(Producer Midge) Sanford: For Dennis Hopper‘s role [‘Feck’], we sent the script to Harry Dean Stanton, who passed. Apparently, Harry Dean Stanton passed on a lot of scripts and gave them to Dennis.
(Director Tim) Hunter: I initially hoped that John Lithgow would play it, but it was too dark for John—he wanted no part of it. We had some reluctance that it might be typecasting for Dennis, but ultimately we wanted him very badly and we needed Hemdale to come up with a little extra money for him. I threatened to cast Timothy Carey, who was in Stanley Kubrick‘s The Killing and John Cassavetes‘s The Killing of a Chinese Bookie. He was brilliant, but also a well-known wild man who never stuck to a script—he’d ad lib and be quite disruptive. The thought of having Timothy Carey in the picture finally convinced Hemdale to come up with that small amount of money to pay Dennis to do it.
- Midge Sanford and Tim Hunter as interviewed by Matt Gilligan, “An Oral History of ‘River’s Edge,’ 1987’s Most Polarizing Teen Film”; Vice.com, May 9 2017 (accessed 12/9/2018)
Dennis Hopper as Feck, with Crispin Glover