Culture

Baby Wants To F*ck: The Oedipal Journey of Dennis Hopper

Culture

Baby Wants To F*ck: The Oedipal Journey of Dennis Hopper

“Mommeee? Baby wansta....” So wails Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet, playing Frank Booth, the psychopathic killer with a mommy complex. Scary. We can all take comfort that the creepiest phrase in all of Hopperdom is just a role. Right?
EXHIBIT A: Marjorie Hopper née Davis from Dodge City, Kansas. “My mother had an incredible body and I had a sexual fascination for her,” said Dennis. “I never had sex with my mother, but I had total sexual fantasies about her.”
EXHIBIT B: Hopper’s first Hollywood film is Rebel Without A Cause. He’s in awe of James Dean, and asks the brooding star the secret to his acting. “I hate my mother,” replies Dean.
EXHIBIT C: Hopper’s definitely got some mama issues. His marriage to Mamas & Papas singer Michelle Phillips only lasts eight days. “What am I going to do?” Hopper asks. Michelle allegedly replies, “Have you ever thought about suicide?”
EXHIBIT D: A drug-crazed Hopper goes on an amyl nitrate bender in the real life Hotel California, the Sunset Marquis in Hollywood. Hopper sniffs gas and tells his teenage companion: “Mommeee . . . ”
EXHIBIT E: A clean and sober Hopper delves deep into his psyche to deliver his career-defining performance of Frank Booth: pure Method acting. “When people ask what I was inhaling in the mask,” says Hopper. “I say it was Lee Strasberg.”
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An endlessly fascinating, often perplexing American icon, Dennis Hopper is a figure we can only ever hope to partially understand, but we will never grow tired of trying. In his new book, HOPPER, Tom Folsom takes one sizeable stride towards unraveling one of Hollywood’s quintessential rebels. Stunningly realized through images, countless interviews with those who were closest to the actor and a fearless style that is unquestionably Hopper-esque, HOPPER offers a biography as unorthodox as the man it explores. Here, Folsom offers us an inside look at HOPPER via some of the actor’s most iconic moments.