Winona Ryder Says Keanu Reeves Refused Coppola’s Direction to Insult Her on ‘Dracula’ Set

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Winona Ryder tells The Sunday Times (via The Independent) in a new interview that her longtime friendship with Keanu Reeves started on the set of “Dracula” when Reeves refused to insult his co-star in order to get her to cry during a scene. Reeves was instructed to do so by “Dracula” director Francis Ford Coppola. The scene in question featured Gary Oldman’s Dracula turning into a pile of rats and Ryder’s Mina Harker reacting in shock. Ryder was supposed to cry during the scene but was having trouble producing tears during her takes.

According to Ryder, Coppola thought he might be able to get her to cry on set by hurling insults at her. The director stood off camera and reportedly shouted “You whore!” at Ryder in order to offend her to the point of tears, but that bit of direction didn’t work. Ryder said that’s when Coppola tried to get the movie’s male cast members to join him in getting Ryder to cry.

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“To put it in context I’m supposed to be crying,” Ryder said. “Literally, Richard E. Grant, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu [Reeves]…Francis was trying to get all of them to yell things that would make me cry. But Keanu wouldn’t, Anthony wouldn’t. It just didn’t work. I was, like, really? It kind of did the opposite.”

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Reeves’ refusal to insult Ryder was the beginning of a friendship that has spanned decades. “Dracula” arrived early on in both of their careers and was a box office success, grossing $215 million worldwide on a $40 million budget. Reeves and Ryder would reunite again for “A Scanner Darkly” (2006), “The Private Lives of Pippa Lee” (2009), and “Destination Wedding “(2018). Ryder remembered the dismal critical reception for the latter romantic-comedy being a bit hard to endure.

“It got the worst reviews,” Ryder said. “That movie, for some reason, every reviewer was like, ‘This is the worst movie in the world,’ and it was really rough.”

As for Coppola, Ryder told The Times that she and the Oscar-winning director “are good now.” Ryder is currently in the midst of Emmys season for her supporting performance in David Simon’s HBO limited series “The Plot Against America.” “Destination Wedding” was Ryder’s last feature film release. The actress’ role on the hit Netflix series “Stranger Things” will continue into its upcoming fourth season.

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