Winona Ryder opened up to an OK! reporter about her role prep, history, obsession, and speaking her mind.
The Age of Innocence actor gained recognition for her various roles in popular films such as Little Women and Heathers, which are arguably her best films. After taking a break in 2016, Ryder landed a part as Joyce Byers in Netflix's Stranger Things sci-fi series.
Her role attracted a much younger audience, something which excited the 48-year-old.
"It's exciting," Ryder explained. "A lot of them are quite young!"
The Mermaids star ventured into the war genre after landing a role in HBO's The Plot Against America miniseries. The film is an adaptation of Philip Roth's similarly named book published in 2004. Ryder thought highly of the show and was very proud to present it to the audience.
"I was very thrilled for people to see it."
Tell us about The Plot Against America.
“It's a very personal story that's very much about the characters.”
Why did you want to be involved?
“Well, I'd worked with co-creator David Simon before, and I probably would have read the phone book for him. Laughs. But I've also been a huge Philip Roth fan since I can remember.”
You have a new legion of younger fans because of Stranger Things. What do you make of them watching Plot?
“I think it's a great introduction to an incredibly important author.”
When did you first read the book?
“I got it at Book Soup in L.A. the day it came out and read it in one sitting. I'm a WWII buff. I've always been fascinated by it. So I had to erase all the stuff that I knew had happened after because my character didn't know any of that.”
“It was really difficult, especially with my family history — my grandfather fought the Nazis, and we had relatives in the concentration camps.”
What was it like working with Zoe Kazan, who plays your younger sister?
“I really appreciated the complexity of the relationship between our characters. In one of our first scenes together, I'm helping her with makeup, and I was just lost in her eyes. It was so touching.”
This isn't your first-period piece. Do you think you're drawn to these roles, or do casting agents think of you for them?
“I hope it's both. I'm the daughter of writers and historians. I've always gravitated toward nonfiction. I feel really lucky that I got to grow up in a family that talked about stuff that wasn't always being talked about. I'm grateful it was encouraged!”
You've gotten some flack for openly sharing your opinions on world issues. Does that bother you?
“I'm not on social media, but my parents get Google alerts about me. I'd said a few things, and one comment said, ‘Sixty-two million people are going to boycott Stranger Things, so there!’ Laughs. But you have to take a stand. You can't just sit back because you don't want to be disliked.”
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Ryder loved her role in the Ben Stiller directed film.
"I just connected with it," the actress said. "and I really, really wanted to work with Ben and Janeane Garofalo and Ethan Hawke."
The actress played in Tim Burton's Whimsical film alongside her real-life fiancé, Johnny Depp, in late 1990. However, the relationship ended a few years later, in 1993. She later described the affair as "a fiercely deep love."
Ryder said her agent almost cost her the chance to star in the 1989 dark teen comedy. The film later became her career-defining moment. Her affiliation with the agent fell apart shortly after.
"She got on her knees and begged me not to do it," Ryder revealed. "We parted ways later."
Contrary to popular belief, Ryder wasn't upset when Angelina Jolie won the 1999 Oscar award for the film.
"I was hurt people thought that," she said. "Everyone assumed I was jealous because I thought this would be my vehicle."