STRANGER THINGS Star Winona Ryder for HARPER’S BAZAAR Magazine

Posted on June 28, 2022

Winona Ryder is covering Harper BAZAAR’s July 2022 digital cover story. The STRANGER THINGS star discusses coming to terms with the past, making sense of the present, and what to do when you find yourself in the Hollywood version of the Upside Down.

 

 

 

On her childhood daydreams while living in Petaluma, a city in the San Francisco Bay Area: “I created this whole kind of fantasy world,” she explains. “There was an old theater I loved, and I used to fantasize about living there. Like, ripping out the seats and having a bed and a bathtub and a bike and watching movies all the time.”

On the pressures of young movie stars to cement their place in Hollywood: “This business is brutal,” Ryder says. “You’re working constantly, but if you want to take a break, they tell you, ‘If you slow down, it’s going to stop.’ ”

She pauses. “And then it did slow down. So then you’re hearing, ‘It’s going to be impossible to come back.’ And then that changes to ‘You’re not even part of the conversation.’ Like, it was brutal.”

On how her public breakup with Jonny Depp in the early ‘90s and the rigid Hollywood culture at the time made her life darker than anyone knew: “That was my Girl, Interrupted real life,” Ryder says, referring to the 1999 film she executive produced and starred in about a young woman in a psychiatric hospital, for which Angelina Jolie won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar.

“I remember, I was playing this character who ends up getting tortured in a Chilean prison [in the 1994 drama The House of the Spirits],” says Ryder, who credits “an incredible therapist” for encouraging her to imagine being gentle to a younger version of herself. “I would look at these fake bruises and cuts on my face [from the shoot], and I would struggle to see myself as this little girl. ‘Would you be treating this girl like you’re treating yourself?’ I remember looking at myself and saying, ‘This is what I’m doing to myself inside.’ Because I just wasn’t taking care of myself.”

On how Ryder’s 1993 The Age of Innocence costar, Michelle Pfeiffer, supported her when she was struggling, reminding her that life would eventually feel normal again: “I remember Michelle being like, ‘This is going to pass.’ But I couldn’t hear it. I’ve never talked about it,” Ryder says. “There’s this part of me that’s very private. I have such, like, a place in my heart for those days. But for someone younger who grew up with social media, it’s hard to describe.”

On the cruelness of the tabloid culture in the early 2000s: “I definitely retreated,” Ryder explains. “I was in San Francisco. But I also wasn’t getting offers. I think it was a very mutual break.”

“It’s so interesting when you look at the early aughts,” she says. “It was a kind of cruel time. There was a lot of meanness out there…. And then I remember coming back to L.A. and—it was a rough time. And I didn’t know if that part of my life was over.”

On the advice she gives to her younger Stranger Things costars: “I want the kids to understand, this does not happen,” she says of being on a show so zeitgeisty that people are clamoring for your attention. “This is really unusual. And I’m always telling them, ‘The work is the reward!’ Because when I was that age, it was so hard to enjoy the fruits of my labor.”

 

 

[Photo Credit: Dan Martensen/Harper’s Bazaar Magazine]

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