Winona Ryder: everyone thinks I was jealous of Angelina Jolie, but I wasn’t

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Winona Ryder finds herself in a strange position in Hollywood. Once one of the most in-demand actresses, the 38-year-old finds herself taking what amounts to odd jobs in independent films and the occasional studio picture. She’s not a lead actress anymore, but I’m not sure she even wants to be. My full disclosure is that I once loved Winona with a passion. At one point in my teenage years, Winona was my favorite actress, the woman whose pixie-like beauty and killer body I wished was mine. I grew out of it – but I still have problems seeing Winona as the screwed up person she most likely was and is.

To promote her supporting role in The Private Lives of Pippa Lee (also starring Robin Wright Penn, Alan Arkin and Blake Lively), Winona sat down for a cover interview with Blackbook Magazine (full interview here). I don’t think the cover shot or the rest of the photo shoot are anything spectacular, honestly. Her shag haircut is cute, but she looks a little like a deflated Robert Smith (from The Cure) in some of these pictures. Here are some excerpts from the interview:

Winona on whether she‘s an icon: “What makes someone an icon? Is Nelson Mandela an icon? Is Václav Havel an icon? Is the alien from Alien: Resurrection an icon? I don’t know what the requirements are… I would never consider myself anything like that.”

Winona on rarely giving interviews: “It’s weird, the whole concept of an interview. To hold someone accountable for what they’ve said or done when they were younger is bizarre. We evolve, we change—at least I hope we do.”

Winona on her rare forays to public events: “I hosted a benefit for this theater company one night with Courtney Love. We got photographed on the way in. It was kind of a nightmare.”

Winona‘s TMI on her Aunt Flo: “I’ve just been told that news will break next week that I’m pregnant,” she says laughing, “which is impossible.” And just to make sure she has been understood, Ryder adds, “Because, you know, I’m on my… ” Her left hand circles the air just south of her phantom baby bump.

On Heath Ledger’s death: When discussing the death of her friend, actor Heath Ledger, she wonders, “What happens to you when you die? Does your energy dissipate? Is there something whole about your soul that keeps going?”

On separating art from the artist: “I was once published under a different name for a short story I’d written,” she says, so shy that it becomes difficult to hear her. “I wanted to know what it felt like to have people enjoy something and not know it had anything to do with me.” But wouldn’t the recognition validate the work? “Well, I can’t listen to Wagner because he hated Jews. I can’t read Émile Zola—I mean, I love Émile Zola, but he had some scandals that were kind of scary—and I worship Woody Allen, but he had his thing, too. I struggle with the age-old question of how to separate the art from the artist.”

On her 4-year relationship with Johnny Depp: “Things changed for me when I met Johnny… This weird thing happens when you’re written about in magazines, where you start to think, This is who I am. This is how I have to be. I felt restricted and pressured into being the way people perceived me. It was hard for me to find my footing. The Johnny thing made me really afraid of the press because, even though it was about him, I was beside him the entire time.”

On getting along with her exes, Johnny and Matt Damon: “Matt Damon couldn’t be a greater, nicer guy. I’m really lucky that I’m on good terms with him. With Johnny, it’s like we’re good, but we lead very different lives. I was out at a bar with a friend who said, ‘Do you realize that in America you’re never going to be able to meet a guy who knows nothing about you? Everyone will have preconceived ideas about who you are.’ I got so bummed out. I’d never really thought about it that way.”

On her 1990 stay at a psychiatric facility: “I remember waking up one morning,” she says of her breaking point. “I looked in the mirror and thought, Am I going crazy? So I checked myself into a hospital where I stayed for a few days. I was surrounded by people who had been molested and abused. I felt like they hated me, didn’t know what the f-ck I was doing there and wanted me to get the hell out because what the f-ck did I have to complain about?” A smile builds across her face when she adds, “When it was my turn to talk in group therapy sessions, I was like, I’m just really tired because it’s hard to be famous.”

On Angelina Jolie winning an Oscar for Girl, Interrupted: “I never had any bad feelings about Angelina. And I was hurt that people thought that. Everyone assumed I was really jealous because I thought this would be my vehicle. We said from the very beginning that the actress who played Lisa would probably win an Oscar, because it was the big, great, showy part. But I always related to Susanna.” In a way, Ryder was responsible for jump-starting Jolie’s career. “I fought very hard for her to have that part, and I never really felt like I got the chance to know her.” Did Jolie ever personally thank her? “I feel like it won’t read in print very nicely if I say that wasn’t really her style,” she says. “But she seems to be a completely different person now.”

Winona on her career prospects: “One of the worst things you can be is mediocre,” she says. “I get offered a lot of studio things—you wouldn’t believe some of the stuff I turn down that then gets packaged with two movie stars. I’m getting a lot of horror movie offers, too, but I just don’t like the ones where you have to cut off your own arm to escape the killer. Or,” and here she imitates the nicotine-soaked baritone that plays over trailers for budget slashers, “What if people did horrific things to your daughter and then they were trapped inside your house?”

