Press > Exclusive Interviews
> Hector De La Rosa
(Snake Plissken: Escape From New
Escape from New York's ultimate fan page)
When did you see Escape
From New York for
the first time and why do you like it so much?
It was 1981, and I went to the theater with my best friend at the time Nolan
Burke. Believe it or not, the movie we went to go see was Disney's Tron! It was
a double feature and the second movie was Escape from New York. I remember
sitting very close to the front of the auditorium and watching the whole intro
about the prison, but when Snake was across from Hauk telling him "I don’t give
a fuck about your war, or you're President." I said to myself now this guy is
cool. I have never seen a rated R movie before, and I was surely getting a
The computer wore tennis shoes had matured into the coolest son of a bitch I
have ever seen! I didn't want to be an Astronaut when I grew up; I wanted to be
Snake Plissken! We stayed and watched the double feature again, just to see
Snake. That summer when we went to the beach, my friend and I both made little
card board cut outs of a cobra, and laid in the sun for a while to get tanned.
After a time we both had tanned around the cut outs, and when we removed them we
had cobras on out bellies. As far as liking the film, how can you not! It is
virtually a perfect movie in every way possible. The acting, the mood and the
story were completely original at the time, and still is. But the one thing that
stands out is the music. I have been listening to the soundtrack for over 20
years, and I have never grown tired of it. Every where I go it is in my CD
player! I love it.
You've devoted a large part of your life replicating
Snakes clothes and props. Why is this so important to you and what is it about Snake
Plissken that strike a
nerve in you? In what ways has he inspired you?
Ah yes, the clothing and the props. Well to get closer to the man, you have to
have the clothes and the gadgets. For years growing up I have always wanted
Snake's boots, hell who hasn't? When all you have to go on is a very bad VHS
copy of the film that doesn't reveal any details at all, you're pretty much
stuck. But I kept looking at every pair of motocross boots that I could find in
catalogs, and stores, but turned up noting. After the creation of the internet,
things just didn't get any easier. But you get yourself a bigger shovel, and run
up a big cell phone bill making a lot of phone calls trying to find out
information that people had long forgotten about.
I will give credit to Stephen Manley for having an awesome magnifying glass that
found the source of the boots original maker Andrea #1 in Los Angles. Without
him I probably would've never had the boots made. So thank you Stephen, even
though we are not friends anymore because of our passion for Snake Plissken
caused us to butt heads.
But that's where I draw the line in the sand because I wanted more. I wanted my
boots to be as they would be if Snake were a real person. Just because Kurt
Russell had aluminum shin plates on his movie boots, doesn't mean that I wanted
cheap plates on mine, and opted for stainless steel plates that could take a
licking, and dish one out if need be. So not to brag, but I am very proud to
have a pair of Snake's boots, and hell I look at them every day and still can't
believe that they are mine.
It started with the boots, but of course it didn't end there. Then came the
pants, the shirt, the life clock and tracer bracelet, the guns etc. I just
wanted to look my best at conventions and with every passing year it happened.
It became more than a hobby, and it seemed to be a driving force and inspiration
to replicate the costume and everything that went with it. Why? Simply because I
love the character, as he resonates with me and inspires me. I've learned that
giving up is not an option, and there is more than one way to reach your goals.
Getting there is what's important. I've learned about respect for myself, and
this came very recently.
You had some problems with a company who you helped to
make the jacket Snake has. What really happened?
Well that is a very lengthy
two year story that was the biggest pain in the ass, and the jacket is still
only about 98% accurate. I had another very close friend Jared Place who shares
some of the passion for Snake that I have. He and I have studied the film and
the clothes for years and got our boots made together as well. We found a jacket
maker over seas that had a pretty impressive looking catalog, so we wrote to him
and asked if he would be interested in replicating the jacket worn by Kurt
Russell in EFNY. He agreed and the nightmare had officially begun. The first
jacket took about 2 months to get to my door. When I opened the bag that it came
in I almost fell over. The thing was hideous, and made of a god awful I would
hate to even call it leather. The designs were completely ignored and after
complaining, it went right back to get re-done. This process went on for about
two years, eleven jackets between me and my friend before it happened and the
maker finally got it right. Only the leather that he used wasn't to be used for
jackets and began to rot. The tanning process was faulty, and the leather began
to change color in places especially along the neck line. The maker made one
more attempt, and it was a decent one, but showed that his workers did not pay
attention to the details that were needed to make the jacket, well, the jacket.
My friend's was ok, but mine came back three inches longer than it was supposed
to be. I had a local tailor take care of this for me and now it is ok, but I
still want another one made some day. But it will be a long while.
You dress up
as Snake Plissken at conventions. What kind of reactions do you get and how was
it to meet Charles Cyphers (Secretary of State) and Tom Atkins (Rheme) as Snake?
