The Ramones were a great bunch of guys. They were very quiet, very shy. They were a little in awe of the filmmaking process, probably because we started at 7 a.m. I do remember the very first day of shooting, I met them and did the scene in the bedroom where Joey sings to me, and they were all scattered around my bedroom in my little fantasy scene. That was the first scene we shot of the movie. That scene is kind of a strange way to start a movie. “Okay, get undressed, and these weird guys in leather jackets and ripped jeans are going to sing to you.”
I guess I was a nice girl with a nice figure, because I just had to wear a bathing suit and dive in the pool. I was kind of candy, eye candy.
The Jawbreaker writer-director Darren Stein was a huge fan of Carrie and Halloween. He was like a kid. He was 26, so he was such a fan. He wanted William Katt and I, from Carrie, to be in the movie as the parents. We had a little bit more that ended up on the cutting-room floor, but that was kind of fun. Everybody that worked on that movie was really cool, including the girls, especially the new girl, the blonde, Judy Greer.
We’ve become great friends with Rob Zombie, and I gave him my original script for Halloween for his 40th birthday. Like, Nicolas Cage was there with a shrunken head he brought as a gift, all these things, and I’m thinking, “What can I give Rob Zombie? This is very weird.” And I just happened to look at my pile of scripts and I went, “My kids don’t need all these. I think I’ll give him my original Halloween script, since he told me that was his favorite movie, and I was his favorite actress from that time period.” I said, “He deserves to have that.”
John Carpenter was very gentle. He was very tender. He really liked talking to actors. He really wanted you to be comfortable. He waited until you were ready to do the scene, and he has a lot of confidence.
I think Japans work really hard, and when they have a chance to listen to music, they just go crazy. And the Ramones would be a natural fit for Japan, because Japan invented the cartoon, and the Ramones, especially in Rock ‘N’ Roll High School, are very cartoonish. So it’d be a perfect group for them.
My strategy to show caricature idea of American youth culture, which I think worked after talking about it for so many years, is that I had only a few things. I wanted to buy my own wardrobe for Rock ‘N’ Roll High School, which of course they said “Yes” to, because their clothing budget was $200, and I ended up spending my whole salary – which I think was about $2,100 – on my clothes. And also, any time I was onscreen, I wanted to have as much energy as I possibly could. I think it just really worked for the character.
I was supposed to do The Joy Of Sex with John Belushi, but the week before we were gonna start filming, he died. So that was really tragic. That put the whole project on the shelf.
I did Our Winning Season movie that Joe Roth produced, and Joe Ruben, who did Sleeping With The Enemy. He’s a really cool director. That’s where I met husband Dennis Quaid. Dennis and I met on location in Georgia, and I always thought that was a really great movie. That movie should be included, because it’s a really terrific. It’s a trite saying, but it’s a real, great coming-of-age piece, and all the actors are wonderful.
Carrie was a pretty big-budget movie at a real studio, with a director that had already done a bunch of things and had some notoriety, and Stephen King was the writer. He was banned from the set, but that was kind of an A-plus production. So that was my first experience.
When John Travolta had the opportunity to do The Boy In The Plastic Bubble, he brought me and a couple other people from the movie to just be the students and have some parts, because he wanted to help us out. I thought that was really sweet.
Brian De Palma was one of the rare directors who wanted us all to go to dailies. It was like a party. After shooting The Boy In The Plastic Bubble, we’d all walk over together, at like 5 or 6 o’clock, to the little theater. And we’d sit down and watch the dailies from like, the day before. And John Travolta, whenever I came onscreen, he was just laughing hysterically. He just thought I was a riot.
I wasn’t especially a Broadway type. I liked film acting better. I didn’t want to stay up late. I wasn’t a smoker, a drinker, or a drug-taker. So that kind of Broadway life – not that that’s what they do. But they do stay up late and hang out at Joe Allen’s until 2 in the morning, and that just wasn’t for me.
For Coca-Cola, they wanted a hippie-looking girl to walk around the city with a bucket of chicken sitting in Central Park, sitting on Central Park South, walking along all these different areas of New York that people are familiar with, and just eating this bucket of chicken. I got that commercial too. I think it was just part of my personality that was different from just a regular, nice-looking girl that was more of a model-y type. I injected a little more energy into everything I did.
I had been listening to Jackson Browne, The Eagles, and Linda Ronstadt. Ramones was not my kind of music. Now, I’m a huge fan and I get it. I wasn’t initially a punk-rock fan. Now, I can appreciate what they stood for and who they were.
We were lucky if we got two takes out of a scene in the Rock ‘N’ Roll High School. But the Ramones did get a lot of material cut out. I think Marky Ramone calls Mr. McGree “Mr. McGlube.” But that was sort of endearing and charming, and made you just love the Ramones even more. Sometimes those flubs work in favor of the filmmakers. They just couldn’t get out more than one sentence in a row. It was just kind of weird. I think they were just nervous.
The Ramones couldn’t play in my key. They couldn’t switch keys, so Ed Stasium literally had to play all the instruments for my version of “Rock ‘N’ Roll High School,” and I always thought that was so weird, because it’s not the Ramones playing. It’s the producer, who happened to just be a musician and could play everything.
Four times a year, Warner Bros. Records send out their little statements, and they’re like eight pages with all the countries from all over the world, and I end up getting a check for $48. But I think, obviously, the Ramones make some good money, because they must get a writer’s share from the Rock ‘N’ Roll High School.
Japan has really great fans for all kinds of music. I think they’re keeping metal alive. They’re really great supporters, and they really love music. I think it’s a total outlet for them.
It was always fun auditioning for commercials, because that was the beginning of my career, and me figuring out how I was going to portray myself as an actress vs. a model, because models were very different back then in the early ’70s. They didn’t usually hire models for acting. But I acted first in commercials and then I did modeling, so it was a little different.
Ive always written poetry and lyrics. My first husband, who was a musician, we wrote a bunch of songs together.
With Halloween, the director was this genius wonder boy who was the writer, director, producer, along with his girlfriend. They were this team, and they were making this small movie, and it was just completely different, but it was really inspiring and a lot of fun, and also allowed me to do a lot of improvisation, because they just depended on the girls to expand their parts to bring some real life, being girls ourselves, to the characters.
Joe Roth, who ended up becoming president of 20th Century Fox, he was the producer of Our Winning Season. This was one of his first movies. It’s just a really great, great little film, a lot of good people in it. I don’t know whatever happened to that movie, and why it didn’t get the success it deserves.
I think Harold Ramis is a genius beyond genius, and he’s the nicest guy, funniest guy, sweetest guy ever. So I don’t know if it applies to everybody, but maybe it has to do with your childhood.
I never really liked the lyrics or the sameness of the music. It always seemed to have the same rhythm or whatever. But when it turned a little more rock, I kind of liked it. I like what Kid Rock did to country. I like all the modern, new stuff that’s coming out, and it just so happens that my boyfriend is not a country player, but he was a rock musician.