Press > Exclusive Interviews > Andreas Johansson (Webmaster: The Escape From New York & L.A. Page)

How did you end up being the webmaster of The Escape From New York & L.A. Page?

I was born in 1981 when Escape From New York was released, I saw the movies almost back-to-back in 1997 which is the year Escape From New York took place, John Carpenter (Director/Co-Writer/Co-Composer) immediately became my favorite director and people occasionally say that I resemble Kurt Russell (Snake Plissken) a little bit which is flattering. I have also been an outsider/loner and a little bit of a rebel most of my life and I take pride in that so I guess it was meant to be. The rest is history. There were a few Escape/Snake fan sites out there at the time but I wanted to go further. I still have some material from those sites and I thank them for their time and effort.

How long has the site been online and how has it been developed during the years?

The site went online in 2002. I didn't know a thing about creating a web site so everything is a result of trial and error. The basic design is still intact but it has went through many versions during the years. It's a simple design but I want it to be clean and easy to use. New content has constantly been added during the years so it has become quite large. I want to preserve as much as I can without infringing on available products and will do so for the remainder of my life. A lot of time, work and money has been put into it but it's worth it. It brings me a lot of joy and the Escape movies and Snake deserves it. Also, unlike many other fan sites this one is ad free and is not used for financial gain.

Why do you like Escape From New York, Escape From L.A. and Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell) so much and in what ways has he inspired you?

I consider Snake to be an absolute hero, not an anti-hero just like John has said. He just happens to be a very disillusioned guy who just wants to be free, stay alive the next 60 seconds and move on in a very dark, totalitarian and corrupt world.
What's interesting about him is that he's so true to himself, incorruptible and individual and it makes him the most honorable and likable character in the Escape movies. He truly is someone many of us would like to be but are afraid to be like Debra Hill has said and we all can learn a little something from this character as well. Personally I share many similarities with Snake and can relate to him quite a bit unfortunately and fortunately. He's the only character that truly makes sense to me and he helps me get through each day. 

I like that these movies are inspired by real events. Escape From New York was partially a result of the Watergate scandal and the increasing crime and urban decay in New York when it was written. It's a dark future that can happen to a certain extent and it's both our fears and what we would like to happen like John has said.
It has an honest, authentic and also a very entertaining and timeless stylish quality about it. It's also an interesting film noir, western, science fiction, thriller, action, satire and dark comedy hybrid.     

Escape From L.A. is one of John's bravest and most sardonic movies to date. It's basically a rehash of the first movie but set in another city and Snake is once again forced to do a similar mission he doesn't care about that really won't change things much hence his saying, "The more things change, the more they stay the same." This movie could easily have been a sell out but by making it as a parody and a full-fledged satire makes the movie funnier, edgier and something that stands on its own. Snake was never really a sequel kind of character in the first place so I have no problems with it. Snake himself would probably like this movie more than the first one. This is another John Carpenter movie ahead of its time and it raises some very interesting questions about freedom. 2013 has past but the movie still feels as relevant as ever. Kurt said it best: "You either have a sense of humor or you don't - sometimes you need a little time to sit back and have a laugh."

Are you frustrated over all the cancelled Snake Plissken projects in the past? Was there something particular you looked forward to or are you happy something didn't get made?

Escape From Earth directed by John and starring Kurt is all I'm interested in seeing. I would also prefer it to be a sequel to Escape From New York since I consider Escape From L.A. to be its own thing. A video game would also be interesting if it could capture the look and feel from the first movie as well as the character. I'm open to other projects but the right people needs to be hired. Snake is a complex character who very few people seem to understand properly and that has been proven again and again in projects without John's creative involvement and the likeness of Kurt. John cut out the bank robbery opening sequence for a reason for instance. I like that sequence. It sets up the world he lives in and his deliverance of
"Congratulations, you're a billionaire!" to Taylor sums up a lot who Snake is but it also demystifies him. The less we know about him the better he works. I'm very happy that the Escape TV series that was planned in 2000 was cancelled. However, I must admit that I really like the first part of the fan movie The Escape Agenda 2 (2014) as well as the fan trailer E 2019 (2015) though so there is hope. Don't hesitate to reach out if you want a consultant on your project. The only thing I ask for is a credit.

What's your favorite Snake Plissken moment?

There's many but him deciding to sit down on a chair outside the empty escape pod in Escape From New York is my favorite. It shows that this character almost doesn't need any words to work and it reflects the character's independence to the audience in a very clever way. I find it rather poetic. The slow parts in the movie are the best if you ask me. I don't understand why more directors haven't opted for scenes like this in similar movies. Little moments like this makes a huge difference.

How was the experience meeting John Carpenter (Director/Co-Writer/Co-Composer), Adrienne Barbeau (Maggie) and Tom Atkins (Rheme) during the photo shoot at Weekend of Hell in Oberhausen, Germany, 2016? (Note: I have lost a lot of weight since then.)

