- Weekend of Hell Interview: Adrienne Barbeau

FilmFlausen Interview:

Adrienne Barbeau

Spooner: We’re talking to Adrienne Barbeau. I’m a big fan of yours. I would like to ask you about three directors that you’ve worked with. You obviously worked with John Carpenter a couple of times, who is here today as well, the first time in one of his earlier films ‘Someone’s Watching Me’ and then also ‘The Fog’ and ‘Escape from New York’...

Adrienne in ‚Escape from New York‘

Adrienne: ... and ‘The Thing’!

Spooner: As the computer voice!

Adrienne: (laughs) Yes, nobody knows that.

S: I’d like to ask you about your characters, as Stevie in ‘The Fog’ and ‘Maggie’ in ‘Escape from New York’ – I think they both have a lot in common. They’re strong, independent – of course they both live in completely different worlds. As an actress, how do you prepare for or get into this mindset?

A: Well, it is a mindset that comes easily to me. I think that’s maybe why John cast me to begin with, because I tend to play strong roles. I never thought about the differences between the two of them, but they both have a very moral code, I think. Maggie is willing to sacrifice her life...

S: That scene always gets to me.

A: Yes, and Stevie Wayne feels like she has to stay there and try and save everyone instead of just her and her son.

S: Yeah. You also worked with Wes Craven, who passed away last year, and you worked with George Romero in ‘Creepshow’.

A: Yes! (smiles)

With Ray Wise in ‘Swamp Thing‘

S: So, you pretty much worked with the three greatest horror directors of their generation, I would say.

A: I’ve been very lucky!

S: You and Tom Atkins (who is sitting nearby) both worked with some of these great people. How would you compare those director’s worldview or why do you think they’re such important film makers?
A: I think all of them made films with characters that we grew to know and to care about, and they developed a story. Especially John (Carpenter) and even Wes (Craven) with ‘Swamp Thing’. Unlike a lot of the films that are getting made now, where it’s just like “How many people can we kill within the first eight minutes?”. If you don’t know that person and you don’t identify with them or care about them, who cares if they get killed? (laughs) So I think that’s one thing all three gentlemen had in common. They chose good words, whether they wrote them themselves or they took over somebody else’s material. They wrote good scripts and that’s where it starts.

S: It’s all about the characters. One more movie you did, that’s probably lesser known, is ‘Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death’.

A: Oh yes! (Laughs)

S: You starred with Bill Maher and Karen Mistal. Do you have any stories to tell about that movie?

A: Bill Maher and... (thinks for a moment)

S: Shannon Tweed.

Adrienne at the "Weekend of Hell"

A: And Shannon Tweed, yeah! Well, you know, it was in the middle of a writer’s strike in Los Angeles. The company that was doing that film had a permission from the writer’s guilt to make their movie. They made the offer and I thought ‘Well, okay’. I thought it was a very funny script. It’s basically ‘Heart of Darkness’ or ‘Apocalypse Now’. It’s the ‘Heart of Darkness’ story by Joseph Conrad. I shot seventeen pages in one day. There were scenes where I was dueling with people, and there was nobody there; I was talking to people and there was nobody there. But it was great fun.

S: Did you actually work with any of the other actors?

A: I did work with Shannon. I’ve only seen the movie once. I’d have to go back and see if I have scenes with any of the others. We were all together, but I don’t remember if we had scenes together. (laughs) I just thought it was a very witty script. And actually, the director of that film – I don’t know if he wrote it, but he directed it under a pseudonym, J. D. Athens (Anm.: his real name is J. F. Lawton) – went on to write ‘Pretty Woman’.

S: That’s also a script that changed a lot by the time they made the movie.

A: Yeah!

S: One last question: You’ve been on ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’ and on ‘Babylon 5’. Do you have any Star Trek related stories to share?

A: My only ‘Star Trek’ story is this: when I was in the make up trailer, a man came and sat next to me who I used to see all the time at the gym. A very nice looking man, good physique, and he used to work out at the same gym I did but I didn’t know him at all. So I said “Oh, I know you from the gym!” and he said “Yes, I’m Michael Dorn who plays Worf.” But with the make up off I didn’t recognize him at all. (laughs)

Cannibal-Queen (in the Avocado Jungle of Death)

That’s the only story I have from ‘Deep Space Nine’, expect that I worked with some really lovely people. I became friends with Nana Visitor and Rene Auberjonois and it was a fun time. And then the producer of ‘Deep Space Nine’ from that episode went on to produce ‘Carnivale’ for HBO, so my experience with him on that show paid off later on.

S: Okay! That’s it from me. Thank you very much!

A: Thank you, thank you!


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