Interview with Adrienne Barbeau, as part of our
special series of interviews with 'Women in Horror' 5.9.04
A truly inspiring women, Adrienne has been in the industry for over forty years
[can you even believe that?] and continues strongly with two movies recently
and a starring role in the hit HBO series "Carnivale"...
"When they sent Creepshow to me... I read it and I thought, 'Oh
I can't do this. This is too gory"
Official Site | IMdB
HorrorWench [HW]: Thank
you for the opportunity to speak with you, and congratulations on your Satellite
Adrienne Barbeau: Oh, thank you. It was fun. Unfortunately I wasn't
in town to attend, and didn't win, but it's ok, it was nice as they say.
HW: You've been regarded
as a 'queen' in horror since The
Fog. How do you feel about the royalty status? And do you feel that The Fog
is haunting you or your career, or do you enjoy the recognition and status that
movie has brought?
Adrienne: Oh, I loved it. I loved doing the film, I loved the character,
and I always get a kick out of anybody that responds to it. When I think of The
Fog, I think of the whole visual of it, because we fell in love with that area
of the country. I'm from that area to begin with, but wasn't familiar with Point
Reyes, and the Point Reyes seashore. So when I think of The Fog, I'm glad that
people have seen it to see that gorgeous countryside.
HW: The view from the
lighthouse was amazing...
Adrienne: Yes. Not easy to film there though...
HW: No, I've heard horrible
things about just millions and millions of stairs to get there [both laugh] Quite
a trek for those scenes
Adrienne: Yes, and if the wind gets above 15 knotts or something,
the Park Service Rangers shut it down. So we were at the mercy of the elements.
There were a couple days when we couldn't film what we were supposed to film.
HW: So how do you feel
about being a 'queen' in the genre?
Adrienne: [laughs] I don't know that I am, if I am it's great [laughs].
I am not a horror film fanatic, I've never even seen Psycho all
the way through. So, from the point of view of a fan, I came into all of those
things completely ignorant. But the great thing about horror films is that they
give you the opportunity to play emotions and characters that you might not in
a straight film. I'm just glad people think of me at all [laugh] I'm glad they've
seen the films. I have an affection for all of them.
HW: You have worked in
every genre, but seem to always return to horror - do you continue to do work
in this genre because you've been typecast or is it by choice?
Adrienne: It's a little bit of both. People think of me and they
... well if they're casting horror films I'm probably on someone's list because
that's what I started out doing, so that instigates the process and someone sends
me the script. Often times, horror films have fun things in them that are attractive.
One of the last ones I did was The
Convent, which really was... well I think the role was written with me in
mind. It was sort of a take off on some of the earlier characters. I think the
character is sort of a take on Snake plissken, actually. [Kurt Russell's character
from Escape from
New York] It was fun to do because it was witty, and ... I was just saying
to my husband, 'I'm getting too old, no one's going to hand me M16 again [laughs].
I'm not going to blow away the bad guys.' And then this script came along, and
I had a great time with it.
HW: A female 'Snake'
Adrienne: Something about the dryness of her humor, and well, maybe
there is a little bit of Maggie in there too, from 'Escape'. Mike
Mendez, who was the director, was a big fan of John
Carpenter's and I think he wrote the role with me in mind, and with that
HW: I'm going to be interviewing
several women in horror, and you're all going to be asked this next question.
How do you feel about women in horror? Do you feel that the 'damsel in distress'
stereotype is being overused, or has Hollywood let women evolved into stronger,
more useful, characters?
Adrienne: [laugh] You know I'm not the person to ask because I
don't watch horror, from a fan's view.
HW: But from an actor's
view, your characters have all been pretty strong.
Adrienne: They've all been very strong. I mean, that's the way
people are going to cast me. No one sees me as a victim. An across the board
victim. I may start out that way, but I turn into the strong character just because
that's how I'm perceived.
HW: Would you take a
script where you were an across the board victim?
