Winona Ryder

Posted December 1, 1997

The most respected young actress in Hollywood is also the most unpredictable. Witness her turns as a monster masher onscreen in Alien Resurrection and as a prancing spice girl in real life. In the past year, Winona Ryder has given two eulogies. “I’ve dealt with loss for the first time,” she says, “and it’s so… strange.” One morning, sitting over breakfast in her San Francisco house, Ryder mentions the first. It was for Timothy Leary.  Three months after I was born, my dad, who was Tim’s archivist, went to see him in Switzerland, where Tim was living in exile after […]

Brad Pitt| Rebel Star Top Dog

Posted April 1, 1997

Getting to Brad Pitt is a pain in the ass. First of all, he is in the Canadian wilderness, where he is filming Seven Years in Tibet. So you take a six-hour flight from New York to Vancouver. Then there is another flight up to the mountains on the terrifyingly named Wilderness Air. After you land on a tiny airstrip, you must wait for a van to pick you up, so you wander down a long road, over to a diner situated in the middle of a piney field. As a waitress slaps a burger on the table, she remarks, […]

The Mystery of Christian Bale

The Mystery of Christian Bale

Posted March 24, 1997

Bale’s Hollywood saga is unique, a subtly managed trek up astonishingly steep acting challenges and neatly over the barbed hurdle of puberty, all transpiring more or less outside the eye of publicity and gossip. Bale has survived with his sanity, privacy and gift intact. He stands poised on the verge of one of the most promising adult careers of his generation. “I’ve never worked more than once a year,” Bale tells me in Paris, where I meet up with him. “In between I’ve had nothing written about me whatsoever. It was definitely a strategy. I like not being in magazines, […]

Johnny Be Good

Posted February 24, 1997

For all his offbeat roles Johnny Depp has the elegance of the silent-screen star and a decidedly European cut. Kevin Sessums finds the nomadic founder of Hollywood-style grunge making his directorial debut, The Brave, and settling into a $3 million 1930s mansion. Johnny Depp sits in the middle of the Mojave. His shoulder-length hair has been dyed a shade or so blacker than the Hills that pass for mountains over in South Dakota. Movie makeup darkens his skin. Those hood­ed, haunted eyes of his concen­trate on the screen of a tiny monitor. Physically spent after many weeks of directing The […]

Jeremy and Jason London

Jeremy and Jason London

Posted February 1, 1997

Much has been made of the seemingly interchangeability of Jeremy and Jason London, the drop-dead-handsome, 24-year-old identical twins who have Hollywood calling. When Jason had to pull out of NBC’s acclaimed yet short-lived series I’ll Fly Away, Jeremy was hired to take his place. When PBS decided to film a finale to the canceled show, Jeremy was unavailable, so the producers called on Jason. Nonetheless, one is struck more by the twins’ dissimilarities. Jason, known for his roles in Dazed and Confused and Safe Passage, is rail thin and brooding, retaining more of his native Oklahoma twang than his brother. […]

Jared Leto

Posted January 1, 1997

By THE TIME JARED Leto calls, he’s already an hour and a half late. He apologizes, saying that he copied down the address incorrectly. He is one block away on a pay phone; he can see the meeting spot from where he stands. He says he’ll be there immediately. Half an hour later, Leto finally strolls through the door. You assume he’s a flake. It has been two years since Leto’s television series, My So-Called Life, died its premature death, and during that period he has bided his time, hoping to find the right projects to help melt the Jordan […]

Chris O’Donnell| Whatever Blows Your Hair Back

Chris O’Donnell| Whatever Blows Your Hair Back

Posted March 1, 1996

Chris O’Donnell breezes into the Four Seasons Hotel in L.A. looking more like someone’s driver than a guest. He’s been staying at a friend’s house and has come to the hotel for this interview, a neutral place where the writer can’t observe anything too personal about him, and he can make his exit without leaving much of a trace. He’s only 25, but he is guarded, and he prefers to maintain as much privacy as possible while still being a recognizable celebrity. LAWRENCE GROBEL: Do you find that what you say follows you around?Oh yeah, especially in foreign countries because […]

Johnny Depp| Fame is a Four-Letter Word

Posted December 24, 1995

Johnny Depp slips me $20 when we shake hands. “Do that again.” “It’s preparation, it’s all preparation,” he explains, and we shake hands again, more of a brush of fingers, really, the sort of discreet, low-key maneuver. A $20 bill appears in my palm. Depp looks around the room with a wry, satisfied smile, as though he’s just pulled off a magic trick. “I’m a compulsive big tipper,” he says. “But it’s embarrassing if you just hand the money over. You give it to them in a handshake. If they put it in their pocket right away, they feel confident […]

River Phoenix| Strange Days

River Phoenix| Strange Days

Posted October 24, 1995

Two years after River Phoenix’s death, a new view of his troubled life emerges He seemed to stand in the shadow of pain, and sensing this from the very start of his career, directors threw him the heavy stuff. In a 1984 after-school TV special called Backwards: The Riddle of Dyslexia, 13-year-old River Phoenix played a child crushed by his secret reading impairment. The drama is slight, but River¹s portrayal is subtle, uncompromisingly real. In the following year, he made Surviving, a compelling movie-of-the-week about teenage suicide. River’s character reacts to his older brother’s death by trying to take his […]

Brad Pitt| True Confessions

Brad Pitt| True Confessions

Posted October 1, 1995

Brad Pitt is sitting due west of the back entrance of Musso & Frank’s restaurant in what we’ll charitably refer as an open-air smoker’s lounge—some dusty green plastic lawn chairs flanked by a couple of stringy potted plants. He drags on a Camel, occasionally flicking the ashes into a butt-filled canister, and takes in the landscape before him: a few dozen empty cars, three sweating valets and several crumbling Hollywood apartments. “Ahhhhh. This is nice,” Pitt says with a sigh. The 31-year-old rubs his bristly goatee, which he’s been cultivating for next week’s pickup shots of Seven. From the onset […]