Winona Ryder Dishes Dirt on Mel Gibson


"She definitely chased it," Howard told Elle about Ryder's role in "The Dilemma." "She was really willing to come in and read with Vince, to see what it all felt like. And it was great when somebody of her stature volunteers that sort of thing. We pretty much cast her on the spot."

"She's definitely doing it smartly by focusing on roles that show she can act," Powers said, "so people remember her as an actress rather than someone who got arrested for shoplifting in 2001."

Winona Ryder with former boyfriend Johnny Depp.

In that infamous incident, Ryder was arrested for shoplifting some $5,500 worth of designer clothes and accessories from the Saks Fifth Avenue store in Beverly Hills. Following a highly publicized trial, Ryder was convicted and sentenced to three years probation, 480 hours of community service and $10,000 in fines.

It's easy to think that Hollywood didn't want to touch Ryder after her conviction. Director Woody Allen in his book "Conversations with Woody Allen" wrote that in 2003 he wanted to cast Ryder in his film "Melinda and Melinda" but couldn't get a company to insure the film.

Winona Ryder during her shoplifting trial with lawyer Mark Geragos.

But Ryder told Elle her dry spell from 2001 until 2005 was self-inflicted.

"If I don't relate to the [project], even if it's something that I should do, it's hard for me to say yes," she said. "I'm the type who'd rather not work than work on something I'm not into. I've done that a couple of times, and I feel like I can totally see it in my performance."

Powers says regardless of why Ryder took time out, it was good she did.

"Shoplifting became her story at that point," she said. "When an actress' role is being overshadowed by her personal life, it's difficult for directors to put them in a film. Lindsay Lohan, who was just dropped from 'Linda Lovelace' is a perfect example."

Ironically, Ryder's misdeed pales in comparison to Lohan's or those of today's starlets. But her disappearing act definitely has us clamoring for more. And the only things she'll be stealing these days are scenes from her co-stars.

"There will more demand for her," Powers said. "There will be an audience that grew up with her that will want to see her on the big screen."

Directors are eager to work with her too. "Swan" director Darren Aronofsky, who had Ryder on set for less than two weeks, didn't want his time to end.

"There's one scene with her, where I think I did 20 or 30 takes, which is a lot," he told Elle. "But the reason I did so many is because I couldn't believe that was all [the time] I was going to get with Winona Ryder. I really just wanted to keep working with her."

Fortunately, the single and childless Ryder wants to keep working.

"I remember when I was about 18, Sean Penn made a bet with me," she told Elle. "He had just directed his first movie, and he's like, 'By the time you're 30, I will bet you $500 that you'll be sick of acting.' I'm still waiting to collect, because I'm not."

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