Adrienne: It would depend on the writing. [laughs] I've never done
it, and I haven't seen many.
HW: Have there been any
horror movies you have passed on that you regretted afterwards, any that you've
done, that you wished you hadn't, and is there anyone that you are just dying
to work with in Hollywood?
Adrienne: Oh, no. I mean there have been horror movies I've passed
on, but I've never regretted passing on anything. Often times I choose my movies
for reasons that no one else would recognize or realize. It's filming in Moscow,
and I want to go to Moscow [laughs]. It starts with the work, and the characters,
and after that it's who's directing and who else is in it. But the first priority
is, 'do I like the script?' And do I want to play this character. But I have
taken things just because, you know I think oh this isn't a great script, or
nothings going to happen with this, but I want to go to Moscow, or I want to
go to Greece.
HW: Have you done any
that you wished afterwards that you hadn't?
Adrienne: Hmm... Something good has always come from every film
I've done. Whether it's a friendship I would have missed out on if I had turned
the role down, or an experience that I had. And there were some I took simply
because I had to work, it was time to pay for food on the table.
HW: But something good
always comes of it...
Adrienne: I think so, for the most part. I did one film where I
met someone that I was able to introduce to another friend of mine, who then
hired that friend. It may even be that. I know right away if I pick up a script
and I don't want to do it and nothing, and no matter where it's shooting, or
how much they're paying, nothing's going to change my mind.
HW: Is there anyone in
Hollywood that you haven't worked with that you would really like to?
Adrienne: Oh sure! Hmmm Sean
Connery [laughs] There's a huge list, I'd be hard pressed to name them all.
Actors that I admire, I think I would like, or just want to know better.
HW: You have done many
movies made for TV and appeared in several series, including your current project, 'Carnivale.'
Do you prefer the small screen to the silver screen? And where do TV Movies fit
in - are they more comparable to television or to film from an actors point of
Adrienne: Oh, more comparable to television, simply because there's
not as much time. They're fast. Most of your directors are concentrating on getting
the work done, and there's not a lot of interaction between the actor and director,
from an acting point of view.
But then you come across something like Carnivale,
which I think is the best of both worlds. We have the luxury of months of exploring
the character, brilliant writing, and very unique characters - that a women my
age might not find written for film. I do a lot of stage work as well, and it
always comes back simply to the characters and the writing. Carnivale is probably
one the best projects that I've been involved with.
HW: It really is amazing...
Adrienne: It is, and I love the character [Ruthie]. I'm just overjoyed
to be doing it.
HW: Your character is
definitely a good time. I was actually taking notes about your character while
I watched it. She seems very strong and yet, very quiet. She would never walk
up to someone and say something [bitter or mean], but if you talk to her first,
she'll give it to you straight and very strong. And I was told to watch after
the 'black out' at the end, so I did and I saw you 'wake up' [character was dead].
Adrienne: [laughs] Yes, a lot of people said to me, 'oh we're so
sorry you're not going to be on the show anymore.' [laughs]
HW: One of the things
that struck me about your character is that she almost seems a little classier,
from the rest of them. Almost a different league from the other carnies - she
dresses more colorfully, her dresses are more complicated - no simple frocks - she's
a much more colorful character. Is that because she used to be an assistant to
a magician so you have those colors anyway?
Adrienne: I think the thinking behind Ruthie's wardrobe is that
these people are performers, we put these pieces [outfits] together - no one
in the depression had money, but the carnie workers sometimes had a little bit
more than other people. We were almost the celebrities at the time. People waited
for months for the carnival to come to town so they could spend what little money
they had on entertainment. But the clothes they put together from pieces of other
clothes, these are things we've dragged around for years.
