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Dennis Hopper


Nick Dawson

Publication Year: 2012

The legendary Dennis Hopper (1936-2010) had many identities. He first broke into Hollywood as a fresh-faced young actor in the 1950s, redefined himself as a rebel director with Easy Rider in the late 1960s, and became a bad boy outcast for much of the 1970s. He returned in the 1980s with standout performances in films like Blue Velvet and Hoosiers, was one of the great blockbuster baddies of the 1990s, and ended his career as a ubiquitous actor in genre movies.

Hopper, however, was much more than just an actor and director: he was also a photographer, a painter, and an art collector--not to mention a longtime hedonist who kicked his addiction to drugs and alcohol and became a poster boy for sobriety.

Dennis Hopper: Interviews covers every decade of his career, featuring conversations from 1957 through to 2009, and not only captures him at the significant points of his tumultuous time in Hollywood but also focuses on the lesser-known aspects of the man. In this fascinating and highly entertaining volume--the first ever collection of Hopper's interviews--he talks in depth about film, photography, art, and his battles with substance abuse and, in one instance, even takes the role of interviewer as he talks with Quentin Tarantino.

Published by: University Press of Mississippi

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. ix-xv

I met Dennis Hopper in June 2009, just under a year before his death. It was in Las Vegas, at the CineVegas Film Festival where Hopper was chair of the Creative Advisory Board. I was there to do a Q&A with Jon Voight following a screening of the director’s cut of Lookin’ to Get Out, a Vegas-set gambling comedy starring and...


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pp. xvii-xxi


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pp. xxiii-xliv

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No Margin for Error: Photoplay / 1957

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pp. 3-4

“In this business,” Dennis Hopper says seriously, “there’s no margin for error. You have to grow up all of a sudden.” Even at the rate Dennis has moved, he has. Only twenty, the blond newcomer is being cheered for his work as Rock Hudson’s son in Giant. Yet Dennis once seemed a kid with his head in the clouds. He was the...

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Rebel from Dodge City: Jane Wilkie / 1957

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pp. 5-9

Fifteen years ago this summer, the body of a famous movie cowboy was transported from California to the East, and as the train sped across the shimmering Kansas plains, the actor received a final, unknown tribute from a very small boy. Standing in his grandfather’s wheat field, no taller than the young grain itself, the...

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Spotlight! The Hollywood Scene: Seventeen / 1969

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pp. 10-11

“I’ve always wanted to be a director,” Dennis Hopper declares, “ever since I walked onto a set when I was eighteen and realized that an actor couldn’t fulfill himself on film, that the director had complete creative control. But until Easy Rider, I didn’t have the chance.” Dennis was wearing a double-breasted striped suit...

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Easy Rider: A Very American Thing: L. M. Kit Carson / 1969

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pp. 12-22

Dennis Hopper, coauthor, director, and costar of the Columbia film Easy Rider, was interviewed by L. M. Kit Carson immediately after the first press screening in New York City last summer. The following is an edited transcript of that conversation...

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Dennis Hopper Makes The Last Movie in Peru: Edwin Miller / 1970

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pp. 23-31

Dennis Hopper stands in a cobblestone alley in Cuzco, ancient sunbleached capital of the Inca, over eleven thousand feet high in the Peruvian Andes. Wearing a cowboy’s Stetson over shaggy brown hair, a crumpled chambray work shirt with a bandanna, blue jeans, and scuffed boots, he looks as if he has just stepped...

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Dennis Hopper Saves the Movies: Tom Burke / 1970

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pp. 32-49

The room in the hotel in the Andes is small and green; air hangs in it dense as moss, because Dennis Hopper prefers to keep his drapes drawn, especially at night. He has been living in the room for almost two months, while directing himself in the starring role of a movie that he conceived and wrote (with a scenarist...

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Dennis Hopper: Triple Threat Talent: Movies Now / 1971

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pp. 50-53

Dennis Hopper was at work. He had on his working clothes: Levis, a Levi top, blue checkered shirt, a string of beads around his neck, and shoulder-strap leather bag. He was in charge. “Can we get a shot on that last cut.” The frantic button pushing went on behind us...

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Dennis Hopper: Jerry Bauer / 1972

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pp. 54-58

Dennis Hopper’s clear blue eyes seemed to reflect the anxieties and uncertainties of today, as he sat talking over lunch at the Hotel Excelsior on the Venice Lido in Italy. Dennis and a band of actors had arrived the day before to present The Last Movie, his complex non-movie allegory, at the Venice Film Festival...

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Gallery Interview: Dennis Hopper: Lawrence Linderman / 1972

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pp. 59-90

In the last decade, perhaps no American director has had such a significant effect on U.S. filmmaking as Hollywood’s most gifted enfant terrible, Dennis Hopper. In Easy Rider, his anthem of the Aquarian Age, Hopper captured the imagination of a generation—while also demonstrating that low-budget films could result in...

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Dennis Hopper: Easy Rider on a Bum Trip: Arthur Bell / 1974

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pp. 91-99

Dennis Hopper is dreaming in the Rose Room of the Algonquin Hotel where Robert Benchley, Dorothy Parker, and Alexander Woollcott hunted dinosaurs forty-five years ago. Dennis is in his cups. He’s had his third drink and the New York Times has just torn his latest movie Kid Blue to shreds. “Dennis Hopper is getting...

