Winona Ryder Reveals Which Famous Co-Star She Hated

By Nathan Kamal | 3 weeks ago

Winona Ryder

Winona Ryder starred in Bram Stoker’s Dracula in 1992, at the height of her fame. After breaking out to audiences in Tim Burton’s dark comedy Beetlejuice, she had starred in a slew of offbeat hits like Heathers and Mermaids. After reuniting with Burton for Edward Scissorhands (starring with her partner of the time, Johnny Depp), she planned to star in legendary director Francis Ford Coppola’s conclusion to his gangster epic The Godfather Part III, but had to bow out due to health reasons. She was able to star as Mina Murray in his adaptation of the seminal vampire novel a few years later, to much critical and commercial acclaim, but all was not well on the set. According to Winona Ryder, she and co-star Gary Oldman could not stand each other, and working together was a difficult and exhausting process. 


Bram Stoker’s Dracula was a return to commercial good graces for Francis Ford Coppola, who had mostly struggled in Hollywood after the notoriously soul-destroying process of making his Vietnam War phantasmagoria Apocalypse Now. Winona Ryder was one of the hottest stars in the world at the time, and a talented cast including Keanu Reeves and Anthony Hopkins was just the thing to bring in audiences. While Daniel Day-Lewis was Coppola’s first choice to play Dracula himself (and what a movie that would have been), Gary Oldman was cast to play the undead Romanian. According to Winona Ryder, they got along at first, and then things seemed to go sour. As the star of The Age of Innocence put it:

 [I]t wasn’t the same after we started shooting. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s his way of working, but I felt like there was a danger.

Apparently, the tension between Winona Ryder and Gary Oldman was noticed on set. Francis Ford Coppola reportedly encouraged Ryder to imagine it was him that she was acting against, rather than Oldman. This was not his only questionable tactic during filming, as he allegedly encouraged Anthony Hopkins and Keanu Reeves to verbally abuse Ryder to get her into a negative emotional state for filming, a technique known as “The Kubrick Method” or “emotional abuse.” Ryder says to their credit, that neither Hopkins nor Reeves followed this direction and refused to insult her. As in all things, Keanu Reeves was an exemplary human being, even if he has perhaps the worst approximation of an English accent ever committed to film. 

While Bram Stoker’s Dracula failed to keep Francis Ford Coppola back at the top of the mountain in Hollywood, as he followed it up four years later with the bizarre Jack, a movie in which Robin Williams plays a child with an accelerated growth rate that will lead to his early death. Winona Ryder would remain one of the biggest stars in show business for a number of years yet, before taking a career hiatus. She revived her career in the 2010s, eventually starring in the enormously popular Netflix show Stranger Things. Winona Ryder is currently set to reprise her role of ​​Joyce Byers, den mother to the unluckiest children in the world, in the upcoming fourth season of the show on May 27, 2022.