And this year [2004-5] even more so. In the wardrobe I think you'll see more
of the period influence. The designer actually traveled across the country going
to antique stores, and people's attics and basements, acquiring pieces from the
20's and 30's and before that, and is reworking them into styles that fit the
characters now. All the fabrics and designs are certainly to the period, and
before the period. Ruthie is just towing things from all over the place. She
has sort of a theatrical flair, a gypsy flair let's say, for putting things together.
HW: And the colors are
very gypsy. The rest of them are kind of 'dust bowl'...
HW: Regarding Ruthie,
the snake charmer, you're really enjoying your return to the small screen it
sounds like. How comfortable are you around the snakes?
Adrienne: Oh, I had a great time. I really did.
HW: You don't have any
fears or anything preventing you...
Adrienne: No, no. I found a woman who dances with snakes for a
living, because I wanted to have something choreographed before I showed up on
stage. That was very helpful because she keeps them, she has snakes in her home.
I was able to go there and when I first started out I thought, 'my mother's Armenian
and I grew up doing the belly dances and Armenian dances.' So originally I called
a belly dance teacher and I said, 'I need to come in and take some lessons.'
And she said, "Well, if you're dancing with snakes that's a whole different thing.
That's not belly dancing." So she turned me onto this other woman.
And what my work with her did was enabled me to understand how to work with a
snake. Because, obviously you can't really choreograph a dance number with a
snake, you sort of have to do what the snake wants to do. But it made me comfortable
and understand how I could handle them so they could be comfortable, so that
nobody was going to be in danger or freaking out. And once we started doing it,
the actual scene we filmed for about five hours, and I just had a ball. I had
a great time. Except for the moment when the snake decided it was time to deposit
his digested dinner on my costume. [laughs]
Adrienne: [still laughing] I really enjoyed them. I have two seven
year olds, so occasionally there's been birthday parties where there's been 'The
Reptile Man' and we've handled snakes. But I didn't really have any feelings
about them one way or the other when I signed on. It was part of the audition,
actually. They asked me if I had any problems with snakes, and I said if it were
cockroaches then I would, but snakes - no problem. [laughs]
HW: Are the snakes you're
using non-poison, or are they poisonous with the venom removed/milked out?
Adrienne: I think they were both non-poisonous. Although a snake
bite from a... one was an Australian Milk Snake, and the other one a Diamondback
Boa, and the bites are very painful. They have sharp, long teeth - but there
is no venom. And the trainer talked to me about how if they wrap around your
neck, you need to turn your neck to the side and your muscles are a little stronger
than theirs and will break the hold so that you can get breath. I had a wrangler
there too, if anything happened, someone was there to help unwrap me [laughs].
But they do bite...
HW: You never got bit
Adrienne: I didn't. We kept the snake very calm and the work that
I had done, enabled me to ... if you drop them very fast, if you move them very
quickly, they're going to get freaked out and they will attack. So, it's all
about being calm around them.
HW: How much input do
you have in the ongoing development of Ruthie? Do you portray her as scripted,
or do you rework her with your own flair?
Adrienne: The writers really know this character, inside and out.
If there's a line that I'm not sure Ruthie would say, I certainly can go up and
say let's talk about this. There's certainly a give and take, but I pretty much
do what they're asking. They know these characters so well, and they really have
an ear for their speech patterns and voices, so it's just never come up. [laughs]
I think if I heard they had an idea for Ruthie that seemed really... that I couldn't
justify, then I would certainly have a discussion with them about it. Pretty
much, what's on the page is what you're getting.
HW: Considering all the
work you've done - do you prefer having creative freedom and input with character
development, or is it easier to keep to the scripted personalities?
Adrienne: My input comes if something has been written for a character
that doesn't seem logical to me. Something I don't believe she would do, or if
she's using words that I can't justify, then I would say, 'help me understand
how to make this work' or 'I just don't think that this character would do this,
given these circumstances' and I'd present my reasons why. My first inclination
as an actor is to find a way to make whatever has been written work. Find a justification.