My meeting with my King was very brief but I did manage to tell him who I was and he seemed to be familiar with me before I was asked to move on which I understand. It was a long queue but on my way out I heard him saying, "Take care, man!" which was very cool. John has been good to me. I tormented him with way too many questions when I managed to get in contact with him and he allowed me to ask him five which I understand. It later led to five more though which I really appreciated. My interview with him is probably the driest ever done with the man and it's something I'm very proud of. He's clearly not interested in talking about his movies anymore and I get that. He has other interests now and he deserves to take it easy and not give a shit. He usually answers me when I reach out but I only do that when I feel I have to. There's only two people I have felt a special connection with and John is one of them. Edgar Froese from Tangerine Dream is the other one. Him and his movies are something I can relate to very much and they will survive the test of time. I dig
his masterfully suspense, stylistic skills, old school sensibility, anti-sentimentality, honesty, dry sense of humor and hatred of authority. His awesome music too of course. There's only one guy cooler than Snake and that's Mr. Carpenter. I admire Kurt too. He's his own man and a very intriguing guy as well. He was born to play Snake. He doesn't want to do an interview for the site unfortunately claiming he's already answered most of the questions I sent to him which is partially true and he also forwarded that he has similarities with Snake which I respect. I had more questions but I didn't want to bombard him with questions and I wanted to avoid sending him yes or no questions like I did with John. I was acknowledged at least. A door will always be open for you if you want to participate in the site in any way. I also hope to shake your hand someday.

Meeting Adrienne was a delight. She remembered the interview she did for the site and I got a little more time with her. I was the last person she met because I ended up in the wrong queue. She's wonderful.

Meeting Tom was an experience. He showed up in the queue and talked to fans a little bit and before going to the urinal he said, "Tommy's gonna go tinkle!" He's quite a character.

What material on the site are you the most proud of having?

I have acquired a lot of rare material over the years but it has to be the interviews of course. I have more than 70 exclusive interviews on the site! Getting in touch with the awesome people involved in these movies as well as other fans wanting to contribute material or help out is the highlight and reward of having this site and gives me hope for humanity. They deserve more likes on Facebook but what can you do? I have been in contact with many more but due to memory or disinterest it didn't lead to interviews. Some also chose to withdrew for some reason. Oh well.

How large is your Escape collection?

I only collect material to preserve on the site. If adults wants to buy action figures and such, fine but I personally don't get it. I like all the attention Snake can get though. I cherish a signed
Escape From New York USPF (United States Police Force) sign made for the movie sent to me by Joe Alves (Production Designer), a photo signed by John Carpenter and an Escape From L.A. stand-up of Snake though.

Are you still looking for something particular?

Escape From New York First Draft, 1974. The Holy Grail! Hopefully John will be sharing it with us someday.

Inside John Carpenter
's Escape, 1981: A 09:03 minute Escape From New York vintage featurette made by future director Mick Garris. It includes: Movie scenes, John Carpenter interview, Kurt Russell interview and production/location shoots. I have been in contact with Mr. Garris but he doesn't have it anymore unfortunately.

Escape From L.A. MTV (Music Television) Remote featuring Kurt Russell, Rob Zombie and host John Sencio, Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, California, September 7, 1996. According to White Rob Zombie Fan Page: "On Aug 96 Rob was with Kurt Russell on MTV, talking about Escape From LA. They also showed a picture of Rob when he was 15 dressed up as Snake from Escape From NY. Rob had sunglasses on and had a hat that said Elvis on it. MTV showed a clip of WZ (White Zombie) video for the movie. Rob was happy and talked with Kurt and the MTV guy. He said that they were going to play the song from the soundtrack at their shows."

Movie Magic 1996 Action Effects: Ultimate Action #4.11
 US (United States) broadcast.

DGA (Director's Guild of America) Magazine, Jul-Aug, 1996

Venice Magazine, Aug, 1996

Escape From L.A. stand-up photo of Snake on his bike used in video stores.

Escape From New York Q&A (Questions & Answers) with Adrienne Barbeau and Tom Atkins, The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, November 4, 2011.

Escape From New York Q&A with Kurt Russell, CapeTown Film Festival, Egyptian Theatre, Los Angeles, May 3, 2013.

Escape From New York Q&A with John Carpenter and Kurt Russell, TCM (Turner Classic Movies) 10th Annual Classic Film Festival, E
gyptian Theatre, Los Angeles, April 13, 2019.

What are you currently doing and what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I work in a convenience store in Sweden. I had bigger dreams and I have been gifted with a very creative mind but I'm a complex guy so life is difficult for me. Spending time in nature, watching movies, listening to music and working on the site brings me joy. Hopefully another big project of mine will come to fruition someday.

Thank you for your time, Andreas.