When you think of final girls of the 80s, veteran actress Meg Foster may not immediately come to mind. But Foster, who was in both John Carpenter’s They Live and The Stepfather 2, is anything but your typical final girl.
In They Live she portrays Holly, who initially is thought to be an innocent bystander of the “fight the power” antics of Nada, played by WWF wrestler Roddy Piper. However, as the movie goes forward, we find that Holly isn’t nearly as innocent as she seems, and by the third act in the film, she kills Keith David and takes on Piper only to meet her demise.
For The Stepfather 2, though, Foster was very much the damsel in distress. She unknowingly falls in love with sociopath Jerry Blake (played by the always brilliant Terry O’Quinn), who takes on the persona of Dr. Gene Clifford once he leaves the sanitarium he’s been in since the conclusion of the first Stepfather. This time he has his sights set on Foster’s character, Carol Grayland, a single mother to a teenaged Jonathan Brandis. It’s up to Carol to piece together the disturbing truth about Gene before she goes through with her plans to marry him. Stepfather 2 also features one of our previously featured final girls, Caroline Williams, who uncovers Gene’s horrifying secrets but meets her demise before she can tell Foster’s character.
In honor of Foster’s achievements in horror by taking on both Piper and O’Quinn, Dread Central recently caught up with the actress to talk to her about her long career and her thoughts on women’s roles in film over the last 25 years as well as what she’s up to these days.
For an actress who managed to stay busy for more than 30 years in Hollywood, it might be surprising that Foster didn’t initially plan to become an actress. “I actually stumbled into acting,” said Foster. “When I was in high school in the 60s, I was mostly interested in art history and theater. My mom asked me what I wanted to do and I wasn’t really sure, but she knew of the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theater in New York so I applied there.”
“Sanford Meisner was an acting teacher head of the school. I told him when I applied that I had no idea what an actor does but I loved the environment of theater. I didn’t necessarily think of acting immediately while at school; I just thought about working inside a theater doing whatever,” Foster added.
In 1987 Foster landed the role of Holly in They Live. The actress spoke about meeting Carpenter and Piper and finding an immediate connection to the duo, “I met with John and Roddy, and they were the most comfortable men in the world to talk to. I was thrilled to be working with both of them. I actually didn’t even put it together at first that Roddy was a wrestler because he was such a normal guy and we just talked on and on about our children.”
Foster spoke about Carpenter’s methods on the set of They Live, saying, “John always told us that if making the movie stops being fun, then we will stop doing it. But it was honestly one of the most fun sets I’ve ever worked on. I felt like I was in a movie in the 50s but set in the future. It was a great piece of work by John, definitely one of my favorites of his.”
When Foster signed on for The Stepfather 2, she found that O’Quinn was a completely different person than the character in the film series.
“Terry couldn’t have been more different than Jerry,” explained Foster. “He was so warm and is a wonderful singer so he made being on set just a lovely experience for me. I thought the first Stepfather was exceptional and terrifying, and that’s due mostly to the acting in the film. Especially Terry, because he’s just chilling to watch whenever he’s on the screen. He’s a consummate professional, and I was lucky to work with him.”
The actress went on to discuss how women’s roles in society were changing and how that became reflected in the roles for women in movies.
“Everything began to change for women’s roles in the 80s I think. Doors started to open, and it was okay to see women portray these different types of roles, not just the girl who gets killed. I definitely think there are better roles for women being written today. I think a lot of that has to do with the evolution of the roles of women in our society,” said Foster.
Foster, who took a sabbatical from acting for about seven years, is now back working in Hollywood. The actress recently completed the thriller Sebastian alongside Williams and Dee Wallace Stone. I asked Foster how it felt to be back in front of the camera.
“I had gone out into the world on my own for a bit,” explained Foster, “but now it feels wonderful to be back to work. It’s really special for me to be working with Caroline again, even though we don’t have any scenes together in Sebastian. But to be on a project with her and Dee is just exciting for me. It felt like home.” Foster tried to give us her take on Sebastian, describing it as “definitely horror, but there is something about Sebastian that is a bit sci-fi with a bit of a karmic flair that makes the film very haunting to watch. That’s all I will say so I don’t give too much away.”
One project that Foster has been rumored to be attached to currently is Go Straight to Hell. However, the actress set the record straight (pun intended) on her involvement.
“I haven’t heard about Go Straight to Hell, and I haven’t been approached by anyone to be a part of it. Sometimes Hollywood can be a bit of the ‘telephone game’ where things get misconstrued. But I’d love to hear from them if they did want me to be involved,” said Foster.
Check out the video below with Foster, who speaks more about her experiences with the legendary Carpenter and on the set of Stepfather 2.
Final Girls: Meg Foster
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Special thanks to Meg Foster for taking time to sit down with Dread Central and to Chris Roe for arranging the interview on our behalf.
Make sure to stay tuned for tomorrow’s final girl, Adrienne King.
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