TV Critics Tour: Hopper Heads Cast For Starz’s ‘Crash’


Beverly Hills, Calif.—Dennis Hopper knows he has a reputation for portraying crazy characters, but Friday he said he doesn’t see the maverick record producer he plays in Starz’s new series Crash “as a bad guy or a good guy necessarily.”

However, in discussing the series at the Television Critics Association summer tour, Hopper did point out that in one scene his character upsets his female driver by exposing himself and talking to his penis while sitting in his car.

Crash is a 13-part series based on the 2005 Oscar-winning film of the same name and debuts on Starz Oct. 17. It is the premium service’s first original drama series, co-produced with Lionsgate and co-executive produced by one of the stars of the theatrical, Don Cheadle.

Cheadle was on the TCA panel along with Hopper, and said he may also try to act in the series, if it works with his schedule.

“I’ve got to feather that in with the other things I’m doing,” Cheadle said.

The series, like the film, is set in Los Angeles (although it’s actually being done in New Mexico, where it’s less expensive to shoot) and will try to explore issues like social and racial tolerance in America, as the movie did.

As for converting the film Crash to a TV show, Cheadle told TV critics, “I never saw it as a series necessarily… but I thought there were a lot of hanging chads, so to speak, from the film, and a lot of storylines…(that) it would be interesting to see how they carry out.”

At the session, co-executive producer Tom Nunan said that Crash was originally sold to FX as a series, but the project didn’t go forward at the cable network.

In talking about his character, music mogul Ben Cendars, Hopper initially said, “Phil Spectorand I shared offices for about 10 years,” and then denied that his character was based on the legendary and controversial producer.

“This is a tribute to me: I base this on my life,” Hopper said, while later explaining that he’s actually an introvert who is nothing like the off-kilter roles he plays.

“I see all my characters as good guys,” he said.

Cheadle and Hopper were both asked what they thought about the Screen Actors Guild negotiations for a new contract.

“I don’t want to get between Jack Nicholson (who currently supports SAG’s position) and Tom Hanks (who has criticized SAG),” Hopper said. “And I’d have to side with Jack.”

But Hopper and Cheadle both said they didn’t want a strike.  

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