Lessons learned with Dennis Hopper (updated)

Posting about something aside from the passing of Dennis Hopper doesn’t really seem right today. Here’s an excerpt from Mr. Hopper’s “Inside the Actor’s Studio” appearance in which he discusses learning from James Dean and Lee Strasberg. Hopper also discusses, humorously, a different kind of learning with the prolific director Henry Hathaway.

Re: James Lipton’s dad, who he claims “invented” Venice, California — actually an unincorporated section of Los Angeles. Lawrence Liption was an Interesting guy, but this Venice High alum thinks Abbott Kinney probably deserves more credit for the actual neighborhood. However, I guess the elder Lipton deserves some credit for transforming it, to some degree, from the “Coney Island of the West” to the Berkeley of Southern California, which it still kinda sorta is.

UPDATE: Getting back to Hopper, as usual, there’s tons — and I mean tons more — about the late actor and his directing career, which I fear I’ve given short shrift to, via David Hudson at MUBI.

  

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A Chat with Lance Henriksen

In the midst of our discussion with Lance Henriksen, I unabashedly called him out for having carved himself a career as a “that guy” in Hollywood. You know what I mean. He was part of the supporting cast of the original “Terminator” flick, he played Bishop in two “Alien” movies (and even turned up in one of the “Aliens vs. Predator” films), and he played Frank Black…not the one who fronts the Pixies but, rather, the lead character in “Millennium.” And, yet, when I told people I was talking to Lance Henriksen, only a handful knew who I was talking about before I started numbering off the items on his resume…and as soon as I did, they immediately said, “Oh, right: that guy!” On a related note, if you’re a fan of “Screamers,” then you might already be aware that there’s a sequel to the flick – “Screamers: The Hunting” – that’s on video store shelves at this very moment, so when you see Mr. Henriksen’s name on the cover, try to remember this discussion, so you don’t have to wait until he appears on screen to say…well, you know.

Bullz-Eye was fortunate enough to score the opportunity to talk to Henriksen on the occasion of “Screamers: The Hunting” hitting video, and in addition to asking about his experiences on the film, we also did the requisite quizzing about his latest projects (did you catch him on “NCIS”?), his work on “Millennium” and the chances of seeing any new adventures of Frank Black, what it’s like to be under the direction of James Cameron, and how he came to appear in – of all things – a Brazilian soap opera.

Sit back and stay tuned for…

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A Couple of Questions with…James Lipton

Yes, that’s right: the host of “Inside the Actor’s Studio.” The series is continuing onward, with Kyra Sedgwick as its latest guest, and we had the opportunity to pose a few questions to Mr. Lipton – who, if you can believe it, is eighty years old! – about a few items on his resume, as well as one we’ve always wondered about the students in the audience of the Actor’s Studio…

Bullz-Eye: Hi, Mr. Lipton.

James Lipton: Hi.

BE: Could you speak a little bit about your experiences working on “Arrested Development”?

JL: I loved it. Why wouldn’t I? Those people are extraordinary, beginning with Brian Grazer and Ron Howard at the top, and those actors are amazing. It was a wonderful show; I wish it were still on the air. It came as a surprise. They called me, and they pleaded with me to be on the show – don’t ask me why – and I couldn’t. I said, “Look, I…” At this point, I was still the dean of the (Actors Studio Drama School). I said, “I’m a dean, which is a full-time job, I’m executive producer, writer, and host of ‘Inside the Actor’s Studio,’ which is a full-time job…I can’t expand my week! I work 14 hours a day, 7 days a week, without exception, from the beginning of September ‘til the middle of June. I take two days off – Thanksgiving and Christmas – and that’s it. And I can’t come.” Finally, they got in touch with me, and they said, “Look: if you will come, we will do all your scenes in one day. Everybody else will lay off, and only the people involved in your scenes will come in and do your stuff with you, and we’ll get it all done in one day. We’ll fly you out, do it one day, and fly you back.” I agreed to do that. And then about a week before I was to arrive, they said, “Hey, we’ve written a second script for you…but we’ll do it all in the one day.” And then the night before I was to get on the plane, I got an E-mail which contained a third script, and they said, “But we’ll do it all in one day!” I did them all in one day! I did three shows in one day. And subsequently, of course, several months later, I did the final show. I came back for one show. And it was a great experience.

BE: I know that David Cross’s impression of you was not quite as good-natured as Will Ferrell’s…

JL: His was much less good-natured. I’d never seen it – I was only told – but do you want to hear a story about that?

BE: Sure!

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