Uneasy Rider

The life & times of Dennis Hopper, showbiz maestro and Hollywood eccentric

Uneasy Rider Easy Rider legend Dennis Hopper’s unflappable veneer belied a man constantly teetering towards his next larger-than-life incarnation. An influential artist, filmmaker, musician and eccentric, Hopper’s crammed and exorbitant life offers a riveting narrative. Director Hermann Vaske knew him well and delivers an often hilarious exposé of the man behind the mask. We discover a delicate and fascinating man, who harboured a troubled soul.

"I think it comes from a very unhappy childhood - not getting enough approval…having to look for it in other places", Dennis Hopper claims in an interview. And this is certainly what he got. Hopper quickly gained the approval of Hollywood; so quickly in fact, that he was overwhelmed and decided to retreat from the stage. However, this absence didn't last long and the artist continued his conquest of the world.

In an attempt to explain this success, his friend, the artist and film director Julian Schnabel states: "He represented freedom and rebellion and the outsider. He was rebelling against the ordinary. Against the word 'no'. If someone said he couldn't do it, he tried." Indeed, one of the things that Hopper was known for was his complete commitment to the characters he played. Isabella Rossellini remembers catching a glimpse of Hopper crying during a scene in Blue Velvet - an aspect of the movie that Lynch decided to keep, although it hadn't been included in the script.

But Hopper's extravagance also engendered tension with his co-workers and actress Diane Kruger reminds us that during the shooting of Apocalypse Now Hopper was so high that he got lost for 10 days in the jungle. Director Roland Klick confirms, "Sure, he was also an asshole."

But drug and alcohol abuse, along with an unpredictable and contrasting personality, didn't stop Hopper from reaching the global acclaim that still defines him. Toas, in New Mexico, continues to celebrate the actor during their annual "Dennis Hopper Day". Packed with the greatest showbiz personalities this doc depicts more than Hopper's life story - reaching also into the underbelly of the chaos that often defined the showbiz industry in the 80s and 90s.

Laurel Official Selection - Berlin Short Film Festival 2016
Laurel Official Selection - Filmfest München 2016
Laurel Official Selection - Warsaw Film Festival 2016

The Producers

AmitHermann Vaske is a director, author and producer. He is the winner of the Grimme Award (Germany’s TV Oscar) and more than 100 creative awards, including Cannes Lions and Clios. Hermann's films include "The Fine Art of Separating People From Their Money" with Dennis Hopper, "The Art of Football" with John Cleese, "The Radical Gardener", "Balkan Spirit" with Marina Abramovic and Angelina Jolie, "Arteholic" and "Bra Wars: Hollywood's Affair with the Bra". Hermann also produced the "Why Are You Creative?" series, featuring a host of notable names, including David Bowie, David Lynch and Nelson Mandela. Hermann Vaske is a member of the European Film Academy (EFA).

Making The Film

Hermann Vaske met Dennis Hopper in the mid-90s while judging the Breaking Walls Award at the Berlin Academy of the Arts. Their discussions on art gave rise to a long and prolific creative partnership that began with a trilogy of films entitled "The Fine Art of Separating People From Their Money". The pair then embarked on a project where Hopper himself would be the subject. The actor's death in 2010 was a great loss to Vaske, leaving their final collaboration, "Hopper's Trip", unfinished. Inspired to commemorate his friend, Vaske assembled a star-studded cast of influential artists, musicians and filmmakers, documenting their insights and memories of the irreplaceable icon.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. For more info see our Cookies Policy