Ok, they've got her doing this and it doesn't seem right to me. Why would she
be doing this? How can I make her do this in a way that I can live with, that
Adrienne can live with as an actor. If I can't then I would go back and say, 'guys - she
wouldn't do this if she just did that.' [laughs] And that hasn't come up on Carnivale
HW: So you're more prone
to question what they've [writers] got, rather than try to add to what they've
Adrienne: Yes. There was a time, early on in the series, when there
was some discussion about something happening, and I said to Dan Knauf 'If that
happens, then Ruthie cannot go back to doing this or that. I would never be able
to overcome what you've written to continue on in the manner in which I have.'
And he understood that and we went from there. But no, I'm not in the writer's
room saying 'I think Ruthie should do this, and I think Ruthie should do that.[laughs]
Let's see what you've got.' They're the writers, they're creating her. I might
know her and the way she works, but I don't know the overall - where they're
all going and how the entire piece can best be served, because I don't even know
what next week's script it. We get them a week in advance, but I don't know where
we're going or anything like that. We didn't know Lodz [Professor Lodz, played
by Patrick Bauchau]
was going to die until probably three days before we filmed the scene.
HW: That was a shocker...
Adrienne: That was a shocker to all of us.
HW: Carivale being a
period piece warrants several questions. First, do you enjoy the period clothing?
I know some really do and others truly hate the discomfort of some of the costumes.
Adrienne: We have a different designer this year, but given the
confines of the period, each of the actors has his say about what they want to
appear in. Aside from the fact that it's going to be 109 degrees [laughs] and
I'm wearing boots and long skirts, I love the look of the show.
HW: Secondly, there is
definitely a 'carnie language' to learn, but is the period grammar itself difficult?
Adrienne: You know I think because I'm one of the older cast members,
it's all very familiar to me. We have a technical advisor that works with the
writers on everything, and the way the language is written helps create the character.
I heard Ruthie instantly when I saw the words on the page, even for the audition.
I understood her immediately. I come from the Central Valley of California, from
farm workers, and I wasn't around during the depression but it was all very comfortable
to me. There was one scene where I had to say to Nick [Stahl,
playing 'Ben'], 'I thought you'd taken a powder.' And we did this scene, and
I must have changed it to 'I thought you took a powder' and the script supervisor
came up to me, or Nick, one of them and said, "But you changed that." And I said, 'Yeah'. "But
it doesn't... well what does it mean??" [laughs] Because they'd never heard the
term.[laughs] Well, I grew up saying, 'oh man, she took a powder.' [laughs] They
thought it had something to do with powdering my face. And of course, initially
it did - it springs from women going to the ladies room to powder their face,
but it means 'I thought you disappeared.' But they had never heard the phrase.
And there's been a couple of instances like that.
HW: When they were talking
about 'crashing' the car they were referring to it as 'cracked' - you're going
to 'crack up' rather than 'crash'... There were key little words that were slightly
different, but you still knew what they were saying. So for you, it was easier
than for the younger people?
Adrienne: Oh yes, I think so.
HW: And you're not 'that'
old by the way...
Adrienne: [laughs] Well, I wasn't around in the 30's [laughs] but
my mother.. In fact my Aunt came to visit the set, she's 88, and she was looking
at the clothes and everything and talking about how when she was going to graduate
high school and all of a sudden the 20's fashion had come in and the girls were
wearing sleeveless dress. Well, her parents were old country Armenian and there
was no way they were going to let her wear a sleeveless dress. They traveled
all over Fresno/Selma and the Central California, trying to find a dress that
her parents would approve of for her to wear to her High School graduation, that
had sleeves. [laughs]
HW: So you grew up hearing
the language and seeing the clothing. Not really on you, but your parents and
Adrienne: Yes, and if there's a phrase we've never heard, the technical
advisor is right there and we get it real fast. But I think the characters are
so much the language. Even in my audition scene for Ruthie. The initial scene
had Ruthie speaking over a grave and she said, "Lord, never met this woman. Don't
know what kind of life she did, whether she sinned or did good." Now that's just
right away. I read those words and I hear the dialogue and the character and
I know who she is. She's not saying 'Lord, I've never met this woman. I don't
know what kind of a life she had'... so I had an understanding of the character
instantly because of the dialogue.
