The world fell in love with Winona Ryder in the 1990s; then she fell off the planet after a slew of bad relationships and her infamous shoplifting incident (a subject that, according to GQ's Alex Pappademas, "she tries not to talk about"). Now she's back, in Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan, portraying a former ingenue who refuses to go quietly when the director pushes her aside in favor of a younger ballerina. "It's the best role Ryder has had in years, but you could imagine some actresses having second thoughts about steering straight into that subtext," writes Pappademas. As it happens, Ryder, 39, did not. "I thought it was a cool parallel," she says. "Being replaced by the young thing. I know that definitely happens in Hollywood. It's harder to find good roles, and suddenly there's new girls. I'm at that age I've been warned my whole life about." Sharing embarrassing stories about famous people, Ryder remembers an incident with Mel Gibson, telling Pappademas: "I remember, like, fifteen years ago, I was at one of those big Hollywood parties. And he was really drunk. I was with my friend, who's gay. He made a really horrible gay joke. And somehow it came up that I was Jewish. He said something about ‘oven dodgers,' but I didn't get it. I'd never heard that before. It was just this weird, weird moment. I was like, ‘He's anti-Semitic and he's homophobic.' No one believed me!"
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Photo credit: Mark Abrahams/GQ