|There was a point when there was so much attention, and you get surrounded with people who sort of make you feel like you have to do everything or else it’s all going to go away.
– Winona Ryder
MOOALLEM: What did it feel like for you at that time? You were getting a lot of attention, obviously, for being in movies, but also for your personal life.
RYDER: I think when all that was happening, I did sort of get trapped into working too much. And then I sort of had . . . It wasn’t like a breakdown, but I was just exhausted, and I had to just stop and take care of myself. And then I kind of segued into only wanting to do one movie a year, and I was so lucky that I was able to do that. Even though I never really had to pound the pavement as an actor, I always worked really hard. But, at the same time, I always felt like people thought that I didn’t have to struggle even though I was struggling. I approached work very seriously. I never went out. I mean, if I had a 6 a.m. call, I had to be prepared. I had to be in bed at a certain hour. But I definitely went through a time where I was just terrified and exhausted and I didn’t really understand. The world just seemed, or Hollywood . . . It just got to be too much for me. My problems seemed so glamorous to other people, and everyone just thought I was so lucky. But then, I was lucky because my family was really there for me—San Francisco was a real refuge. I think I just felt like I really wanted to hold on to who I was as a person, and try to—for lack of a more interesting way to say it—have as much of a normal life as I could.
when you go into the business, all of your illusions are shattered right away. You find out that great success does not change your life in any meaningful way and failure doesn’t change your life in any meaningful way.—Woody Allen
DOUGLAS MCGRATH x WOODY ALLEN
DM: You’ve written a lot about death over the years. Have your feelings about it changed at all?
WA: No. It’s a no-win proposition because you know what happens? You die. Don’t forget that I’m not a religious person, so you die, and you disintegrate in one way or another-either you’re cremated or you decompose-and you’re gone. That’s it. There’s no other at bat. It’s one strike and you’re out.
DM: Of all your films, is there one that represents what you think is the best of who you are? It doesn’t necessarily have to be the best film.
WA: Well, that sort of changes from day to day with me. There’s a small group of my films that I favor over the large majority of them where I feel like I achieved, you know, something worthwhile in my own terms. There are a few of those films that I’m sort of proud to have done, and I feel that if you were to show them in a festival with Truffaut’s films and Antonioni’s films and Fellini’s films… They won’t be the best, but they won’t be hooted off the screen either. They could certainly serve as the hors d’oeuvres or the warm-ups to the really great films.
DM: I guess what I’m asking, though, is if there is one of your films that tells us the most about your philosophy of life? You know, if someone couldn’t meet you, and wanted to know what Woody is really like or what gives us the most sense of his worldview-his fears, his optimisms, his anxieties, his hopes-is there one film that kind of best sums that up?
WA: Well, to date-if it’s just that-I would probably say Anything Else .
WA: Yeah. You’d get it in a more abstract way in Purple Rose because clearly I do believe that reality is dreadful and that you are forced to choose it in the end or go crazy, but that it kills you. So that film does sum up a great feeling that I have about life-I mean a large feeling that I have about it. But in terms of just me personally as a kind of wretched little complaining vantz, I think you would see that in Anything Else. There’s a lot of me in there.
Interview magazine x mary-kate olson