HW: And you're very natural
in the role, to watch you.
Adrienne: Thank you. I'm extremely excited about the second year.
I think the part of the audience that became impatient because things weren't
paying off, or they didn't understand it clearly enough, will be satisfied I
think in the second year.
HW: Yes, I've heard people
say it was too slow, and I didn't find it slow at all. When it 'is' slow, it's
very important back story going on.
Adrienne: Yeah, I find it luxurious actually and it's fascinating.
HW: Now the third part
of my 'period' question, did you do any research into, not just into the period,
but the carnivals of that time? 
Adrienne: I did. I researched freaks, I researched carnivals, I
researched the period, and I researched World War I because we had so many flashbacks
to WWI and I am not a history buff. [laughs] I don't remember studying WWI at
all in high school or college, so I got out 'World War I for Dummies.' [laughs]
Read that back to front. I got a lot of the documentaries that were made during
the 30's by the WPA, and the government documentaries talking about the New Deal,
and such. PBS did a whole series on the depression which I also saw, but then
I found a fascinating book called We
Who Are Not As Others which was a pictorial essay of freaks. People who worked
in the circus or carnival because they had three legs, or because they were Siamese
twins, the hairy woman, the giant - and their life stories. And I looked at the
movie Freaks to
get an understanding. It was very helpful because that's where I came to realize
there were no movies in the 30's, radio was really just getting started, and
the carnival and the church were basically the two forms of entertainment. Carnie
workers, the people that had some physical aberration that made them the sideshow
performer, that made them special. It made their career, made them money in a
time when no one had money. So they were really the celebrities and the movie
stars of the era.
HW: So the people with
abnormalities were considered freaks, but your character is perfectly healthy
and just likes to play with snakes, would you have been considered a freak for
Adrienne: No, I was a sideshow, a carnival performer. My 'son'
the strong man ['Gabriel', Brian
Turk] would be. It was whatever talent they had, whether it was the bearded
lady, that made them a performer, that also made them special. So they were able
to take their deformities or whatever - like the person that has the skin disease
that made him the 'Lizard Man' - and capitalize on that.
HW: Besides your acting
career, you have done voices for video games and cartoons, been a spokesperson
for commercials, narrated - books on tape, documentaries, and an Imax film [The
Living Sea], done book reviews for KABC [Los Angeles AM Radio station], and just
released your self titled debut CD [Adrienne Barbeau]. Quite the resume! How
do you ever find the time to do all that with small children, and how do you
balance the priorities in your career?
Adrienne: Well some of that I chose to do because I had small children.
When my first son was born I basically got out of anything that was long term,
long going, or out of town. I just said to the agency that I can't audition for
Broadway because, even though I was separated from Cody's dad [John
Carpenter], his dad lived here in L.A. and I was not going to take Cody too
far away from him. And I wasn't willing to do a film series because I didn't
want to, especially in the 80's - most series were two characters, Cagney and
Lacy and that kind of thing, so you were working 14 hours a day, 5-6 days a week.
There weren't as many ensemble shows. And I wasn't interested in doing another
So when Cody came along, that's when I started doing a lot of voiceovers because
that's not time consuming at all. Hosted a talk show, early mornings, I was a
substitute co-host [A.M. Los Angeles] and they'd call me every once in a while
to come in for a couple of weeks. And then I was a regular co-host on an afternoon
talk show called 330, with a newscaster here in L.A. It was a local talk show,
I don't think we ran but a couple of months. And short term films, maybe 3 weeks,
nothing I couldn't do without him with me.
