John Carpenter AOL Interview
Carpenter: OK. Here we go!
Carpenter: Fire away!
Armitage: What inspired the sequel?
Overlord: What gave you the idea for the Escape
Carpenter: The sequel was inspired by what happened to Los Angeles in the early
90's. What I mean is, the biggest riot in US history, one hell of an earthquake,
mudslides, fires, floods, and we're all still sitting around at our swimming
pools talking about what a paradise it is. We are in heavy denial.
Sponge: What movie are you working on now?
Carpenter: No plans except a long vacation.
Carpenter: Waiting for the basketball season to begin. Now that the Lakers have
Shaquille O'Neil. (And we'll kick all of your butts!)
Glasfiber: Are you going to do some commentary for the
laserdisc release of Escape From L.A., like you did with NY?
Carpenter: I'd love to do laserdisc comments as long as they pay me lots of
KOOLKIN: Is there going to be a director's cut of
Escape From L.A.?
Carpenter: I do have some material that I cut out of the movie that could be put
into the laserdisc. Then, what you would have is a longer slower, duller
Escape From L.A....
Talus: What can we expect from the score to Escape From
L.A. - is the original theme from EFNY in it?
Carpenter: I have re-done the original theme from EFNY and you will be
able to hear it in all its glory if you will simply plunk down some bucks at the
box office Plus there will be a soundtrack album coming out. There are 2
soundtrack albums: a score, and a rock & roll album.
Sponge: Are you a classically trained musician?
Carpenter: Sponge: No way!
KOOLKING: What happened to Snake's eye?
Carpenter: I can't tell you exactly what happened to Snake's eye over the
internet, because it's much too horrifying and grotesque to even begin to
Glasfiber: Is there a 'director's cameo' in Escape From
Carpenter: No director's cameo in EFLA.
Talus: For a non-classically trained musician, you're
Carpenter: Thank you very very much, you're a wonderful human being.
Armitage: I thought you did an incredible adaptation of
the Campbell story Who Goes There?, was the ending purposely vague?
Carpenter: Yes it was purposefully vague.
Garth: Do you think that you could ever do a In the
Mouth of Madness 2?
Carpenter: Garth, Yes I could do one, but since the movie was not a very big
hit, I would not think there would be a huge audience for it.
Glasfiber: Why do you like shooting in 2.35 widescreen?
Have you ever considered shooting a movie in Super 35 or even 65mm?
Carpenter: RE 2.35 widescreen: (actually, 2.4:1 is the precise ratio of
widescreen) I love it because it is pure cinema. It's meant for the big screen.
Michael: I heard the 82 remake of The Thing didn't
do very well because word of mouth said it was too grisly. Was that the case? (I
haven't seen the film.)
Carpenter: Michael, don't listen to anybody else! In the next couple of
months, go out to your nearby laserdisc store and plunk down your money for the
special edition of The Thing narrated by myself and Kurt Russell and if
you don't want to wait, you can send me the money directly care of The Sci-Fi
Channel. (just kidding - moderator)
Question: In both EFNY & EFLA, the actors
are great: Like Ernest Borgnine, Pam Grier, etc. Do you write for them
Carpenter: Answer: No, I simply write the part then try to find the best actor.
In this case, Peter Fonda, Pam Grier, and Steve Buscemi were perfect for the
KOOLKING: Were you proud of They Live?
Carpenter: I love They Live. It is one of my
favorites of my own movies.
Talus: Is Map to the Stars Eddie the same guy that Cabbie
mentions in EFNY?
Carpenter: No Map-to-the-Stars Eddie isn't the same.
Armitage: Ever think of adapting a Lovecraft story, (Dunwhich
Carpenter: Lovecraft: Yes, I'd love to do a Lovecraft story. I'm not sure which
Hicks: Please, John, the world needs more Lovecraft
Carpenter: Hicks: I agree! How about The Color Out of Space? How about
The Thing on the Doorstep? How about Beyond the Wall of Sleep?
