Press > Escape From New York > Exclusive Interviews > Adrienne Barbeau (Maggie) 


What attracted you to do the movie?
I loved the script, the character, and the director. What more could I ask for?

How did you prepare for the role?

Well, I roasted a turkey breast and then boiled it clean and used it as a hair clip. Somehow, in my mind, there must have been turkeys running wild inside that maximum security prison, but no beauty supply stores.

How do you think Maggie ended up in New York's Maximum Security Prison?

I'm sure I did have a back story for Maggie - that's the way I usually work - but whatever it was, it's long forgotten. Seems likely her landing in prison had something to do with her love and attachment to Brain.

Which scenes starring you have you the most fond memories of?

I love the scene on the bridge when Maggie takes a stand against The Duke and his badass Cadillac. All her morality is there;
her code of ethics, and the depth of her feelings for Brain. And I love the scene in the taxi when Brain is giving Snake driving directions to avoid the land mines. Brain says something like, "I think there's one on the right" and Maggie says, "You think?" Makes me laugh.

How was the experience working with the cast and crew and what went on behind the scenes?

I tell all my "Escape" stories in my memoir There Are Worse Things I Could Do. I loved working with all the guys, especially Donald (Pleasence) (The President), who was one of the funniest men I've ever worked with, and Ernie (Ernest Borgnine) (Cabbie), who was an absolute sweetheart. They all were.

There Are Worse Things I Could Do here

What did you do in your spare time while shooting the movie?

I scoured the antiques stores of St. Louis, buying up handmade quilts and original Fiesta Ware and furniture I could ship back on the massive art department truck.

What do you think of the movie personally?

I love it. It's one of my favorite John Carpenter films.

In Starlog issue 49 from 1981 you predicted the movie to be a classic. Why do you think the movie has become a cult classic?

I'm surprised to hear I said that because, honestly, I didn't know enough about movies to even think in terms of 'classic', let alone 'cult classic'. But it obviously has survived the test of time and is still a favorite of so many fans, maybe because it's just such good film making - from the words to the casting to the performances and the final product.

On November 04, 2011 you and Tom Atkins (Rehme) hosted a special screening of Escape From New York at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh and did a Q&A afterwards. How was this experience?

Tommy is one of my dearest friends from way back in the mid-70's. I love him so much. I used him as himself in my second vampire novel, Love Bites. And I jump at any chance I get to visit him, especially in Pittsburgh. We had a lot of fun at that Q&A. No one tells better stories than Tom Atkins.

Have you kept anything from the movie?

Only the quilts and dishes I bought on location. I'm not very sentimental when it comes to my work.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

First and foremost is spending time with my sons. These days, that's usually on a soccer field. And I read non-stop; that's my true escape. I can't imagine getting through life without series detective novels. I love to write and I love to travel and I love my friends, not necessarily in that order. And I really do love to work, as well. I'm almost always enjoying my life, no matter what I'm doing.

Thank you for your time, Adrienne.

More about Adrienne here: