Hopper Explodes Easy Rider Myths

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Dennis Hopper is tired of others taking credit for his Easy Rider movie - because he and co-star Peter Fonda are the only people who made the cult 1969 film. The veteran movie star wants to clear any confusion about those responsible for the road trip movie before the film's 40th anniversary celebrations next year (09). He says, "I wrote and directed Easy Rider with Peter. Terry Southern, who gets a writers credit, broke his hip and he didn't write anything. "He gave us the title, Easy Rider, but I called it The Loners. Peter and I talked out the screenplay and then I wrote it. We made it for $340,000 all across the United States, and filmed it in four and a half weeks. "After it became famous, there was a hundred million people who took credit for making it. I don't know how that happened." And there's another Easy Rider myth Hopper would like to address - the fact that the film was a chaotic mess of edits and reshoots. He adds, "All the crazy talk about how unprepared we were wasn't true. It took a year for me to edit it because I had so much film. That's it."


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Tags: Dennis Hopper - Easy Rider - Peter Fonda

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Gordon Whiting's picture

Gordon Whiting

Terry Southern did indeed write most of Easy Rider. Besides creating the character of lawyer George Hanson (Jack Nicholson) and writing all the dialog, he was originally the ONLY credited screenwriter. It was only after Hopper and Fonda begged him to allow the Screenwriter's Guild to co-credit them as writers that they were included at all. And that was because of impending awards nominations (ER was nom'd for a Best Original Screenplay Oscar). Southern responded to Hopper's previous claims of total authorship by saying "They (Hopper and Fonda) cannot even write a letter, let alone a screenplay." Southern was also refused his agreed-upon 1% of royalties (made orally) after the movie became an unexpected hit. The amount that this would represent in back royalties is undoubtedly the reason Hopper is so adamant in his fantasy about sole authorship.
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