Garth: What movie do you think is or will be your biggest
Carpenter: Garth: I believe that my upcoming film will be my biggest hit and I'm
proud to announce tonight that I'm leaving motion pictures to go into
Overlord: Acting or producing?
Talus: Wow, Snake Does Dallas!
Gabhriel: In front of or behind the camera?
Carpenter: I will be producing, directing, photographing, and acting.
Hicks: How about At the Mountains of Madness?
Carpenter: Mountains of Madness? It would be great except that entire
area has been well explored, we'd have to re-set it in another place. (smiles)
Armitage: Who do you read? Beside Lovecraft obviously!
Carpenter: My main interest in reading is non-fiction. Primarily sub-atomic
Armitage: Hence the references to tachyons in Prince
DJ_Dave: A number of people have commented on "The Wave"
in the commercial and previews with Snake surfing. They say the digital effects
look kinda cheap. Any comments?
Carpenter: The people who say that about the Wave look kind of cheap to me.
However, I think you should make up your own mind and plunk down your money at
the box office starting next Friday.
Michael: The stills I've seen from The Thing look
great (FX's that is). Has Rob Bottin done any of your other movies?
Carpenter: No, Rob hasn't.
DJ_Dave: Heh. What do you think about films using more and
more digital effects over tradition methods? (And don't worry, I plan on going
as soon it gets here.)
Carpenter: I think that digital effects are simply another tool to be used when
appropriate. They are no better nor worse than the old-fashioned way.
Jskip: Which actor did you like working with the most?
Carpenter: I have several favorites including Kurt Russell, Jeff Bridges, and
Talus: Will you ever bring Jack Burton back for more big
Carpenter: Again, Big Trouble was not Big Hit.
Michael: Have you found it easier to do FX's today? (Let
me restate that - more enjoyable) with computer technology than in the earlier
Carpenter: Digital effects are no easier than old-fashioned effects. It's all
Carpenter: It's not like ordering pizza.
KOOLKING: Why is Snake so stupid? He get explosives in his
arteries in the first film and a virus in the second.
Carpenter: The reason he's so stupid has to do with why he lost his eye and I
can't really tell that on the internet because of its grotesque and hideous
Garth: Mr. Carpenter do you like the internet?
Carpenter: I love the internet so much that I can barely stand it.
Armitage: Who do you like as far as directors go?
Carpenter: My favorite all-time director is Howard Hawks.
Glasfiber: Do you like Star Wars?
Carpenter: I love Star Wars!
Axell: How about answering someone else's question Mr.
Carpenter: Axell, I'm sorry, I would love to answer your question, but I can't
remember what it is; would you say it again?
Axell: Are you going to release a Special Director's
Version of The Thing that has been digitized and includes a interview
with you like you did with Escape?
Carpenter: Axell: Yes, I am going to do that. See, I answered your question.
Axell: Thank you much. Can you give me a release date?
Carpenter: I don't know the release date, but if you will send money to me care
of The Sci-Fi Channel, I will try to find out. (just kidding - moderator)
Garth: John do you collect anything?
Carpenter: Garth: I do. I collect lobby cards from old movies.
Michael: Not to be inconsiderate, but I don't care to much
for most sequels I see. I haven't seen past Halloween 2 so I don't know
if you had a hand in them. Did you?
Carpenter: Michael: No. Nothing past #2
BigFan: How did you feel about the series of Halloween
sequels to your original film?
Carpenter: Not good.
Glasfiber: Is there any chance for more installments of
Carpenter: Glasfiber: Yes. Showtime has shown an interest in doing more, and now
that they have paid me my share of the residuals, I have shown interest in doing
Jayboy: How did you start in directing, school?
Carpenter: I started directing in film school.
DJ_Dave: What would you say is the best way for an amateur
film director to get a film to the public?
Carpenter: Write a film that all the studios want to make. Sell it. Then write
another one and this time insist that you are the director.
