The Evolution Of Winona Ryder

Alien Resurrection (1997)

The Role: She’s Call, the humanoid android (unbeknownst to her mercenary colleagues), who helps Ripley and co take control of the Xenomoprh-infested spaceship Auriga.

It’s not exactly Ryder’s finest hour, but then the movie itself rarely gets much love. It made $161 million at the box office, though.

Ryder Trivia:
The actress has to confront her fears for the underwater scene – since she nearly drowned at age 12. She got through it, but not without some severe anxiety.

Girl, Interrupted (1999)

The Role: Ryder stars as Susanna Kaysen, who is checked into a private mental hospital and interacts several residents, including Lisa (Angelina Jolie).

She had hoped it would see her back on a Hollywood starring throne, but instead saw Angelina Jolie scoop an Oscar and most of the acclaim. The downward slope began…

Ryder Trivia: She was so attached to the film that she became executive producer and helped shepherd it through production – even with her help, it took three years to hit screens.

Mr Deeds (2002)

The Role: A switch back to comedy, in the hopes that appearing alongside one of America’s big laugh-grabbers (Adam Sandler) would launch her career anew.

It didn’t exactly stretch her acting skills, but it was her most successful movie to date, earning $126 million in the US.

Ryder Trivia:
This was the first film she agreed to appear in after an unfortunate run-in with the law and shoplifting. She eventually got probation, community service and fines to pay back what she took.

A Scanner Darkly (2006)

The Role: Returning after a brief hiatus following the shoplifting incident, she got animated (literally) for Richard Linklater’s take on Philip K Dick’s drug-fuelled novel.

Ryder takes it easy, with a smaller co-starring role as an attractive cokehead who catches Keanu Reeves’ eye. The film also allowed her to do a nude scene without actually being naked on camera…

Ryder Trivia:
Ryder took the film for scale (i.e. minimum acting wage) and a share of the profits to help keep costs down. Think she’s still waiting to get paid her bonus…

Sex & Death 101 (2007)

The Role: A femme fatale part as Death Nell, a black widow-style lover targeting men she believes have committed sex crimes.

It’s an unusually straightforwardly sexy role for Ryder (at least, that’s what it appears at first), but most of the critical attention seemed to go towards Simon Baker for his leading man emergence.

And the film itself? It didn’t exactly find favour with critics and bombed at the box office.

Ryder Trivia: Spoiler Alert! Her character’s real name, Gillian De Raisx, is based on 15th century French aristocratic killer Gilles de Rais.

Star Trek (2009)

The Role: Largely a cameo this one, and (spoiler alert!) a short-lived one.

But she has a pivotal, iconic role as Amada Grayson, Spock’s human mother, who counsels him when he’s younger and prompts him to act when (spoiler alert again!) she’s lost during the destruction of Vulcan.

Ryder Trivia: You can expect more of her part to crop up on the DVD, since she’s in a few deleted scenes, including Spock’s birth.