Dennis Hopper: A Reel American Rebel

03/26/2002 01:00AM

Actor/director Dennis Hopper has starred in some of America's most influential films -- from "Rebel Without a Cause" to "Easy Rider" to "Blue Velvet" -- but when a career has encompassed every variety of rebel, psychopath and bully, there's bound to be some roles he'd rather not be remembered for. "I can be in the 24-hour grocery store at midnight and suddenly someone come up and says, 'Man, you know I loved you in 'Chainsaw Massacre 2,'" Hopper, 65, tells PEOPLE with a laugh. "Well, 'Chainsaw Massacre 2' is not my favorite film to be remembered for. Then there was 'Hoosiers,' which was a very likable, inspirational sports film. Kids will come up asking for the coach's autograph. Somewhere in my strange career, someone has liked something." Hopper is one of the filmmakers being celebrated in "Reel Radicals: The Sixties' Revolution In Film," premiering on April 2 on AMC. Hopper, who will soon be seen on the small screen playing another villain on the FOX series "24," recalls the struggle he went through writing, directing and starring alongside Peter Fonda in "Easy Rider." "Peter and I weren't friends. By the time we started the film, Peter tried to have me fired. He considered me out of control and I was," Hopper relates to PEOPLE. "We made a good film but it wasn't made out of love."

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