Beetlejuice Beetlejuice Is ‘One Of The Most Special Experiences I’ve Ever Had’, Says Winona Ryder – Exclusive

Beetlejuice Beetlejuice

by Ben Travis |
Published on

Back in 1988, Beetlejuice became Winona Ryder’s breakout movie. This was before Heathers, before Edward Scissorhands, before Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Little Women, before she became a generational icon. And it’s no wonder she stood out in Tim Burton’s supernatural comedy – her Lydia Deetz was the sullen, sardonic teenage goth girl at its heart, who relates more to the ghosts in the attic than her own living relatives. Now, 35 years later, Lydia is back and all grown up in Tim Burton’s long-awaited sequel Beetlejuice Beetlejuice. And, as Ryder tells Empire in our world-exclusive new issue, stepping back into her goth boots has been a real trip.

“I struggle to find the words,” she says of the sequel. “It’s just one of the most special experiences that I’ve ever had. The fact that we’re coming back to it, it’s… It’s beyond.” The experience of stepping back into the world of Beetlejuice – reuniting with Burton, as well as co-stars Michael Keaton and Catherine O’Hara – has been an overwhelming one. “I don’t know if I’ve ever felt this way,” Ryder admits. “This is a first for me. I’ve never revisited a character, ever.”

While Lydia looks exactly how you remember – dark clothes, dark jagged fringe, darkly inscrutable expression – there was plenty to explore in how she’s changed in the intervening decades. Notably, she now has her own TV series, ‘Ghost House With Lydia Deetz’ – and a daughter, Astrid, played by Wednesday’s Jenna Ortega. “I went through so many stages of, ‘Who is she now?’, but I always wanted to have it be Lydia. She can’t lose who she was,” Ryder explains of rediscovering the character. “She can’t be the same person, she can’t be just completely deadpan, she has to have evolved, but she also has to have kept that thing she had when we first met her. So that was the big challenge for me.”

Just as Burton related strongly to Lydia while making the sequel, Ryder sought to bring a bit of her own life to Lydia’s development. “My lived experience, even though it’s very different… You know, you grow up, and things change,” she says. “Life happens.” Just, in Beetlejuice’s world, a lot of death happens too.

Empire July 2024 – Beetlejuice Beetlejuice cover

Read Empire’s full world-exclusive Beetlejuice Beetlejuice cover feature – going on set of the film, and speaking to Tim Burton, Michael Keaton, Winona Ryder, Catherine O’Hara, Jenna Ortega, Willem Dafoe, Monica Bellucci and Justin Theroux about what’s in store –  in the July 2024 issue, on sale Thursday 6 June. Pre-order a copy online here. Beetlejuice Beetlejuice comes to UK cinemas from 6 September.

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