Published on June 1st, 2010 | by Mark Chesnut
Dennis Hopper’s Peru Connection
As you may have already heard, actor Dennis Hopper died on May 29 at age 74. So what does that have to do with Latin America? For “Mr. Peru,” a blogger who specializes in that South American nation with this site Streets of Peru, the actor’s death brought to mind one of Hopper’s movies, which was set in Peru. Mr. Peru himself has allowed me to reprint his post here; to see more of Mr. Peru’s opinionated and often entertaining posts about life in Peru, be sure to visit his blog.
MAY 30 — As many of you have probably heard, Dennis Hopper died yesterday. Although a lot of Dennis Hopper’s work was before my time, I’ve seen “Easy Rider” and “Apocalypse Now” (and yes…”Speed”) and I have to say, Mr. Hopper was one of those dudes who was always at least interesting (even in an otherwise terrible movie…cough, cough, “Speed,” cough, cough).
Well, as I was reading about Dennis Hopper’s work, I came across some lines about the film “The Last Movie.”
“The Last Movie” was the film that Dennis Hopper made immediately after the wildly successful “Easy Rider.” Apparently “Easy Rider” was such a success that some idiot studio executives decided to give Mr. Hopper close to a million dollars for his next project. They were convinced, somehow, that he was the next great artist director, so they overlooked all the signs that he was a rampaging drug addict and alcoholic (I’m not faulting him for this…hey, if you can get people to give you millions of dollars despite wearing all your flaws on your sleeve, then more power to you).
Well, Hopper went directly to Peru and filmed “The Last Movie” over the course of a year or so. Filming consisted of little more than running out into the jungle and taking a bunch of drugs, getting drunk, and having as many wild orgies as possible (the studio should have gotten a little suspicious when Hopper claimed he wanted to film a movie in Peru about an indigenous tribe that was corrupted by the filming of a movie….duh). Anyway, after accumulating about 40 hours of film (and probably getting kicked out of Peru) he went back to the states and edited the film while drunk and on acid (again…if you can get away with doing this at work, more power to you…but I think the same guys that run movie studios are now running BP). The amazing thing is that this film won some awards in places like Venice (maybe I should go and live there), but in the U.S. they realized that it was the work of a junkie and not an artist (bunch of squares).
Well, despite all this, I think I’m going to head on over to my Netflix account and fire up “The Last Movie.” Somebody tell me why all these crazy artists are drawn to Peru (by crazy artists I’m talking about Hopper, Herzog and myself, obviously).
Although I don’t have an answer to that question, at least now I know why so many of the young men and women of Iquitos look exactly like Dennis Hopper.
Rest in peace big guy, and remember, the middle of Life is IF!