Video Interview: A career retrospective with Peter Fonda

James Wallace

by: James Wallace
May 3rd, 2011

Forty-two years ago, Peter Fonda, along with Dennis Hopper and Terry Southern, wrote a little film called EASY RIDER, which Hopper directed as well as starred in alongside Fonda and Jack Nicholson. That film just happened to be at the forefront of counterculture cinema, running over old Hollywood like roadkill and leaving all semblance of convention in its dust. It is one of the first true pieces of independent cinema. To this day, EASY RIDER's impact is still felt, still studied, and still appreciated for the cultural and cinematic significance it upholds. Made for a generation but not of a particular generation.

It's pretty much a dream come true for a kid who grew up loving cinema to have the opportunity to interview the late, great Mr. Hopper. But when you're also given the esteemed privilege to interview Mr. Fonda - the Wyatt to Hopper's Billy - man, oh, man it's like something out of a cinematic dream.

The insecurities speed through your mind like a Harley before an interview like this. "What questions do I ask?" "Which ones hasn't he answered a million times?" "This may be my only opportunity ever to sit down with this man, what if I look back wishing I had asked him something else?" Luckily for me and this interview, Peter Fonda is a talker. And a brilliant one at that.

My apologies for the handheld camera work. In all my over-thinking the interview, I didn't think about grabbing the tripod! Consider it an intentional nod to the cinematography of the '70s.


Now if I could only get in front of Jack Nicholson at some time in my life (or his), then I will feel as if I've accomplished a great trifecta!

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