Just a Minute With: Dennis Hopper on "Swing Vote"

Thu Aug 7, 2008 5:38pm EDT
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By Iain Blair

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - It's a very long way from starring as the stoner rebel of "Easy Rider" to playing a presidential nominee in the new Disney comedy "Swing Vote," which is now in U.S. theaters, but for Dennis Hopper it's all in a day's work. Or make that a life's work.

After appearing in over 150 films and almost as many TV shows, the one-time wild man of Hollywood has earned his status as elder statesman of entertainment.

Now 72, Hopper looks every bit the distinguished Democratic politician Donald Greenleaf in "Swing Vote" as he courts the vote of Bud Johnson (Kevin Costner), an apathetic small-town loser whose single ballot holds the key to the election.

In person, Hopper is tan and fit, and he sports a goatee. He was upbeat as he sat down to talk to Reuters about his new film, presidential politics, and the 1960s.

Q: "Swing Vote" and its story about the importance of voting could hardly be more timely.

A: Yes, it's a comedy but much more. When we had the Bush-Gore election, it got down to Florida's being the last state. It could easily have gotten down to one vote and a failed machine, so the scenario (in the film) is possible..

Q: Did you see parallels with real life when you and Kelsey Grammer, who plays the incumbent president, descend on this small New Mexico town to try and win over Bud?

A: Of course, and we both change our positions to get this one vote, and it's very similar to watching what's going on in the larger race.   Continued...

<p>Actor Dennis Hopper attends a panel for the Starz drama series "Crash" at the Television Critics Association 2008 summer press tour in Beverly Hills, California July 11, 2008. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>