[From Blackbook Magazine]

Winona talks quite a bit about The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, but I found that part of the interview rather boring. Winona refuses to talk about her 2001 shoplifting arrest and all of that drama, but she doesn’t do it a nasty way, so I give her credit for being able to keep her junk together and still be relatively classy about the incident. All in all, I found myself liking Winona again… well, maybe I just find her interesting. I love how she has no problems talking about her exes in interviews, when they never talk about her. Oh, Winona… you’re crazy, but I’ll still watch your old movies and love you. Heathers 4 Eva.

Blackbook images via CoverAwards

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40 Responses to “Winona Ryder: everyone thinks I was jealous of Angelina Jolie, but I wasn’t”

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  1. Lantana says:

    Well. Maybe I am crazy too. She doesn’t really come off as all that crazy to me.

  2. TwinkleToes says:

    Why would a cute woman (bad nose job, though) who is feminine with a normal sized head be jealous of Jolie with her huge jack-o-lantern shaped head? Just because she ended up with Pitt? Pitt never goes for beauties. It’s a fact. Depp does (present GF’s bad teeth excluded).

  3. Roni says:

    Sure she wasn’t (smirk).

  4. Firestarter says:

    Some very telling words in the statement: We said from the beginning, whatever girl played Lisa would probably win the Oscar”

  5. Newyorking says:

    She sounds boring. The same poor little famous girl story. Doesn’t sound 38 and seems to carry tons of baggage. But Johnny Depp and Matt Damon as BFs? Wow! Why didn’t she marry both

  6. TwinkleToes says:

    Hollywood says, she has the stinkiest breath.

  7. rose says:

    probably nuts in her youth but i still adore her. gorgeous, smart and very talented

  8. birdie says:

    Does anyone give an interview anymore without discussing their Angelina connection?

  9. voodoobetty says:

    I admit I had a girl crush on her back in the days of Heathers & Beetlejuice but lets face it the girls acting ability is severely limited and hasn’t really matured much since her teens. Her poor acting and appalling attempt at a British accent in Dracula ruined that movie. I think she’s a cute girl and I wouldnt kick her out of bed but I also think she’s a bit of a dingbat and not as bright as she tried to come off. There is a reason she’s not working much, she’s not a good actress!

  10. Guest says:

    is her deodorant still working??

  11. Kevin says:

    She sure doesn’t want to come out and say, “Angie stole my Oscar!” Though I’m sure she would recognize a theft when she saw one. Kaiser +2 for The Cure, Robert Smith reference.

  12. Bodhi says:

    Oh Heathers, Beetlejuice & Edward Sissorhands… le sigh… I loved her in those movies… I love Girl, Interrupted too. Both women were fantastic in it

  13. Stephie says:

    Heathers 4 ever indeed. Still like her, she just hasn’t been out there much.

  14. alex says:

    another person mentioning Angie name in their interview. I guess that is the new thing in HW, talk about AJ in your interview

  15. Nebraska says:

    I am surprised by Winona Ryder’s resemblance to Keira Knightley! And she was excellent in How to make an american quilt.

  16. Iggles says:

    This is an awesome interview! I last saw Winona as Spock’s mom in Star Trek! She was good, but it was a small part. I look forward to seeing her upcoming projects.

    Her quip at the end about stuff she turns down was hilarious! I totally picked up on the movie she was referring to. LOL. She rocks!

  17. snowball says:

    Uh.. she was asked about St. Angie and she answered. You can’t barf on her because she did and chose to answer the question because she wanted to set the record straight about the issue.

    I feel sort of sorry for Winona. That shoplifting thing really hurt her career, IMO. I loved Heathers and actually enjoyed Dracula, but say her name and the first thing that pops up in my head is, “oh yeah, she’s the one that got caught shoplifting.”

  18. TaylorB says:

    Hmmmm, let’s see… Brad Pitt and a bunch of screaming children, or four steamy years with Johnny Depp? Angelina may have the Oscar, but I think Winona has won in that respect. Hell, I would take 10 min with Depp over a year with Pitt.

    Oh, and Heathers was great. As was Edward Scissorhands. I actually really like Winona Ryder.

  19. ! says:

    “To hold someone accountable for what they’ve said or done when they were younger is bizarre.”

    Anyone see any problem with this statement?

    Lord, I’d love to walk into a courtroom to face a crime committed in the past and say “To hold someone accountable for what they’ve said or done when they were younger is bizarre.”

  20. Essie says:

    Didn’t Angelina thank Winona in her Oscar acceptance speech? I seem to remember she did. Or, I guess Winona wanted a PERSONAL thank you. Also, Angelina already had done good work before “Girl Interrupted.” Hadn’t she won a Golden Globe for “Gia” and one for “Wallace”? I’m confused at the statement that Winona “jump started” Angelina’s career. I get the feeling Winona feels a need to act as if she “made” Angelina, which is far from the case.

