Across July BFI Southbank, London, is to celebrate the career of actor, director and artist Dennis Hopper.
Dennis Hopper was more than the iconic, talented and infamous actor that most film fans remember him as, he was also a director and an artist with a passion for photography that was inspired by the suggestion of his close friend James Dean.
Throughout July BFI Southbank will showcase a selection of Hopper’s finest films, beginning on Wednesday 2nd July when fellow cinema legend Peter Fonda takes to the stage for an In Conversation to discuss his career, his friendship and experiences collaborating with Dennis Hopper. Together with Jack Nicholson, the three actors ensured the arrival of the 1960s counter-culture with the anti-establishment road-movie Easy Rider (1969), directed by Dennis Hopper and deemed a “touchstone for a generation” that “captured the national imagination”. Easy Rider won Fonda an Academy Award nomination for best screenplay and he will introduce a screening of it after his interview; the film became a box-office smash and the third highest-grossing film of 1969.
Dennis Hopper (17 May 1936 – 29 May 2010) bridged the worlds of film and art. He began his career at the end of the studio system, acting alongside James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause, and studying method acting under Lee Strasberg. This dedicated season of films will trace his career from the low-budget noir thriller Night Tide (1961) and Andy Warhol’s Tarzan and Jane Regained (1964) – when he embraced the Pop Art scene and began collecting art – through the psychedelic The Trip (1967) and the self-directed The Last Movie (1971), to his terrifying performance as the psychotic Frank in Blue Velvet (1986). Throughout this period Hopper was documenting his experiences with his camera and few people in the world could tell of the tales he has seen.
The BFI Southbank programme of films to feature this daring actor and his great contribution to the cultural change of the United States in the 60s and 70s will coincide with an exhibition of his photography at the Royal Academy of Arts: ‘Dennis Hopper: The Lost Album’.
More than four hundred original photographs taken between 1961 and 1967 by Dennis Hopper, were personally selected and edited by him for his first major exhibition in Texas in 1970, and the vintage prints were only re-discovered after his death in 2010. This will be the first time that this body of work will be seen in the UK (from 26th June – 19th October 2014).