half-assed. She requests deeper cuts, like “Alive and Kicking,” off the band’s Once Upon a Time (1985) album: “Staaayyy . . . until your love . . . is . . . love . . . is . . . a-live and kicking!” We listen to that one twice, which is probably appropriate since Ryder’s own romance with acting—that thing that kept her very busy throughout most of her teens and her twenties—is a recently rekindled affair. She will appear in two films this year, the second of which, Gary Fleder’s drug-lord drama Homefront, with James Franco and Jason Statham, is due out this fall. The first of them, though, hits theaters this month: Ariel Vromen’s The Iceman, a period piece set mostly in the 1960s and ’70s that stars Michael Shannon as Richard Kuklinski, a real-life contract killer for the mob in New York and New Jersey who is said to have murdered more than 100 people. The real Kuklinski, who was arrested in 1986 and died in prison in 2006, is said to have hid his bloody business from his wife, Barbara, who is played in the film by Ryder (the character is renamed Deborah), while she and their two daughters enjoyed a life of relatively affluent suburban idyll. The film is dark, at times difficult, and unlike anything that Ryder has ever done. But in her hands, Deborah emerges as something much more complicated than a dutiful wife—in one sense, a sympathetic figure, but in another, a woman whose blindness seems as much a product of a darker, more conflicted willfulness as ignorance.
I spoke with the 41-year-old Ryder recently in New York.
STEPHEN MOOALLEM: I heard that you’ve been under the weather.
WINONA RYDER: I don’t know if it’s a cold—it’s just that my voice was kind of going. But it’s back, so I’m actually okay. In a weird way, I was actually hoping that whatever voice thing I’ve got could stay so that I could sort of have a Debra Winger thing going on. I’ve always loved her voice. But it’s getting better, so I’m going to sound like me.
MOOALLEM: Well, you can take advantage of it while it lasts. I’m just going to make sure that we’re recording. Our recorders are digital now, and for some reason, I always doubt that they’re recording.
RYDER: And they used to do this with tape recorders . . . The world.