“A 104-degree fever. I literally couldn’t move”: Johnny Depp’s Ex-girlfriend Winona Ryder’s Acting Career Was in Jeopardy After Health Complications

"A 104-degree fever. I literally couldn’t move": Johnny Depp's Ex-girlfriend Winona Ryder's Acting Career Was in Jeopardy After Health Complications
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Winona Ryder had to let go of one of the biggest crime fiction trilogies because of her health complications. Back in the day during the period of late 80s- early 90s, her performances in Beetlejuice, Girl, Interrupted, and Heathers caused many to fall in love with her. As many believed she was moving towards the peak of her career, with guaranteed hits one after the other. One half of a star Hollywood ‘it’ couple, and a successful film artist, she was living the dream. But the world wasn’t her oyster from the start, she had to work double as hard to leave a mark on the industry.


Thus, working nonstop took a toll on her physically and she was advised by a doctor to go home instead of taking up more work. A similar case happened when the actress was offered her role in the final installment of The Godfather trilogy, Ryder made headlines for backing out of the film at the last moment.

Winona Ryder
Winona Ryder

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Why did Winona Ryder back out of The Godfather 3 at the last minute?

Many deemed it as fame getting into Winona Ryder‘s head, whereas others as plain simple stupidity. The news of her rejecting a role in the third part of The Godfather trilogy caused an uproar as she was too sick to take up any work. The actress was offered to play the megastar Al Pacino’s daughter in the film but had to back out suddenly. This gave birth to a whole lot of speculations, besides the million assumptions the one that was the most prevalent was her going through a mental breakdown. Thus to stop all the rumors once and for all, Ryder decided to address the topic in an interview with the LA Times. She said,

“The whole thing has been blown out of proportion,–I’d done three films in a row: Great Balls of Fire, Roxy Carmichael and Mermaids. Right after Mermaids wrapped, I flew to Rome with a terrible upper-respiratory infection and a 104-degree fever. I literally couldn’t move. The studio doctor told me to go home, said I was too sick to work.”

Winona Ryder, American actress
Winona Ryder had to say no to The Godfather 3 for the sake of her health

It was a classic case of exhaustion, although her life looked glamorous from the outside, the actress had to endure a lot of hardships to get where she was. This put her career in jeopardy since many pushed her into doing the film, and claimed she would be over if she said no. But she pulled out a classic Winona Ryder and stayed firm on her words. She then took some time off to get better and focus on her health.

Also Read: “I get choked up about that stuff”: Christian Bale Never Dated Johnny Depp’s Ex Winona Ryder Without Whom He Would Have Never Met His Wife Sibi Blažić


Does Winona Ryder regret not doing The Godfather 3?

As much as she wanted to say yes, it wasn’t her choice at the end of the day. Although this meant she will not be getting roles for the next few years, she was okay with it as she prioritized herself first. In the same LA Times interview the actress further revealed,

“It wasn’t my choice. It was out of my hands. Sure it’s disappointing, devastating in fact. I wish it didn’t happen—but it did,”

Al Pachino and Winona Ryder
Al Pacino and Winona Ryder

Although she was scared, and her agent warning her of the probable bleak future did not make her feel better, it was Al Pacino who guided her through this difficult decision. Years later in an interview with W Magazine, the actress revealed,

“When I didn’t do the movie, he called me and was like, ‘Don’t worry about it,’—At the end of the day I am glad I didn’t do that film. I mean, I would have loved to have been a part of it, but I don’t know”

Despite being devastated, and hurting her career she never regretted the decision and stood by it till the very end. She is glad she did not force herself into doing the job half-heartedly. After that in the following decade, she went into a little hiatus and returned stronger than ever with Stranger Things in 2016.


The Godfather 3 is available to stream on Paramount +, whereas, Stranger Things can be streamed on Netflix.

Also Read: “I grew up with no money, we lived without electricity”: Johnny Depp’s Ex-girlfriend Winona Ryder Felt Ashamed Of Being an Actress

Source: LA Times


Written by Sampurna Banerjee

Articles Published: 865

Sampurna Banerjee, an ardent enthusiast of pop culture and movies, pours her passion into her role as a writer for FandomWire. With a penchant for Marvel, DC, and sitcoms, she has contributed over 400 articles, staying up-to-date to the entertainment industry's latest buzz. Moreover, she's penned over 300 articles for Animated Times and shared her work across several Instagram pages. Currently she is pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Calcutta University.