by Tom Folsom
The kid gone wrong in “Rebel Without a Cause.” The hippie outlaw in “Easy Rider.” The crazed photojournalist in “Apocalypse Now.” The drunken dad in “Hoosiers.” The twisted psychopath in “Blue Velvet.” The actor once taken under the wing of none other than John Wayne. A quintessentially American dreamer who wanted to be the next Orson Welles. All of these characters stack up to show but one side of Dennis Hopper.
The life of Dennis Hopper is one of the great American stories, populated by icons not just from Hollywood, but from the spheres of politics, art, and music . Known as a revolutionary, a gifted performer, an addict plagued by demons, and as a cultural tastemaker, his is a uniquely American life, a cinematic story that starts during the Great Depression in Kansas and follows the path of 60s rebellion and 70s hedonism to 80s greed and beyond. Always a man of extremes, always a man of the highest of highs and the lowest of the lows, Dennis Hopper was more than anything a man who played the game of life by his own rules.
Hopper is a rip-roaring road trip through Dennis’s many lives, packed with hundreds of interviews with his fellows actors, wives, artists, musicians, residents of Taos, New Mexico (where Hopper spent much of his most drug addicted time) telling the greater story of a half-century of rebellion waged at the edge of American culture.