Dennis Hopper: So Wild, So Long
I wanted to hear Tenn's impressions of various people, so many of our conversations consisted of names being mentioned, after which he would create what he called a "rapid-style portrait" of the subject.
Here are his thoughts on Dennis Hopper.
He was marvelously acquisitive: He wanted to collect and study and admire and watch--in a voyeuristic way--things and people. He was very much a Midwest man--laconic, tough--but he could then display a remarkable sentimentalism, which would include, as it did with me, a lengthy and fascinating tour of the Hollywood hills, with all of its stories and its legends and its scandals, followed by a lovely dinner and a blissful night in a bed surrounded by art and exotic scents. I hasten to add that I spent the night in bed alone, but not before Dennis talked to me until I fell asleep. He wanted, I think, both my comfort, and for every last detail to be shared.
He was a product of childhood art classes, which expanded his imagination and his ambition before he had any suitable outlets for the talent that emerged. I think this is why he was so wild for so long: There was simply no place for his work to be as good as it was meant to be. He lived in the world of James Dean and Nick Adams--tragic, sexually jumbled young men--and he paid homage to the oddest mentors Hollywood had at one time: Samson De Brier and Kenneth Anger, two vaguely Satanic, shamanistic homosexuals who took meager talents and voracious and acquisitive addictions to a height that was almost artistic. From De Brier, at least, Dennis learned how movies were made and why. He learned about legends. I think he would like to be a legend. He's working on it.
Dennis, like me, turned to painting. One needs to create, to expand, to share. He also took to photography, and he captured, in a way, a lot of what it was like to be in his presence. Moody and smart and cynical until he breaks into a fulsome sweetness. He needs danger and, God love him, he seems to find it. I hear he's back: He's working with good directors again.
I'm terribly fond of him. I would like to see him do well.
|Ike and Tina Turner|
|Jane Fonda and Roger Vadim|
|David McCallum and Tuesday Weld|
|Sandy Dennis and George Segal, on the Warner Bros. backlot.|
|Hollywood Double Standard|