It seemed as if Winona Ryder, a two-time Oscar nominee (1993’s “The Age of Innocence” and 1994’s “Little Women”) had turned her back on Hollywood — that is, until a star turn in 2010’s “Black Swan.” This year her old partner in crime, Tim Burton (who cast her in “Beetlejuice”) has lured her back to the big screen yet again for the animated “Frankenweenie.” It’s not hard to figure out how Burton did it — as Ryder herself admitted, she owes him one.
“He gave me my career,” she said. “I said that recently, and it wasn’t an off-the-cuff remark. Actually, if you think about it, I don’t think I would be an actress if ‘Beetlejuice’ hadn’t come along, because I really wasn’t thriving in those auditions. I’d just done a couple things, but I had black hair and was very pale, and that movie led to other things. So yeah, he gave me a career.”
Though Ryder needed the break, she found a kindred soul in Burton. “He’s the same guy I met that first day I met him, when I didn’t even know he was the director because he was so cool… I just had a tremendous love for him and would do anything for him. But it’s this weird thing, he’s the same guy, time could go by, but friendships like that, it’s not like that with everybody. It’s a gratitude, but it’s also an awe of his talent and his vision.”
Still, even Burton and the potential of her performance in the much-buzzed-about “The Iceman” (in theaters spring 2013) aren’t going to convince her to leave Northern California. “No, that’s never gonna happen. That is my hometown, and I love it there. I’ve always lived there but worked everywhere. I’m very happy in my life, I love my life, I love my other life, it’s very important to me to have another life… you can’t pin your happiness on Hollywood. Once you’re there, it’s confusing. You have three years, you’re lucky. I’m grateful I’m still asked to do these special things. I think it’s really important for me to be a good sister, a good friend, a good daughter… I’m very close to that other life.” It seems that getting out of Hollywood seems to be working out just fine.