Talus: Will Peter Jason or Buck Flower be making an
appearance in Escape From L.A.? I love how you use a lot of familiar
faces in your films.
Carpenter: Talus: Peter Jason is in Escape.
SonOfWorf: Mr. Carpenter: How on earth did you ever come
up with the idea for Mouth of Madness? It was a totally freaky movie...
Carpenter: SonOfWorf: I didn't. It was written by Michael De Luca who happens to
be the head of production at New Line Cinema.
SonOfWorf: Oops, my mistake... were the visuals your idea?
Carpenter: God, I hope so!
Jayboy: How can you handle all these questions?
Carpenter: I have lots of drugs, lots of beer, lots of babes.
Overlord: I hope you brought enough for everybody!
Jayboy: Next, Movie Escape From the Net?
Carpenter: Next movie, Escape From Earth. (smiles)
SonOfWorf: Escape From Earth... I can see it now...
("Hmmm... good-bye to the human race!")
Garth: Have you ever thought about doing a movie about the end of the world?
Carpenter: I think about it every night.
Michael: I heard Assault on Precinct 13 was being
included with the release of another movie (Mouth of Madness I believe).
Is this for laser-disc only or do you know? Thanks...
Carpenter: I have no idea.
Question: Is Napoleon (from Precinct 13) like Snake
Carpenter: Yes, Snake, Napoleon, and John Nada (They Live) are all the
same character. They are a part of me.
SonOfWorf: What do you think of Bruce Campbell as an
Carpenter: I love Bruce Campbell.
Garth: Do you think Escape From L.A. will top
Jskip: Did you ever like working with Lee Van Cleef on
Escape From New York?
Jayboy: I can't take this anymore.
Carpenter: I can't blame you.
Sponge: Are you planning an historical costume-drama?
Carpenter: Not on the immediate horizon.
Question: Would you like to break from your "genre" type
Carpenter: I *am* type cast.
SonOfWorf: Did you or Kurt have Bruce in mind when you
scripted the Surgeon General?
Glasfiber: Have you ever considered shooting a movie in
65mm or in the IMAX format?
SonOfWorf: Ooooh... IMAX (drooool).
Talus: Will there ever be a reunion of the "Coup de Villes"?
Carpenter: The Coup de Villes are all movie directors now and don't have
time to make rock & roll, however, if you would like to send money to me care of
The Sci-Fi Channel, I will see if I can arrange it.
Te: Are there any movies you regret not being able to make
(Pincushion, Shadow Company, etc)?
Carpenter: Yes. Both the ones you mention.
Jskip: Did you ever see the Saturday Night Live skit
Escape From Escape From New York?
Michael: Ever thought of doing a movie with John Woo?
Carpenter: No, but I met him the other day. He's a smoker just like me.
Question: The cabby in EFNY: Did he get stuck there
because of some crime?
Carpenter: He just stayed because he liked driving a cab.
Glasfiber: Are there any current filmmakers you admire?
Carpenter: I really like Quentin Tarantino.
Te: Do you have any dream projects?
Carpenter: Dream projects? I told you, I want to go into pornography. (smiles)
BigFan: What made you decide to do a remake of Village
of the Damned?
Carpenter: Universal Pictures offered it to me.
BigFan: Good answer!
Garth: John do you like wrestling?
Jskip: Would you ever do a movie with John Travolta, Bruce
Willis, or Jackie Chan?
Armitage: Do you feel anyone is producing decent sci-fi
Carpenter: Sure. Sci-fi is having a resurgence. Let's celebrate it!
Question: Other than Body Bags, is there any TV
project you'd like to do?
Carpenter: Not unless it were an extensive H.P. Lovecraft project.
Te: What happened to your Sci-Fi Buzz commentaries - I
only saw one?
Carpenter: Buzz commentaries: The reason I shot only 1 is because I was only
asked once. I would love to do more.
Armitage: What is it about Lovecraft you like?
Carpenter: Armitage: He's one of the modern masters of horror.
Jskip: Have you ever watched any Japanese Animation?
