Texas Frightmare Weekend in Dallas kicked off with a special screening of ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK at the Texas Theatre, with none other than Adrienne Barbeau in attendance for a post-screening Q&A.
I discussed with Barbeau her relationship with Maggie, her character in ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK. Maggie is a tough and no-holds-barred woman who doesn’t exist in the film just for Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell) to save her, or just to be girlfriend to The Brain (Harry Dean Stanton). Maggie has her own autonomy, and I was impressed with how relevant her character has remained.
“I love Maggie because everything she is, is in that last scene [in ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK],” Barbeau said. “Her whole moral fiber is in that last scene … I hope that if I were in the same circumstances that I’d make those same choices.”
On the topic of John Carpenter casting her for Maggie:
“I think one of the reasons that John used me, even in SOMEONE’S WATCHING ME! and THE FOG, is that he was attracted to what he called the ‘Hawks-ian woman,’ which were the actresses who appeared for Howard Hawks — Lauren Bacall and Katharine Hepburn. They were strong women, and I think he saw that in the character I played on Maude, so he called me in for the first time and realized that I had some of those qualities.”
On her death scene in ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK:
“What most people don’t know is that that last shot of me dead on the ground was not in the original movie. We finished filming, we went back to LA, John put the film together and he screened it for the AVCO Embassy (distributor and production company of ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK). I’ve been told, I tried to reach [John] a couple of weeks ago to clarify this is the right person that raised his hand to ask ‘what happened to Maggie’ but I’ve been told that it was J.J. Abrams. He was the son of an AVCO executive, and he was in the screening.”
“We went back to our garage, pulled the cars out, I got back in the costume, laid down on the garage floor, they put blood around my head, and that was the very last scene. I don’t know if I should be grateful to J.J., because then Maggie wasn’t available for ESCAPE FROM L.A..”