I really love going to conventions, that's where I have a lot of fun,
surprisingly the reactions are very mixed. Some people don't know who Snake is,
and I use this to poke fun at them. The "Who are you supposed to be?" I handle
with "Call me Captain Ron boss", everybody else does or Jack Sparrow to name just
a few. I heard you were dead is very popular, I have fun with it. But the
costume works because nobody fucks with me.
Meeting Charles Cyphers was a very pleasant experience; he is really a nice man.
I managed to shake his hand and he complimented my outfit. It was a very quick
meeting as a friend brought me to see him toward the end of the show.
Tommy Atkins was pretty cool as well. He noticed me right away when I walked
into the room where he was signing autographs. I walked right over to his table
and he said "Snake Plissken!" I asked him if I could have a picture and an
autograph and he said sure, but the autograph will cost you $20 bucks. What the
hell I did it, and he signed the copy of Mike McQuay's movie novel that Joe
Thornton had sent me in the mail because I didn't own a copy of it, what a guy.
He saw me in the hall way later on, and I tried to talk to him but he was in a
hurry, so he just said "I’ll see ya later Snake" and that was the extent of it.
You're not a big
Escape From L.A. How come?
Why do I despise Escape from LA? Honestly Andreas, because it sucks. Kurt
Russell decided that it would be cool to make a damn fool out of Snake Plissken.
He and Carpenter made him look like a jack ass, and a has been. I have a big
problem with that. Yeah, I know that Kurt is richer than hell and he wanted to
have some fun, but he didn't have to take a dump on the character that launched
him into super stardom. LA was like one giant cartoon that kept getting worse
with each frame of film. I mean give me a break, a JAWS cameo, surfing, gliders
and a really bad CVS eye patch. With what is it $57 million dollars, this is
what they were able to do? Enough with LA, to me it’s not even worth talking
What started the process of making the fan movie Escape
From New Jersey? Why did you want to do it?
Well, I saw Chris's previous effort Escape Big Trouble in New Jersey, and
thought to myself let me contact this guy and pick his brain about making
another movie with a real looking Snake Plissken (Me!) Hell why not. If that
other guy was passing as Snake, I would surely explode all over the screen! It
was my shot. It felt like this is why I got the costume, fore this very reason.
To somehow get to play Snake Plissken, my little moment in the sun.
How does it feel to fill Kurt Russell's shoes and how
would you describe your interpretation of Snake?
Well they're actually boots, not shoes. And I really like how you pose
the question. My interpretation of Snake is a very good way to put it. In New
York, Kurt Russell was playing Clint Eastwood; in New Jersey I followed the same
formula. I wasn't playing Kurt I was playing Jose Whales. I was wearing the
clothing of the character called Snake Plissken. I watched all the best westerns
that Eastwood did, and even Magnum Force, and one of my favorites The Gauntlet
to get ready to play Snake. I didn't copy Kurt Russell at all except for some of
his mannerisms in EFNY which were mostly Eastwood anyway. So I kept the nature
of Snake simple and true to the way it was done in EFNY.
In EFLA it is very clear that Kurt Russell was forcing his lines trying to be
Kurt Russell playing Snake, in my opinion he forgot the formula that gave him
success in EFNY, he didn't go back toward the Eastwood roots. People have made
mention that I looked and acted like Kurt from EFNY, and I take that praise deep
into my heart because that is what I was trying to achieve. Being Hector De la
Rosa (Not Kurt Russell) acting like "The man with no name", while playing Snake Plissken. That's it.
the experience been shooting it and how is Chris .R. Notarile (the Director of
Escape From New Jersey) to work with. Do you have the same vision or do you
argue about stuff?
I have to be truthful about
this, in the beginning it was really rough trying to get my point across to
Chris about what I wanted in a movie that he was making. And I'm sure that he
didn't like that very much either. I wanted something, and he wanted something
different. As we started working together I felt him loosen up a bit, I wanted
him to feel that he could trust me because I was there to help him, and me at
the same time. I knew that I had the look of the character down pat, and I think
that he knew that he didn't want to use that "other" Snake again. He was fair,
and listened to my ideas. He didn't always agree, but I expected that, as he is
the guy that is holding the camera and a very good film maker. A lot of good
things happened in this production, artistic vision began to blossom, and the
truth of what should be on the screen began to hatch from the experience of just
doing take after take. We began talking, and having a healthy actor and director
relationship about things.
Getting this thing right is
something that we both wanted. And everyone of the performers just came together
and made something very special, and it will continue into the future episodes.
Besides all this you also have a website called The
Ultimate Escape From
New York Fan Page. What's the idea behind it?
At first the site was started to simply have pictures of me as Snake, so people
might check out the effort that I put forth honoring this great movie character.