When the twins came along ['97]... well I auditioned when they were 5 and Carnivale
- because there are so many of us, about 18 of us - out of a nine day shoot I'm
probably only working 4 days, 5 maybe. So it enables me to have plenty of time
with the children when I'm not filming. And we only do 13 episodes, so we're
not filming as long as a network series.
And then the nightclub act. Because again it was something I could go off for
one weekend a month and do, and not be away from the children. It's something
I do in between everything else, wherever they call me. I've been down in south
Florida every other year or so, doing the condo circuit down there. And I do
corporate gigs and performing arts centers. I do clubs here in L.A. Not long
term. There's a series of theaters in Southern California that have a subscription
base and I'll go in and do just one or two nights in each city. The act itself
is sort of autobiographical and musical, it has songs I like that I hope the
audience will like. A combination of country and jazz and folk and rock, but
they all have some meaning and they've sort of evolved into a show. I was on
Broadway doing "Grease" as 'Rizzo' and I was one of the daughters in "Fiddler
on the Roof", so depending on the audience, I'll do a medley from Fiddler if
I think it's an audience that would enjoy that, if it's younger I do other things.
Singing and a little talking a little comedy, some life stories.
HW: So the songs on your
debut CD, are they directly from your act - being performed before or are they
Adrienne: They're from an early version of the act. In fact, I
did the CD because people kept asking after the show, "Do you have a CD that
we can buy?" We did the CD for that reason, so all of the these songs I have
sung at some point in the night club act. I don't do them all anymore, it keeps
evolving, I do new material.
HW: Of the many many
hats you wear, which medium do you prefer?
Adrienne: Film - well, again it depends on the role. I went back
and did Fiddler again last summer and just loved it. I love that musical. I don't
prefer being on stage simply because I like to wake up at 6:30 in the morning
and by 9:00 at night I'd like to sit down and read. So my energy is not geared
at getting up to perform at 8:00 at night. I like everything about film...
HW: And you're talking 'big
Adrienne: Yeah, well - like Carnivale. Carnivale is the ideal.
It enables me to be with my family, the character is somebody I just love, and
I'm very proud - I think the writing is exceptional. When I say film, I like
working single camera film. Whether that's an ongoing series for HBO, which is
in my mind quite different than an ongoing series for the Networks simply because
the quality is better. We have more time. I think the writing is exceptional.
I mean there are some series that I think are quite good, but there are a lot
of them that I can't even watch. [laughs] So I really enjoy doing that [Carnivale],
I even like sitting around waiting [laughs]. Again, it all comes back to the
writing, really. If you're doing a sitcom that is brilliant and hysterically
funny, and great to do and well directed - that's great fun too.
HW: You've returned to
the characters and writing a lot, you're very character driven. Working on a
series really lets you explore a character more than a big screen movie...
Adrienne: Working on a series for HBO does... [laughs] I haven't
done a network series, just roles on a network series. I think that the quality
of the writing suffers in some cases because you've got too many people telling
you what to do. The writing staff has to answer to the studio, has to answer
to the network. The network wants a certain person on the show that week because
they want this stunt for ratings. It's more structured, it's geared for a more
homogenized audience for the most part. I think there's some wonderful shows
that have some incredible work being done. I thought 'Nip Tuck' was fascinating,
I loved watching 'Nip Tuck.' I'm a huge fan of 'West Wing' - I like watching 'Law
and Order'. There's a BBC series called 'MI-5' that I thought was excellent,
that I really enjoyed. That's about the extent of my viewing. And the 'Sopranos'
of course. [laughs]
HW: So working on an
HBO series is the best of both worlds?
Adrienne: I think so, I really do. The down side is we're not getting
paid as much, and we don't make as many episodes for a season. But it's a trade
off. I'd rather be doing something I love where it's just a joy to go to work
and not be making as much money, as raking in the bucks and be miserable because
I'm not proud of the product.
