May 29, 2010

Hopper supported Native rights

Iconic actor Dennis Hopper died today. A few of the tributes hinted at his interest in Native issues.

Dennis Hopper, Hollywood icon and antihero, diesWith Hopper hailed as a brilliant filmmaker, Universal Pictures lavished $850,000 on his next project, “The Last Movie.”

The title was prescient. Hopper took a large cast and crew to a village in Peru to film the tale of a Peruvian tribe corrupted by a movie company. Trouble on the set developed almost immediately, as Peruvian authorities pestered the company, drug-induced orgies were reported and Hopper seemed out of control.

When he finally completed filming, he retired to his home in Taos, N.M., to piece together the film, a process that took almost a year, in part because he was using psychedelic drugs for editing inspiration.

When it was released, “The Last Movie” was such a crashing failure that it made Hopper unwanted in Hollywood for a decade. At the same time, his drug and alcohol use was increasing to the point where he was said to be consuming as much as a gallon of rum a day.
An uneasy ride with Dennis HopperHopper also was a man who could charm while seeing the truth beneath the masks of Hollywood. His eye for modern art was uncanny, resulting in a multimillion-dollar collection. He was committed to a variety of social causes, including African American and Native American rights.Actress Joanelle Romero posted this note on Facebook:Hi Rob--Dennis was my legal guardian from age 12 to 18, oh the stories I have. Maybe a book someday, it's been in the making since I was 22.Comment:  For more on the subject, see Stacey Thunder Joins Crash and The Best Indian Movies.


Apache Man said...

There is so much to say about Dennis Hoppers life, where do we begin?

I liked the fact that he did something to piss off John Wayne to the point of getting chased by the duke with a gun while filming.

He also worked with Sal Mineo, who was an Italian that set some of the standard Hollywood criteria for Italians portaying Natives during the 50s and sixties.

Hopper also knew Marlon Brando whom was well known for having a disgusts for Hollywood and the US Governments relationship with Native tribes.

Marlon Brando was always targeted as crazy and eccentric in his behavior, but the following is an excerpt of his Playboy interview regarding the plight of American Indians:

MARLON BRANDO: "I'd like to be able to bore people with the subject of Indians . . . since I'm beginning to think it's true, that everybody is bored by those issues. Nobody wants to think about social issues, social justice. And those are the main issues that confront us. That's one of the dilemmas of my life. People don't give a damn. Ask most kids about details about Auschwitz or about how the American Indians were assassinated as a people and they don't know anything about it. They don't want to know anything. Most people just want their beer or their soap opera or their lullaby."

For taking a stand, Brando was labeled, "out of touch", but it takes alot of guts to follow such beliefs, especially now with a backlash and rise of racists against indigenous peoples around the globe, thanks to the religious right and conservatives in America, this country has taken five steps backwards in values and progress in race relations across the board.

This is why you can have college kids in California dress up like Hollywood pocahantas and nobody says a thing, have beer commerials or a program like the Dudesons on MTV.

Anonymous said...

You're right, Apache Man. We should have a list of Hollywood people who support(ed) ndn rights.

Marlon Brando
James Cameron
Richard Harris (At one point, the crew of A Man Called Horse boycotted a restaurant that didn't serve Indians.)
Dennis Hopper
Sal Mineo
Steven Spielberg

Any others?