Interview: Adrienne Barbeau on Her Return to CREEPSHOW
We had the pleasure of sitting down with well-renowned actress Adrienne Barbeau. Of course, we wanted to chat about everything from The Fog, Escape from New York, and Swamp Thing. But we were there on a mission. And so was she. Creepshow is returning with Stephen King and Joe Hill’s short stories, crafting what is sure to be a much-needed continuation of the series from the 80s. Mrs. Barbeau has returned for the series. And to our delight, she will be part of two episodes so far.
Read below to find out more.
Adrienne Barbeau: Nobody thinks they’re a bitch. Nobody walks around thinking they’re a nasty person that nobody likes. You had to understand why Billy was so disappointed. Her life didn’t turn out the way she expected. She married this professor and thought she was going to be the queen of Carnegie Mellon.
Billy is one of my all-time favorite characters. She is iconic. People still come up to me and say, “Just call me Billy.”
But that’s enough about the original. You were going to ask me about this one.
Dread Central: How has it been coming back into the Creepshow universe?
AB: It’s totally different because she is totally different. Also, I get to act with Tobin Bell. We played in Criminal Minds together, where we were an incestuous brother and sister with a deformed child. It is fantastic to work with him again.
DC: How did this project come back to you?
AB: Greg contacted me, or I may have even contacted him to congratulate him on doing it. Then, he came back to me and asked if I could do a role. I said, “Yeah, just say the word.”
DC: What can you tell us about your character so far?
AB: The episode is based on a short story that Stephen King wrote. It appears in a compilation called NightShift. This one is called Gray Matter. It’s a bunch of old people sitting around because a hurricane is coming. A young boy comes in and says that he needs help because his father is acting strange. I don’t want to give much more away.
I’m also doing another episode. I’m doing a disc jockey voice in that one. That one is from Joe Hill.
I was at comic-con, and my second vampire novel had just come out. I was on a panel to be a speaker there. This very tall, nice-looking young man came up and said, “I don’t know if you remember me, but I played Tom Atkins son in Creepshow. My name is Joe Hill. I’m Stephen King’s son.”
I thought, here is Joe Hill. 20 years later. This incredibly successful writer, following in his father’s footsteps. And now, the second one that I am doing is based on one of Joe’s short stories.
DC: How do you prepare for each role you take on?
AB: At some point, I give a lot of thought to the backstory of the character. How did she come to be running this mini-mart? Things like that give me a frame of reference because this woman looks like she owns it, or is running it at least. How did that happen? And what’s her family life? So I just do that for myself.
The original story was set in Maine and I think there is a Northeaster that comes through. But here we have a hurricane and I have a line saying the storm must have made land. So I asked Greg Nicotero, “Where are we?” We are obviously not in Maine. The hurricanes don’t get up that far. I’m very logical in my approach to characters. That would also affect her speech patterns. Are we in the South?
But that gives you an image of maybe what she is wearing on her feet. Then you work that out with wardrobe. I don’t see her doing this, but I do see her doing that. So, it sort of grows from there.
DC: How do you feel seeing remakes and being part of remakes for which you were a part of the original?
AB: It is sort of disorienting or discombobulating even to show up on set, people are saying that they loved you in the original. So, you sort of have to live up to that, seeing that it was really well received. Billy was really well received. So there is that, “Oh my gosh. I really hope I can do as good a job. And I hope that it will be enjoyed as much.” It’s wonderful. None of us in the early 80s, ever thought that what we were doing would forty years later, have such an impact on us, on our lives, and on our careers. We go and do the conventions and people are so appreciative. It’s really wonderful to be associated with the whole genre.
Based on the iconic 1982 film written by Stephen King and directed by George A. Romero, Creepshow stars David Arquette (Scream franchise), Adrienne Barbeau, Tobin Bell (Saw), Big Boi (Scream: The TV Series), Jeffrey Combs (Star Trek, Re-Animator), Kid Cudi (Drunk Parents), Bruce Davison (Longtime Companion, X-Men), Giancarlo Esposito (Better Call Saul), Dana Gould (The Simpsons, Stan Against Evil), Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica, Lucifer) and DJ Qualls (The Man in the High Castle, Supernatural).
The first season will feature segments based on stories by award-winning and acclaimed writers including the Stephen King story “Gray Matter,” “The House of the Head,” by Josh Malerman, “By the Silver Water of Lake Champlain” by Joe Hill, “The Companion” by Joe R. Lansdale, Kasey Lansdale and Keith Lansdale, “The Finger” by David J. Schow, “Lydia Layne’s Better Half” by John Harrison and Greg Nicotero, “Night of the Paw” by John Esposito, “Bad Wolf Down” by Rob Schrab, “All Hallows Eve” by Bruce Jones, “The Man in the Suitcase” by Christopher Buehlman, “Times is Tough in Musky Holler” by John Skipp and Dori Miller, and “Skincrawlers” Paul Dini and Stephen Langford. Note, the story list is not in episode order.