Billy Hayes was the inspiration for the 1978 movie Midnight Express with Brad Davis. After escaping from a Turkish prison and making his way back to America, Billy wrote a book about his experiences, and Hollywood came a-knocking — a relatively unknown Oliver Stone wrote the screenplay.
Now Billy’s got a new one-man show which recently previewed in Edinburgh called Riding the Midnight Express which talks about some of his life experiences in greater detail.
Topics covered in the interview:
- My introduction, losing weight, “ghost” tape (0:00)
- Here’s Billy Hayes – his stage show (6:39)
- What did Billy aspire to after college… and the church (13:16)
- Surviving in prison and feeling invincible (19:44)
- Drug laws – “consensual crimes” (22:29)
- Thinking about escape and learning valuable lessons (30:09)
- Realities of Turkish prison – the smell of fear (33:31)
- How close some of the things in movie are to reality – (40:20)
- Addressing accusations of racism in the movie (42:40)
- Oliver Stone reads early galley of the book (47:44)
- Why the real escape not in the movie and “crime of honor” (51:54)
- A little more about the prison island and 30 year sentence (55:35)
- Where the title came from – “Midnight Express” (59:56)
Billy’s got some stories! Enjoy.
Also… I talk a little about my newest quest to lose weight. Gonna post my weight when I started this new “regime” on the 7th of November (285 lbs), so I can’t get out of doing the work! Will post my next goal of 275 as soon as I reach it. Boy, Turkey Day set me back a bit. I was almost there.
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