Kindred Spirits

New Woman — April 1994

— by Lisa Liebman

WHAT WAS IT LIKE FOR MERYL, GLENN, AND WINONA TO SHARE THE SCREEN IN THE HOUSE OF THE SPIRITS?

Ryder…says she was “maybe sixteen or seventeen” the first time she heard about the Spirits script and tested for the role of Blanca, Esteban’s rebellious daughter. She didn’t get it. But five years later, when Pernilla August bowed out due to pregnancy, Ryder finally did.

And Ryder, who showed up on the set after shooting had begun, happily reports, “Everyone made me feel comfortable immediately. Honestly, it doesn’t usually happen like that. I mean I usually lie to journalists and say ‘Oh, yeah, they were so nice.’ But this time I really mean it – especially Glenn and Meryl. They have kids, they have daughters, so they have this real maternal way about them that makes you feel very comfortable.”

Ryder, 22, is single but involved with Dave Pirner of the alternative rock band Soul Asylum and has no plans to settle down right now. Formerly engaged to actor Johnny Depp and the survivor of a brief romance with Christian Slater (“He broke my heart”), she says, “The institution of marriage is something I question for people my age.”

Ryder, who has made 13 films in her nine years in the business, has also experienced this inequity in pay between male and female actors

“I get paid very well, but it’s just weird when even though you’re being paid really well, you’re working with an actor who is not as accomplished as you and not even as famous as you, and he is being paid more than you. That, I’ve never understood – and it’s happened to me a couple of times just because they were men.”