While filming Bram Stoker’s Dracula, actress Winona Ryder claims that director Francis Ford Coppola yelled “you whore!” at her while standing off-camera to get her to cry. The filmmaker also tried to rally the film’s male stars, including noted mensch Keanu Reeves, to do the same in an abusive and misguided attempt at authenticity, but they refused.
“I’m supposed to be crying,” Ryder told the Sunday Times about the scene from the 1992 gothic horror movie where Gary Oldman’s Dracula turns into a pile of rats. “Richard E Grant, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu… 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.” Reeves’ refusal to verbally assault Ryder led to a decades-long friendship (they technically got married while shooting Dracula).
In the same interview with the Sunday Times, Ryder also discussed the anti-Semitism she’s faced in Hollywood, including the time a studio head told her she was “too Jewish” for a “blue-blooded family” role and when Mel Gibson called her an “over-dodger” at a party. Here’s how she described the incident to GQ in 2010:
“I remember, like, fifteen years ago, I was at one of those big Hollywood parties. And he was really drunk. I was with my friend, who’s gay. He made a really horrible gay joke. And somehow it came up that I was Jewish. He said something about ‘oven dodgers,’ but I didn’t get it. I’d never heard that before. It was just this weird, weird moment. I was like, ‘He’s anti-Semitic and he’s homophobic.’ No one believed me!”
If Keanu Reeves is the best (which he is), Mel Gibson might be the worst.