Before Dennis Hopper, who died Saturday of prostate cancer, became a rebel filmmaker or a generational symbol or a legendary debauchee or a Hollywood aesthete and Renaissance man (or a George W. Bush Republican and then an Obama voter), he was an actor. I'm inclined to believe that all the roles Hopper played across 74 years of life and more than 50 years of moviemaking were aspects of his acting career, of his passionate interest in the mysterious fusion of being, imagining and pretending that allows you to be yourself and someone else at the same time.There's more good stuff in the article...
Hopper appeared in a handful of memorable films -- "Apocalypse Now," "The American Friend" and "Blue Velvet," along with his own "Easy Rider" -- and a seemingly infinite litany of forgettable ones. Even when he performed in children's TV or straight-to-video Eurothrillers or the 1993 film version of "Super Mario Bros.," you always had the feeling that Hopper was performing a kind of existential high-wire act, perhaps more for himself than the audience: How much of his own soulful madness would he let out? How much of the inanity and mediocrity around him would he absorb?
Wednesday, June 02, 2010
Salon has a pretty good take on him (slightly old):