Carpenter: Jskip: Yes. Akira is fantastic.
Jskip: If anybody ever asked you to do a live action
Akira, would ya? If you did who would be in it?
Carpenter: No live action Akira for me!
KOOLKING: Why is Escape From L.A. so much like
Escape From New York?
Carpenter: Why not?
Axell: John, who do you think is tougher: Snake or McReady?
Carpenter: OK. Snake is more of a fantasy character. He's the kind of guy like
an old-time Western outlaw. McReady is a real fully realized human being and I
think it is Kurt Russell's best performance.
Questar: Mr. Carpenter are you into the occult?
Carpenter: Questar: No.
KOOLKING: Where did you get the idea for They Live?
Carpenter: They Live is based upon a short story called 8 O'Clock in
the Morning written by Ray Nelson.
MsDracula: Are you going to be making any vampire movies?
Carpenter: Aren't there enough already?
Michael: I love your quote "Real life is scarier than any
movie these days." So true...
Carpenter: Thank you very much.
Questar: Are you going to make any comic oriented movies?
Carpenter: I'm in negotiations right now to direct a science-fiction adventure
based on a comic book and a role-playing game.
Michael: If I wanted to see The Resurrection of Bronco
Billy, how would I go about obtaining it? Thanks... Heard you won an academy
award for it... Congrats (although 26 years belated.)
Carpenter: I would be glad to send you a personal copy of Bronco Billy if
you will simply put lots of money in the mail and send it to me care of the
Glasfiber: To what extent have you made Escape From
L.A. similar to Escape From N.Y. and in what ways have you "upgraded"
Carpenter: When we started to make the film, Paramount told us that the majority
of the audience out there (according to their market research) had not seen
Escape From New York (I'm serious). So, what we did was make a movie that
re-introduced the elements of the first movie to a brand-new audience and tried
not to piss off fans of the first one.
Daisy: Was that a (just kidding) about sending money to
the Sci-Fi Channel? (- legal department)
Carpenter: Daisy: Well it depends on how much money you'd like to send (yes, of
course it's a joke).
Question: Why the 69th St. Bridge in EFNY?
Carpenter: A cheap adolescent joke...
Glasfiber: When watching movies on TV, do you prefer them
letterboxed or pan&scan?
Carpenter: Glasfiber: I cannot watch a pan&scan movie...
KOOLKING: Is it true that Isaac Hayes wanted to play
Duke's twin brother in this one?
Carpenter: Yes, and I told him "No way man! You're dead!"
Questar: Any plans to make computer games?
Carpenter: I have no plans to make computer games, but if they offered me
Doom, I'd make it in 2 seconds.
Michael: Do you find you have more of a European following
or an American following? Thanks.
Carpenter: I find that I am accepted more as a serious director in Europe than
MsDracula: How many more movies do you plan to make before
Carpenter: MsDracula: Well, I plan to make several when I go into porn, since we
shoot them in 1 day. Just think of it, so many days, so many films, so much fun.
Deeznutz1: What do you think of Hollywood's new pair of
sci-fi sweethearts Dean Devlin & Roland Emmerich?
Carpenter: Deeznutz1: Well, they're not doing to bad, are they? They've made 2
hit films in a row and they're about to take on Godzilla. What more do you want?
Axell: Why was "Cabbie" the only person to like being in
Carpenter: Right now, I'm sitting amongst a room full of New Yorkers, so I
cannot answer that question.
Question: I'd heard that originally the idea for EFNY
was EFLA, but because of budget constraints, you couldn't do the whole
Carpenter: I wrote EFNY right out of film school and it was always
supposed to be New York because at the time, NY was somehow, the total evil
center of America, but now, LA has taken over that place.
Carpenter: Pause for director's time-out.
Carpenter: Thanks guys for hanging in, but I am being dragged awawy forcefully
to get drunk with Kurt Russell. So good night, good luck, and be sure to plunk
your bucks when Escape From L.A. premieres near a theater near you this