Isaac Hayes: The Composer, Performer Really Wants To Do Movies (The Evening Sun/Jul 23/1981/US) By Lou Cedrone



Riding with Isaac Hayes in the Cadillac he uses in Escape From New York was far more fun than the film.

On tour to publicize the movie, Hayes has taken the car with him, one that is silver in cast. That, however, is not what attracts attention. It's the chandeliers. The car has four of them, one on each front fender (do they still call them that?) and one on each side in the rear; inside, a glitter ball, the kind used in dance ballrooms, hangs from the rearview mirror.

Motoring with Hayes and friends from the Hilton to Pratt Street was like taking part in a one-car parade. Eyes widened every inch of the way, and those who spotted Hayes, sitting in the rear, beamed with recognition.

Hayes didn't mind. "I think it's fun," he said, then laughing, added, "It's show biz."

Earlier, at his suite, he greeted visitors in a white T-shirt (I Love Escape From New York), white pants, white shoes and no chains.

No chains?

"I've gotten away from that, but I think I'm going back to it," Hayes said. "The women like it, they buy my records, and they want me to wear them."

He does wear an earring and a medallion in the new film, but there was a time when he was almost bowed by the chains that crossed his chest.

He looks 10 feet tall in the movies but of screen, is "about 6 feet, something like that."

"The movies make me look bigger," he said.

Escape From New York is his fourth theatrical feature. Over the years, he has done Three Tough Guys, Truck Turner and It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time, a comedy he did in Canada.

"I don't know why," Hayes said. "I though it was good, and it had a good cast. Anthony Newley, Stephanie Powers and Yvonne De Carlo were in it. I don't think it will ever come here. We did it in 1975."

Hayes has done concerts in the area. He appeared with Dionne Warwick at the Painters Mill Star Theater when it was still the Music Fair.

The man who composes (he did scores for the three Shaft movies), produces and performs, said he won't be doing concerts for a while.

"I have to have a reason to do them, something to build on, like the release of a new album. I can't come out any other way."

Movies. That's what he wants to do. "I'll jump at them," he said. "I can use the exposure. They give me credibility as an actor. This is a new world for me."

John Carpenter, who producer, directed and co-authored Escape From New York, asked Hayes to do the film after seeing him on The Rockford Files, the James Garner TV series. "He liked the way I looked and asked me to do the movie," he said.

Hayes, married three times and the father of nine, lives in Atlanta. "I never did go for the Hollywood scene," he said. "It's a plastic environment.

"Atlanta is a very progressive town," he said.

"There is some discrimination there, very subtle discrimination, but I would still rather live in the South than anywhere. Blacks are moving back there, and I predicted they would. It's the last frontier."