HW: Is there anything
you still want to tackle? Anything that you've left behind that you would like
Adrienne: I'd love to do more features. I'd love to go back into
the recording studio, I really enjoy recording. I think it would be a challenge
to do Vegas. I don't know that I would enjoy it over the long term. Year's ago
I opened for Roy Clark in Reno, and I'm not really ... it's not first on my list,
but it would be an interesting experience. I love doing animation. I don't know,
I hope that Carnivale goes for 10 years.
HW: Not interested in
directing or producing?
Adrienne: Not at all, no. I am writing what may be a book. I do
like to write. I am limited in my talent, I have talent, but I'm not a novelist.
I have a couple of publishers that are interested and I'm exploring that, but
that's more for my pleasure. I wish I could just go off some place and sit down
and write the 'great mystery novel' like Robert Tannenbaum or John Sanford or
Robert Parker, any of those, but that's not my strength.
HW: Other than 'Carnivale'
what do you have for future plans? Will we see you on the big screen in the horror
genre any time soon?
Adrienne: I don't have anything. Carnivale now, I'm committed to
that, we'll probably be filming until November. After that I have no idea.
Reckoning just finished, it's in post?
Adrienne: I don't know where that is - I think they finished it.
I don't know if they have a distributor or release date on that at all. Jeff
Busey, and myself - it's a western. We were in Tucson, it was hot, but I
had a good time.
HW: You're used to that
Adrienne: I am [laughs]
HW: Going back to the
Women in Horror 'thesis', Is there any parting advice that you have for women
trying to enter the genre?
Adrienne: You should watch it. I think it's good to know the directors,
who are the best directors in the genre. Certainly at least have a working knowledge
of who is doing what, and whether you like their material or not.
I just got offered one, not to long ago, and I had never heard of the director.
When I mentioned it to my son he told me who he was, and it was someone who's
image in the genre is very specific. As I read it, it wasn't something I was
going to do, not my kind of a horror film. So yes, be familiar with the genre
and the people that are working in the genre. I'll give you a story...
When they sent Creepshow to
me, when George [Romero]
sent that to me. I read it and I thought, 'Oh I can't do this. This is too gory,
this is terrible.' And Tom
Atkins is a close friend, and George was going to use Tommy in the film,
and Tommy knew George from Pittsburgh. I called Tom and said, 'Tom, this is really
bloody and gory - I don't think I want to do this.' And he said, "Adie, it's
a cartoon! Have you ever seen any of George's work? It's going to be done very
over the top like a cartoon, very tongue in cheek." And I was taking it very
literally. And then of course I talked to John [Carpenter] and again, I didn't
know the genre, and John said, "Are you kidding? The opportunity to work with
Romero? Of course you're going to do it." [laughs] But it wasn't until I understood
George's take on it that I was able to go back and read it and see, 'oh ok, it's
supposed to be funny, larger than life.'
So had I been more familiar with the genre prior to reading it, I would have
had that understanding. I might have turned it down if I hadn't have gotten more
information, and that would have been a tragedy. George and his wife became very
close friends, and it's one of the characters I loved the most out of everything
that I've done. I just loved it!
HW: And that was my next
question. Of all the characters you've done in the genre, what was your favorite?
Adrienne: Well, it was 'Billie' in Creepshow, only because she
was so outrageous. I showed up at rehearsal the first day and said to George, 'Look
I don't know what you want. I'm going to do what I think you want me to do, but
if I'm not right you better send me home because I don't know what's going on
with her.' It was also scary in that I really had to trust George, he wanted
it big, and it was not the way I had ever acted before - to be that outrageous
with a character. I just loved it. I fell in love with Pittsburgh, I fell in
love with Chris and George. My greatest affection I think is for 'Billie' in
Creepshow. I really like 'Maggie' in Escape [..From
New York] just because of the way she looks and the way she talks.
HW: She's tough, she's
almost Rizzo reincarnated...