    Winona is not getting jobs these days because of her shop lifting and nut house past. Maybe, in her next interview, she might think about leaving her famous ex-boyfriends and Angelina Jolie out of the conversation and speak about her shoplifting conviction. That would make more sense to me. The woman is totally ignoring one of the most important events in her life.

  21. KT says:

    I just finished watching the most recent Alien (iV? V?) can’t remember the numeral; anyhoo – she was the WHINEYest android, ever. I think when she’s hooked up with the right role (i.e. Reality Bites, Heathers, etc.) she’s great, because she can play a girl/woman of modern America with little problem…but period pieces (Age of Innocence) or, um, ROBOTS pose a biiiigggg problem.

  22. CLC says:

    Reality Bites & Mermaids!!
    She was great in her time. Perhaps if she did marry one of her famous boyfriends who are hugely successful now she would get offered more roles and have continued being in the spotlight.

  23. HashBrowns says:

    I wouldn’t want to talk about shoplifting either-who wants to talk about that? She did it, was punished and has moved on, there is nothing to talk about.

    I had no idea who Angelina Jolie was before Girl, Interrupted. And even after that I thought she was just some crazy actress who was playing herself and promptly forgot about her.

    Plenty of people had zero clue who she was before this movie. The Golden Globes frequently give awards to relative nobodies who have breakout performances. I think she started getting attention after Gia but her huge break was Girl, Interrupted.

    Beside that, I don’t think Winona is being a jerk about it. The interviewer asked her if Angelina ever personally thanked her and apparently she didn’t. End of story.

  24. Leni says:

    Hashbrown you said it.!

  25. hmm says:

    If the interviewer really wanted to ask about drama why didn’t s/he ask about the rift with Paltrow and Shakespeare in Love? Oh, I forgot the AJ reference will increase interest.

  26. original kate says:

    i agree with hashbrowns- the woman committed a crime, went to trial and was punished. she stole stuff, which is bad, but come on – it’s not like she drowned a bunch of dogs or molested a child. she is a good actress and i hope she makes a comeback.

  27. Bambam says:

    Winona hasn’t been relevant since Girl interrupted (unless you count her shoplifting days). Sad to see someone with so much promise during the 80′s turn into something average.

  28. V says:

    She is so gorgeous. Still. Way better looking than 90% of the spray tanned, botoxed, actress clones around at the moment.

  29. gg says:

    She has beautiful eyes. Her acting needs a bit of life sometimes though.

  30. Rosanna says:

    WR makes a lot more sense now than she *ever* did before. I’m glad she’s in a better place with her life and stuff now. It really shows.

  31. lolo says:

    I like her, but she’s limited as an actress. Most of her roles (or the best ones, anyways) came as playing girls. She is too elfin and petite. And, valley girl voice . . . argh! As for Aj, it sort of confirms she does have feelings about it (I made her). She should have done fake nice (I was happy to see her win and end it at that). Still like you, Winona!

  32. WTF?!? says:

    AJ has said in many interviews that she deliberately did not get close to any of her G, I co-stars because she didn’t want to like any of them and make it hard for her to be mean to them in character.

  33. Ben says:

    I’ve always had a thing for winona ryder. Cant’ say I know much about her personal life though other than some peripheral awareness she stole some clothes or something.

  34. audrey says:

    i still love her. An off- beat beauty and I think she is someone who struggles with demons a bit, but oddly that only makes me like her more.

  35. lin234 says:

    Sigh… Remember the “good ol’ days” when celebrities were held accountable for their actions and there were very real consequences?? What happened? When did notoriety become the standard?

  36. LEigh says:

    She didn’t say she jumpstarted AJ’s career, the interviewer inserted that in there and then continued with questioning.

  37. WTF?!? says:

    “Remember the “good ol’ days” when celebrities were held accountable for their actions and there were very real consequences?? ”

    No, lin234, I don’t remember that. When was that?

  38. Granger says:

    Winona has always been horribly overrated, IMO. She was cute when young — she played the semi-bizarre misfit well — but she doesn’t seem to have aged mentally or intellectually past the age of about 23. Those photos of her just add to the image she and Hollywood can’t let go of, that she`s this petite, fragile young starlet. She`s 38, for pete`s sake!

    The only role I`ve ever been able to stomach her in was Age of Innocence. She had to play someone who appeared vulnerable and innocent on the outside, but who had this manipulative, controlling nature just bubbling under the surface… which is exactly how I think of Winona.

  39. pumak says:

    she’s gorgeous!!! best favorite after jen aniston :P

  40. coucou says:

    I like this chick, i mean, she’s nuts, but she’s not hateful. She deserves a comeback. Why the hell can men like Mickey Rourke get the big ol’ Hollywood Revival Resurrection, but not chicas like her, or say, Sean Young? Bring these batty babes back!