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Rebel Without a Pause: Mark Goodman / 1978

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pp. 100-111

When Dennis Hopper first moved to Taos in 1970, it was something less than the social utopia that D. H. Lawrence and Mabel Dodge had envisioned when they arrived in these New Mexican highlands in the 1920s. No fewer than thirty hippie communes had blossomed here on the highest plateau west of Tibet, but their...

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An Interview with Dennis Hopper: Is the Country Catching Up to Him?: Lewis Archibald / 1983

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pp. 112-115

It’s hard to think of Dennis Hopper, the anti-Establishment kid, the hippie extraordinaire, the creator of Easy Rider and The Last Movie, as having a twenty-year-old daughter. Or staying in any place as frostily dignified as The Essex House (where the interview was held). Or being that most un-hip of things, a...

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Head of Hopper: Robert Morales / 1983

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pp. 116-120

Made in 1980, Out of the Blue is a ninety-minute feature chock full of sex, violence, drug abuse, death, and emotional outbursts—or at least enough to keep one’s attention, if the surprising plot twists and stylish examination of about a dozen cultural conflicts fall short. It is the third film to be directed by Dennis Hopper, who...

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Citizen Hopper: Chris Hodenfield / 1986

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pp. 121-134

After an exhibition of Hopper’s movies and photographs at Rice University in Houston, culture lovers expected to see Hopper make an appearance. But those filing into the auditorium found instead a barrage of images being flashed on the screen, and sound booming from the seats and walls. A closed-circuit hookup...

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True Colors: Bill Kelley / 1988

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pp. 135-140

After The Last Movie in 1971, Dennis Hopper couldn’t get hired in Hollywood to direct traffic. According to Hopper, Universal viewed the film— with its nonlinear narrative and flirtation with abstract expressionism— as “an attack on Hollywood.” (His only other directorial job since was the 1982 Canadian production...

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Showing His True Colors: Rod Lurie / 1988

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pp. 141-143

“I was on the cover of Life magazine in 1970, holding a football, a flower, and wearing a suit and tie and cowboy hat,” he was explaining in a New York hotel room recently. “The first paragraph of the article said, ‘Trouble follows Dennis Hopper like a pet anaconda. His friends in Hollywood say that Hopper has drank...

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Larry Flynt at Home: Dennis Hopper/Terry Southern: Jean Stein / 1990

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pp. 144-152

I ended up in Studio 12, where they took me to recover from the alcohol and drugs and so on. I got an offer from Larry Flynt to do the first celebrity shoot for Hustler. I was so out of it, I thought it was some sort of code. It sounded really interesting to me. So Flynt moved me into his house and I became like his...

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Blood Lust Snicker Snicker in Wide Screen: Dennis Hopper / 1994

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pp. 153-161

Quentin Tarantino: Yeah, uh huh. Well, it’s funny. Actually I started out as an actor. I studied acting for six years—for three years with the actor James Best, then for three years with Alan Garfield. That’s been my only formal training. I never went to film school or anything like that. And then—I was right at the...

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Dennis Hopper on His Best Behavior: Iconoclastic Actor Is a Far Cry from Menacing Roles: Jay Boyar / 1994

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pp. 162-165

The Dennis Hopper who flew into town this month, took his three-and- a-half-year-old son to Walt Disney World, and pecked at questions from the sold-out tribute audience at Enzian Theater was a man on his best behavior. An iconoclast still, but an almost disappointingly genial one...

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Dennis Hopper: David Dodd / 1995

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pp. 166-170

I had built in such a strong endorsement for drinking and using drugs because, after all, I was an artist and it was okay for artists to do that. All my heroes as painters, poets, or actors were all alcoholics or drug addicts. So to me it was my right, my God-given right, to take and use drugs. It became my task. I had to do it or I would never...

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Dennis Hopper with Tony Shafrazi: Tony Shafrazi / 1999

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pp. 171-181

Most people know Dennis Hopper for the indelible characters he’s invented over more than forty years. His career spans from classics like Rebel Without a Cause in the mid-fifties and Easy Rider in the sixties, Apocalypse Now in the late seventies, cult hits Blue Velvet and River’s Edge in the eighties, to the nineties mega-blockbuster...

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American Psycho: Lynn Barber / 2001

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pp. 182-189

A maid lets me in through the steel door, into a sort of auditorium with a large broken sculpture on a stage. It is a Dennis Hopper work called Bomb Drop currently awaiting repair. The seats of the auditorium are all piled high with framed photographs, again by Dennis Hopper, and there is a hologram of a sinister man in...

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Dennis Hopper: Interview / 2004

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pp. 190-192

A: You can look at that question two different ways: What was the breakthrough for me, or what was the breakthrough for the world? The breakthrough for me was probably the first time I was on stage at the Old Globe Theater in San Diego when I was thirteen. I played the urchin in Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. And then...

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Dennis Hopper Is Riding Easy: Alex Simon / 2008

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pp. 193-209

The Hollywood landscape is littered with tragedies, broken promise, and self-destruction. Many promising artists stumble once and never recover from that initial fall. In the history of American film, there has never been a phoenix-like story of survival and rebirth quite like that of Dennis Hopper, who has gone from...

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pp. 210-211


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pp. 213-222

E-ISBN-13: 9781621030485
E-ISBN-10: 1617036560
Print-ISBN-13: 9781617036569

Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2012