Winona Ryder: The wonderous waif

June 27, 1997

Winona Ryder: The wonderous waif (excerpt from composite article)

Age: 25

Why her? She possesses a versatility none of her peers can claim: Gen-X has called her one of its own since 1994’s seminal Reality Bites, but Ryder was equally at home as Jo in Little Women and made Arthur Miller proud as a devilish puritan in his film adaptation of the Crucible. Whether corseted (in 1993’s The Age of Innocence and in 1992’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula) or grunged out, Ryder looks – and acts – the part.

What inspires her: “A lot of research, of course,” she says. But when she closes the books, Ryder retreats into her trailer and turns up the volume. “On The Crucible, I would put on Victoria Williams’ song ‘Psalm’ and Wilco’s ‘Dash 7’ before certain scenes. They had quite an effect on me.” Her musical tastes change with the job – she listens to “whatever suits the mood of the piece” and helps her find her groove, she says. And if the tunes wear thin, alas, there’s no magic spell to make those 18-hour days anything less than grueling; as soon as the director yells cut for the last time, “then,” she jokes, “I have some sort of nervous breakdown.”

Creative crutches: Constructive dialogue with the director “and the support of my family.”

What’s next: Taking on her first action role, as a member of a gang of smugglers in the fourth Alien installment, Alien Resurrection, with Sigourney Weaver, due this fall.

Script developed by Never Enough Design