“I am just a middle-class farm boy from Dodge City and my grandparents were wheat farmers. I thought painting, acting, directing, and photography were all part of being an artist. I have made my money that way. And I have had some fun. It’s not been a bad life.”–Dennis Hopper
Hopper was an aesthete, and his interest in films was for their visual values, not their narrative. I recently discovered a podcast with writer Ann Louise Bardach, who Hopper had commissioned to rewrite the screenplay for the film Backtrack (1990) (a.k.a.Catchfire), which he directed and starred in, and which costarred Jodie Foster as a Jenny Holzer–like artist on the run from the mob. Bardach said that Hopper took her to Taos and Santa Fe, New Mexico to scout locations for the film where Foster’s character would hide out, and he would point out artistic landmarks like Georgia O’Keeffe’s former home or Mabel Dodge Luhan’s home, which Hopper once owned, and insist she incorporate them in the screenplay. That’s what he really cared about.