Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Hopper: A journey into the American Dream - new book out

There's a new book coming out on 19th March about Dennis Hopper (1936-2010) of Easy Rider fame.  It is a hip biography of the iconic American actor, photographer and pop-art collector, who did a lot for motorcycling in the film Easy Rider which became a cult film for a generation.  Written by Tom Folsom in an unconventional style, the book, simply titled Hopper, follows Dennis Hopper's roller coaster life and career as a legend of American popular culture.


The book is an energetic biography of Dennis Hopper, the actor, activist, artist, and wild man, who died in May 2010 and it is as unconventional a biography, as Dennis Hopper was a man.

Hopper's roles were as diverse and crazy as he was: the chopper-riding hippie outlaw in Easy Rider, the prophetic madman in the jungle in Apocalypse Now, the terrifying psychopath in Blue Velvet and the 'kid gone wrong' in Rebel Without a Cause. Hopper as an actor was taken under the wing of James Dean, a friendship which set Hopper on his path to becoming a star. 

A rebel, an icon, an addict plagued by demons, and an art collector who bought one of the first Andy Warhol soup cans, the roller-coaster life and career of Dennis Hopper is one of the great American stories. His cinematic adventure kicks off in the Dust Bowl with a boy from Dodge City, Kansas who dreams of going to Hollywood. Hopper's extraordinary journey takes him to superhero highs and plummeting lows, from the days of 60s rebellion to the drug-addled 70s to starring in one of the greatest Hollywood comebacks of all time.

The Hipness of Hopper

Capturing the magic of Hopper and the madness of his American Dream, Hopper the biography, is a wild ride through his many lives. Written in a rebel spirit and packed with insights from his fellow actors, artists, and friends, Hopper tells the story of a half-century of rebellion from the edge of American pop culture.

The author Tom Folsom (The Mad Ones: Crazy Joe Gallo and the Revolution at the Edge of the Underworld, 2009 etc) considers Hopper as an enthusiastic acolyte of James Dean who cultivated a renegade persona through drug abuse, sexual wildness, violence and confrontations with directors as well as other studio figures, over-embracing method acting when it was regarded with skepticism. Spanning Hopper's beginnings in theater to a part in Rebel Without a Cause, his ambitious project in Peru,The Last Movie and a career resurgence later in life, the author emphasizes how the actor's talent was sometimes overshadowed by his reputation--to the extent that the actor once agreed in a 60 Minutes interview that his work could be regarded as a failure with moments of brilliance. Folsom's writing does perhaps have a propensity for purple prose which can get in the way of the story at some points, but overall it is an illuminating story of the skill and chances which combined to create the fascinating life of a Hollywood icon.


James Dean to Hopper:

"I saw what you did today. Today you were great."

Jack Nicholson to Hopper:

"We're geniuses, you know that?
Isn't it great to be a genius?"

The book is published by Harper Collins and is available for pre-order now.



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