Short Interview With Kurt Russell (Neon/Issue 5/May/1997/UK) By Anwar Brett

Was it always known after the first Escape film that there would be a sequel?

We didn't want to do sequels at the time - John and I had other projects. Then in '94 I was in Britain promoting another motion picture, and I kept hearing people talk about Snake, asking when I'd play him again. I began to ask, "Do you really think that an audience today would be interested in seeing a character like that?" They said, "Are you kidding? And you could still play him, too!" They were the ones telling me that.

Did you have any doubts?

I thought I could still play him because I really like the character. And only John and I could do him. During that time the Los Angeles earthquake happened, and that put a final blow in defining it as a city of natural catastrophes, so I came back and talked it over with John. I thought we could tap into the fun of LA, because there's a lot of things about the place that struck us as funny.

Does Escape From LA represent futuristic fantasy or worrying prophecy?

Put it this way, no-one would have noticed 50 years ago that I was smoking. Imagine us, in America, sitting around 50 years ago and being told we were not allowed to smoke in a bar. We'd have laughed - it's so funny. You could walk up to a woman 50 years ago and ask her about her fur coat. She'd say, "It's a fur coat; what about it?" That's not so any more. So is it funny that people can't eat red meat in America in 2013? I think it's funny. But where's it all going?

Halfway through, Snake has to shoot hoops to save his life. What was that like to film?

It was tough. I slipped up and fell over a lot because it was a cold night, and the heat was rising up through the ground. They couldn't have wooden a wooden floor, it had to be made out of plastic, and it was heated up - they kept burning it - because it was difficult to get a grip and move around. I decided I should check it out, and they guy doing it said, "Be careful," but I got about so far and - BAM! - I was flat on my back. That really hurt, we still had the whole night to go and my back was killing me. But it was a lot of fun, and there was a lot of money won and lost on the set during that sequence.

Did Snake's eyepatch make life harder?

The hardest thing was the Sunset Boulevard sequence - jumping from car to car, fighting and all that. You don't want to hit the other guy, but you also don't want to swing and miss because that's no good for the camera. Jumping from car to car was tricky, because if I missed the car in front of me then I'd get run over by the car I'd just jumped from. But you get used to it. It certainly gives you a different perspective.