Adrienne: Yes, yes. Love that character. And I enjoy watching The
Convent, I suggest it to people all the time because it's such a hoot, it's
just so silly. And again, I started reading it and thought oh I don't know, and
then I came to my character, Adult Christine [laughs] and it's just silly. Just
so much fun and Mike
Mendez, on a very limited budget, did a great job for the kind of thing it
is. It's great fun. I was really sorry it didn't have a wide release, it went
right to video because of politics. I think had it hit the movie theaters it
would have been huge - we won festival awards all over the world.
But yes, I can't imagine that there's anyone saying, I want to specifically be
a horror film actress - but if there is, then learn the genre.
HW: And general advice
for a woman trying to get into Hollywood right now?
Adrienne: Learn yourself. I think the more you know about yourself,
whether that's through therapy or meditation or reading, the more you know who
you are, and what you're strengths are, and what you're weakness are, and what
is driving you - in all aspects of your life. Why you react a certain way in
a certain situation. I think the more you explore yourself, the better chance
you will have for success. And that covers everything. The personality you carry
into an audition situation. Knowing how you will react under stress. Maybe you
walk in and there's five other actresses who look just like you, so suddenly
you go to a place of anger, 'why am I here', insecurity. You carry that into
the audition room and you don't get the job. That doesn't belong in the audition.
So the more you know who you are, and can make choices that will best serve you
in any situation, I think the better off you are.
HW: Jumping back to working
with George [Romero], you worked with him on Two
Evil Eyes as well.
HW: You've worked with
George Romero, you've worked with John Carpenter - two of the 'best' genre directors
out there. Is there any personal reasoning why you have not worked with John
since the divorce? Or has it just not come up?
Adrienne: He hasn't asked me [laughs] He just hasn't asked.
HW: I noticed that it
just stopped dead there [divorce] and you were such a good pairing on film...
Adrienne: I think we are. I would love to, would be happy to work
with John again. It just hasn't come up. I think John is a brilliant director,
I would work with him again in a heartbeat, on the right project. Let's put it
that way - in a heartbeat on the right project. It has to be the right character.
HW: He's an amazing director - the
two of you together in the Fog... now I'll tell you a story! I watched the Fog
when I was about 10, I wasn't supposed to, snuck downstairs to watch it. And
that night I sat straight up in my sleep and shouted 'What about the Fog' and
my parents, 25 years later still give me grief for this [Adrienne is laughing
=)] My daughter heard the story one day and questioned it,she was 10. I said
you know what, it's time - I'm going to let you watch the Fog. She watches modern
mostly horror, and granted she lives with me and is kind of jaded, but that one?
You got her too. It's a classic... and a multi-generational memory
Adrienne: That's great!! [laughing] I'm glad to be a strong memory...
HW: Is there anything
else you'd like to discuss, particularly regarding Carnivale, that you can discuss?
Adrienne: I would like your readers to know that I think the second
season is going to be even more satisfying than the first. It's going to be a
little more fast paced perhaps. It will be less confusing, more understanding
of what's going on. So if we lost anybody that first season because they got
frustrated, I think they should give us a try again. We won't be on until January,
I think, but... they'll probably rerun it before that and then I 'think' we run
HW: And when do you start
Adrienne: May 10th - and I assume we'll probably go through November.
It's 13 episodes and it's about 9 days an episode. Last year we started mid-January
and we went to mid-July and we did 12, so I think it comes out to October or
November, something like that...
HW: Wow, we've covered
Adrienne: We've covered everything!
HW: Thank you so very
much for taking the time to talk to me.
Adrienne: You're welcome. Bye...
Sidebars and chitchat edited out [especially at the end
there]... thank you very much to Adrienne for a wonderful conversation and yet
another memory of you to file away, and special thanks to Chris for making it
happen! Now everyone make sure you check out her Official
Site and watch for more from Adrienne on the Horror-Web and other women in
For appearances, contact:
Chris Roe, CR Management - 641.693.4502 - firstname.lastname@example.org
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