Sunday, May 30, 2010

RIP, Easy Shakespeare Rider

Sad days lately, with the death first of Gary Coleman and now Dennis Hopper.  I had no idea that Hopper was originally trained in Shakespeare, did you?

The Hollywood Reporter: You trained in Shakespeare, and then went to work with James Dean in 1955's "Rebel Without a Cause."
Dennis Hopper: I thought I was the best young actor around, you know? That came out of Shakespeare. (But) I had never seen anyone improvise before Dean and I asked him if he would help me. So he advised me on various things, and it was difficult in the beginning. Then I went and studied with Lee Strasberg for five years, to solidify.



In Francis Coppola’s monster he played the Puck-like maniac with the cameras, at the end of the river.

As Kurtz's disciple and p.r. front-man in Francis Coppola's "Apocalypse Now."

Who knows? Maybe he modeled the character on Shakespeare’s Puck. When he was a classically trained upstart Hopper took a meeting in 1955 with Columbia Pictures’ Harry Cohn, who suggested that an aide take Hopper away for six months in order to “take all the Shakespeare out of him.” Hopper told Cohn to scram.


I can’t find any references to specific works he was in, though.  Anybody got more history on the man?

1 comment:

JM said...

What a shame he was convinced to spend so much time learning how to play no one but himself. He might have been really good at someone else. James Dean didn't know anything else; neither did most who drank the Strasberg koolaid. All Hail Hollywood. It's debatable whether it has ruined more good actors or made more "personalities" "actors".