Honestly, it just started to grow and take on a life of its own very quickly. I
stared adding sections like Post Apocalyptic New York, so fans could get a
feeling of how things used to be like in New York, and still is in some areas.
It's still growing strong.
You've also written
Escape from New York 1.5. Why did you feel the need to flesh out the story of
EFNY? What kind of stuff did you think was
missing from the movie, the EFNY novel and other fan fiction? Was there
something particular you didn't liked or wanted to repair?
Actually Andreas, I wasn't repairing anything. I was just merely explaining what
was left out, and a lot of stuff was left out. "The Decent" I believe really
captures what it would've been like for Snake to get down to the first floor
using the stairs. In the movie they just cut to Snake walking outside after Haul
tells him to call him when he gets there. So what happened? In the novel McQuay
explains the stairwell vividly, as if the lights were on. Go inside the bathroom
or the closet and lock the door. What do you see? Exactly, nothing! Not even
your hand in front of your face in total darkness. Imagine having just one eye
and having to walk down 55 floors down a darkened stairwell full of god knows
what. Would you be scared? Read it, it makes sense and it is the truth. See how
much respect you have for NY Snake after you read this. And like I said watch
the movie, and when you know what he has just been through it will give you
You dedicated Escape from New York 1.5 to Joe Thornton.
Joe Thornton and I have been talking on the phone for almost one year. We have
had conversations about Snake, and EFNY for hours! Never a dull conversation and
we became very good friends as a result. Before this was even a story we talked
about all the shit that Snake would've had to have gone through in that prison
just for him to survive. Every scenario possible was uncovered; man I wished we
would've recorded those conversations, as they were golden. One day I started
writing, and I sent Joe a sample. He loved it, and I kept going. This went on
for a year! Revision after revision, until what was in that story was the
un-debatable uncontestable truth about what happened within the prisons
containment walls. There is 22 hours of adventure that will come into the light
by the time were finished with this story. I opted to release it know, to beat
out any attempt at a remake of this classic film without having the first say.
He was there from the beginning and had been a fan of this great movie as long
as I have, so that's why he gets the dedication.
You've complained that
isn't showing that much interest in your projects. Why do you think it is so and
is there anything you'd like to say regarding this?
Well snakeplissken.net is not the problem here; it’s the so called fans that
piss me off. All every one talk about is the lack of Snake this and Snake that.
I, a fan am doing something for the other fans and all I hear is crickets. I
even deleted my account because nobody gives a shit because I'm not Kurt
Russell. They're right, I'm not. But I am Hector De La Rosa, and I am the new
Snake Plissken. Hell what is Hollywood going to do put Quentin Jackson behind
In the beginning and for a while it bothered me that nobody cared, but then it
dawned on me. Joe said it, and you Andreas said it. Just do it for yourself. I
listened to you both and did just that.
You've mentioned that you want Josh
play Snake in the remake of EFNY and Rob
direct. Why is that and how do you feel about remaking
EFNY in general?
I still think that Josh
Holloway would make a great Snake, and zombie just has a gritty balls to the
wall style that I believe the remake would need to be effective on screen. The
remakes that are being talked about these days do not impress me one bit, and I
think that they should just leave it alone. It doesn't need to be remade. The
fact that they are changing key plot points, and removing important characters
that made the original so great is testament that Hollywood had lost its way
completely. C'mon! If you have to remake Fame and the Karate Kid…
frustrated over all the cancelled Snake projects in the past? Was there
something particular you looked forward to or are you happy something didn't get
As a fan who is always hungry
for more Snake, yes I was disappointed that a few projects got cancelled. The
Escape video game was probably on the top of the list. I was really looking
forward to playing that game, it was to voiced by Kurt himself and with the way
games look nowadays the sky was surely the limit.
As far as more Escape movies go, yes and no. After the disappointing
travesty that was LA, I felt that Carpenter had lost his touch, and I was
really disappointed by Kurt's portrayal of Snake. He went from bad ass anti
hero, to has been bad ass celebrity that people laughed at. Yes they waited far
too long to make another Escape and the lag shows in the finished product.
What's your favorite Snake moment?
I have a lot of them, but I really like the scene when he jumps off the jeep and
starts walking toward the Gulf Fire. He just looks so fucking cool!
What else do you do?
I am a devoted father to my beautiful daughter Gracie Raquel. Being a parent is
the most full filling thing I have ever done in my entire life, and she gives me
all the reason I need to keep going strong. I feel as if I was put on this earth
to be her father, and that is the biggest honor a man can have.
Anything else and this will sound like an E-Harmony add. I just love being a
Is there anything else you'd like to say? Now's your
Not really, that about sums it up for me. Thank you for taking the time to
interview me man.
Thank you for your time, Hector.