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Tuesday, 19 March, 2002, 11:58 GMT
Hopper reveals his regrets
The BBC's Sarah Montague met Dennis Hopper
The BBC's Sarah Montague met Dennis Hopper
Double-Oscar nominee Dennis Hopper was famed throughout his early career as one of Hollywood's wild men. The director and co-star of the award-winning Easy Rider has told the BBC's HARDtalk programme about the major regrets of his career.

Dennis Hopper claimed he should have been a more powerful figure in Hollywood than he is today.

"I haven't done nearly as many things as I have wanted to do," he told Sarah Montague.

I haven't made the great movie that I wanted to make.

Dennis Hopper
"I am not in any power position that I think I probably should have been.

"I haven't made the great movie that I wanted to make. None of these things have happened."

Hopper, 65, won critical acclaim as director and co-star of the popular film, Easy Rider in 1969 about two hippies motorbiking across the United States. His acting credits include Rebel Without a Cause, Apocalypse Now, and Blue Velvet.


Hopper, who was one of Hollywood's most notorious bad boys in the 1960s, also spoke about his battle against drink and drugs.

Dennis Hopper
Hopper has filmed 20 projects since the year 2000
"I was drinking half a gallon of rum, 28 beers a day and three grams of cocaine just to keep moving around," he said.

Although he admitted that he eventually became a "slave" to his addiction, he also argued that it had originally benefited his work.

"In the beginning alcohol is a great thing for actors because it takes away inhibition. Inhibition is the biggest problem of being an actor," he said.

"Cocaine gives you a lot of ideas real quick and gets you up and gets you moving around. They might not all be great ideas, but they're ideas."


However Hopper would not agree that the severity of his drink and drug addiction had anything to do with the failure of his picture, The Last Movie, in 1971.

"I could have been off my face, but you know something, there was only one thing that was of interest to me and that was the work," he said.

"It wasn't the sex, it wasn't the drugs it wasn't the drinking, it was making the movie.

"I was obsessed."


Hopper, who has been married five times, also went on to comment on his history of domestic violence.

He admitted he had been violent to three of his wives and broke the nose of his first wife.

James Dean
Hopper described James Dean as "childlike"
He also spoke out about his close relationship with James Dean which he built up on the set of the movies, Rebel Without a Cause and Giant.

"I never thought of him as anything but a young, childlike person," he said.

According to Hopper, Dean was continually concerned with how old he looked and was angry at his mother for dying when he was a young man.

"He used to go to her grave and pound on her grave," he said.


Hopper has received two Oscar nominations throughout his career, for his roles in Hoosiers (1986) and Easy Rider, but said the ceremony due to take place on 24 March has just become a routine event for him.

"I went under contract with Warner Brothers when I was 18 years old, I'm 65 years old now. It's an occasion that happens every year," he said.

You can hear HARDtalk in full at the following times:

BBC News 24 (times shown in GMT)
0430, repeated 2230

BBC World (times shown in GMT)
0430, repeated 1130, 1630, 1930, 0030

Dennis Hopper
"I haven't done nearly as many things as I have wanted to do."
See also:

05 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Dennis hops on his bike again
02 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Hopper avoids drug conviction
20 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Hopper art show opens
12 Mar 02 | Oscars 2002
Oscars 2002: You ask the stars
11 Mar 02 | Film
Oscars: All to play for
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