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That Time Keanu Reeves Refused To Yell At Winona Ryder On Set

Bram Stoker's Dracula Winona Ryder holds Keanu Reeves cheek in her hand

Sometimes in service of getting a particular shot, directors and cast members will employ some extreme tactics to inspire the emotional responses certain participants need to exhibit. In the case of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, director Francis Ford Coppola wanted star Winona Ryder to cry. His plan was to have the cast yelling horrific things at Ryder so she’d produce some tears. There was just one problem: her co-stars, including longtime associate Keanu Reeves, refused to yell at her in such fashion.

This story was revealed as Ryder spoke with The Sunday Times, while promoting her role on Hulu’s rather steam-worthy hit Normal People. In her words, here’s what happened:

To put it in context I’m supposed to be crying. Literally, Richard E Grant, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu … Francis was trying to get all of them to yell things that would make me cry. But Keanu wouldn’t, Anthony wouldn’t … It just didn’t work. I was, like, really? It kind of did the opposite.

With Coppola himself shouting at her in order to get a good cry on, Winona Ryder just couldn’t muster those tears with his voice alone. But with no one else joining in on the action, you can’t blame Ryder’s emotions for going the other way. While actors can sometimes go method in the name of completing the scene, no one could seem to get angry with the woman who has been known to steal audience’s hearts in movies like Edward Scissorhands, and even with compelling performances in roles like Stranger Things’ Joyce Byers.

There were certainly no hard feelings between Winona Ryder and her Bram Stoker’s Dracula director, as she confirmed that she’s still on good terms with Francis Ford Coppola. And as you can see in the clip from the actual film, the lack of tears doesn’t rob the moment of the utter terror between Gary Oldman’s famed bloodsucker and the cadre of defenders rushing to Ryder’s side in scene:

Just as it’s hard to hate Keanu Reeves for being a casual and introspective nice guy, it’s hard to yell at Winona Ryder without the right context in play. Even if Ryder played the woman that killed his dog in a hypothetical John Wick sequel, there’s a good chance the film would end with Wick and her proposed villain talking things out. And more than likely, that dog wouldn’t be dead, and everyone would get to ride off happily into the sunset. Hey Lionsgate… if you need a definitive capper to the John Wick series, it sounds like you’ve found that elusive happy ending you’re looking for.

Winona Ryder can be seen in Hulu’s Normal People, which is currently streaming. Or if you really want to revisit Bram Stoker’s Dracula, you can watch that movie on Crackle, as it’s streaming free with ads.

Mike Reyes
Mike Reyes

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.