Awkward! Winona Ryder Asked if She Feels “Welcome Again” in Hollywood

Actress Winona Ryder speaks onstage at the "Iceman" Press Conference during the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival at TIFF Bell Lightbox on September 10, 2012 in Toronto, Canada.  Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Either nothing is off-limits at the Toronto International Film Festival, or something got lost in translation.

While promoting her new movie, The Iceman, at the TIFF Bell Lightbox September 10, Winona Ryder, 40, was singled out during a press conference with costars Chris Evans, 31, Ray Liotta, 57, and Michael Shannon, 38.

“It’s been a long time we’ve seen you,” a male reporter with a thick accent told Ryder. “Now you’re coming out with this movie and Frankenweenie. So two movies in the same year. So now do you feel welcome again in Hollywood?”

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Writer, director and producer Ariel Vromen, 39, shook his head and said something under his breath to Shannon, but Ryder — famously convicted of grand theft, shoplifting and vandalism in 2001 — tried to keep her cool and answer the reporter’s question.

“Well. . . Um. . . I don’t. . .I was asked that question in Venice. I don’t know if I’m developing a little bit of a complex because I don’t know if you’re saying, ‘We missed you!’ or ‘What are you doing here?'” Ryder responded. “I think for me, I started so young, and when you experience a lot of blessings and success when I did, usually you’re told you get three years, and it’s great just to have that. . . I couldn’t believe I was still doing it in my 20s.”

(Indeed, after the former teen actress broke through in 1988’s classic dark comedy Heathers, Ryder enjoyed her heyday in the 1990s with a full slate of hit films like Edward Scissorhands, Reality Bites and Girl, Interrupted, which won costar Angelina Jolie her Best Supporting Actress Oscar.)

Winona Tiff
Actor Ray Liotta, writer/director/producer Ariel Vromen, actors Michael Shannon, Winona Ryder and Chris Evans of “The Iceman” pose at the Guess Portrait Studio during 2012 Toronto International Film Festival on September 10, 2012 in Toronto, Canada. Jeff Vespa/

“Then I went through a period where I realized how important it was to have a life outside of [acting], because at the end of the day, you come home,” continued the actress, who dated the likes of Johnny Depp and Matt Damon back in the day. “And as every actor knows, you’re waiting to wrap something and freaking out. It’s a weird cycle. I had to get out of that.”

Ryder added that she’s “very close to my family and friends, and there’s other stuff I do and I’m interested in. I think living in San Francisco and basing myself there is equally important to be a friend to my friends, and sister to my sister. . . and to have a healthy life.”

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“I think I needed to take some time to do that, but also I think. . .actors are blessed, and I’m not complaining at all. But when you go through your adolescence doing it and you’re the ingenue. . . there is a lot of pressure.”

“And the parts are sort of. . . You go through this weird age,” she said. “And I’m now 40 and I’m actually psyched for 40 and psyched to get older because I think you get more comfortable with yourself, and it’s more interesting, and the roles — the size doesn’t really matter. Usually those kinds of roles are more interesting. For me as an actress. . . it takes something very special for me to want to leave my life.”

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“So sorry for the long-winded answer,” Ryder finished. Fifteen minutes later, the press conference ended, and Evans — who recently rekindled the flame with Minka Kelly — put his arm around Ryder. The Iceman is in theaters March 14, 2013.

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