That Winona Ryder is one of the most charismatic stars to have graced both cinema and television screens over the last thee decades is not really up for debate. It's a fact. Since the late '80s, she's contributed to so many beloved cult classics — Heathers, Beetlejuice, Mermaids, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Girl, Interrupted, Reality Bites — that her name will never fail to crop up when talking about Hollywood icons.
More recently starring in #StrangerThings as Joyce Byers, #WinonaRyder's presence in yet another internationally beloved production is a testament to the longevity of her appeal. And while you'd think that you'd know everything there is to know about a woman who's been in the public eye as long as she has, you don't — but you'll come a damn sight closer after reading this awesome list of Winona Ryder facts!
1. She's Not A Natural Brunette
IKR! It's pretty much impossible to think of Winona without her trademark dark brunette locks, but she's actually a natural blonde. Her hair was died for the 1986 movie Lucas, which was her first major role, but with the exception of Edward Scissorhands, she's never looked back.
2. She Was Raised In A Commune*
*Not to be confused with a cult. She told the Toronto Metro in 2015:
"When I say I lived in a commune for four years, people think I was in a cult. (Laughs) And it was not a cult at all. It was seven families in the Redwoods in Mendocino. But my parents were definitely on the intellectual side of the hippie movement. They were more sort of observers. They were activists and stuff, but it’s interesting because in some sort of unconscious rebellion I stayed away from a lot of those things."
3. And Would Skip School To Watch Movies With Her Mom
Her mom ran an old theater near the commune and would let Winona skip school so they could watch movies together. Color me jealous!
4. She Had No Idea What Streaming Was Until Stranger Things
She bagged a role in last summer's huge Netflix series Stranger Things, yet can you believe that before getting the part she had zero idea what "streaming" meant?
5. An Agent Told Her That Heathers Would Ruin Her Career
A teenage Winona Ryder played the part of Veronica Sawyer in the 1989 cult classic movie Heathers, which is widely believed to be the original Mean Girls. It was her fourth movie, the most notable predecessor being Beetlejuice, and one that helped catapult her to stardom. However, had her agent had her way, she would have completely missed the opportunity. She told EW in 2014:
"My agent at the time literally got on her knees and begged me not to do [the movie]. She had her hands together, and she goes, “You will never. Work. Again.” We parted ways later."
6. She Has Midnight Chats With Al Pacino
In 2002, Winona starred alongside Al Pacino in the sci-fi drama S1m0ne, and the pair developed a unique friendship after bonding over their shared lack of sleep. In fact, they'd regularly call each other in the middle of the night to shoot the shit:
"I got a call from Al. He's an insomniac. We talk in the middle of the night ... I don't sleep, he doesn't sleep. So it is very normal that we call each other at two in the morning. I just love him so much."
7. Gwyneth Paltrow Was Once Her BFF
I'm fairly sure there ain't nothing Goopy about Winona, so it's surprising to learn that she and the queen of vag steaming, Gwyneth Paltrow, were once super tight. Apparently their friendship drifted apart in the late '90s, when their lives began to go down different paths.
8. She Hung Out With John Lennon Once (But Had No Idea Who He Was)
While talking about her godfather, the American psychologist, writer and LSD guru Timothy Leary, Winona dished some deets about her star-studded upbringing. Not only were her folks good pals with the beat poet Allen Ginsburg, but Beatles superstar John Lennon was also in their fold:
"He was very protective. He never let anyone do anything around me. He would take me to baseball games, help me do my homework. He was the opposite of what you’d think Timothy Leary was around me. But there were a lot of people around then. It’s a shame because at the time I didn’t know who any of them were. They were just grown-ups. I later found out one of them was John Lennon. (Laughs) I’m like, 'What? Why didn’t you tell me?' I wish I’d known."
Makes my parents friends seem boring AF, to be quite honest.
9. Bram Stoker's Dracula Was Kind Of Her Idea
So you know that lovely Wino starred in 1999's Bram Stoker's Dracula, but did you know she actually originated the idea? After being given a bunch of scripts by her agent, she happened upon one titled "Dracula: The Untold Story," which she pitched to Francis Ford Coppola, who obviously went on to direct it. Not only that, according to Coppola, her co-stars — Gary Oldman, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu Reeves, Richard E. Grant — were assembled as Winona's "dream cast." How cool is that?!
10. Audrey Hepburn Used To Send Her Clothes
Real talk: If none of the above examples count as symbols for Winona's eternal, ever-glowing star status, then the following quote from Heathers scriptwriter Daniel Waters should do the trick:
“She has all that glamour that’s lost today, that’s been pummeled by Instagram and TMZ. She inspires a kind of cultist love that I don’t see other ingenues inspiring. Audrey Hepburn used to send her clothes.”
11. She Used To Do Laundry With Jodie Foster
Winona and The Silence of the Lambs star Jodie Foster, who's nine years her senior, not only lived in the same building, but they'd clean their undies together while discussing bizniz strategies:
"In my first apartment in LA, Jodie Foster lived upstairs, and we'd do laundry together. She's so smart. She told me to resist doing things that other people say you should do. Don't be 'strategic'! I was up for this movie, 'Mobsters', and everyone said I should do it. But Jodie said, 'You have to feel very connected to something before you do it.' So I turned it down. And it was a flop!"
Dream neighbor alert!
Do you love Winona Ryder more now than you did before?