Hollywood icon. Brilliant outcast. Reluctant rebel.
Article by journalist, Steve Belgard:
Hopper: In His Own Words, a new feature-length documentary about Dennis Hopper, one of Hollywood's most iconic actors, features no talking heads or pundits, but only the legendary “wild man” talking candidly about his long, yet erratic film career.
The documentary has a legendary pedigree as well, as it was written and directed by Emmy nominee Cass Warner Sperling, granddaughter of Harry M. Warner, President and one of the founders of Warner Bros. Studio.
It was with Warner Bros. that the 18 year-old Hopper signed his first contract and immediately went to work with James Dean on Rebel Without a Cause and then Giant. He was blackballed in Hollywood, after his infamous run-in with the gruff and cranky director Henry Hathaway, leading to a decade-long hiatus from mainstream films.
A restless maverick and sometimes self-destructive genius, he became revered and reviled for his perfectionism. But few people understood the man behind the madman who brought an almost psychotic intensity to roles in Easy Rider, Apocalypse Now, Blue Velvet and dozens of other masterpieces. Says Warner Sperling, “We combined my very personal, candid conversation with archival footage and photos, and crafted a revealing portrait of the actor, director, writer and artist who defined a generation and created one of the film industry's most enduring and revolutionary legacies.”
The Academy Award®-nominated actor passed away on May 29th, 2010, but shortly before discovering he was terminally ill, gave this in depth interview detailing his nearly six-decade career.
He received a long deserved star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame two months before he passed, and there was a posthumous retrospective of his artistic work at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.
“Dennis had nine lives,” said Warner Sperling. “The amazing thing about him was, although he was down and out and near death in the '70s, he was able to confront his demons and rise like a phoenix to become one of Hollywood's most admired renaissance men. And although he had years of drug and alcohol abuse, his mind and memory in his later years were clearer than most teenagers. He was truly a remarkable man, and this documentary displays his most intimate insights and recollections of his career as a Hollywood outsider. It’s an honor to contribute to his legacy this way.”
Dennis Hopper bridged the gap between old and new Hollywood, working with actors such as James Dean, Marlon Brando, Sean Penn, Viggo Mortensen and directors like George Stevens, Nicholas Ray, David Lynch, Francis Coppola, Tony Scott and Julian Schnabel. His first directing effort Easy Rider forever changed the history and direction of independent film.