In this week’s episode, Billy Hayes speaks with Joanna about his experiences that led to the making of the iconic film “Midnight Express”: the powerful effects of films on culture; surviving his escape from prison; facing the consequences of one’s actions; learning the most important lesson; differentiating fiction and reality in the film; the most hated man in Turkey: coming to peace and reconciliation; telling the story in his own words, his new one-man show “Riding the Midnight Express”; a life-changing ecstatic epiphany; the terrible effects of the war on drugs and the cultural shift taking place in recent years.
Billy Hayes has been writing, speaking, acting, and directing since the best-selling book he wrote about his experience of survival and escape from a Turkish prison, “Midnight Express”, was made into an Academy Award-winning film in 1978. Locked Up Abroad, the National Geographic series, shared Hayes’ story in 2010 with a new world audience, and in 2013 Peter Schaufuss presented his powerful ballet version of Midnight Express at the London Coliseum. Hayes has acted extensively in film, theater, and television, and is a member of the Actor’s Studio West Playwright/Director Unit. As an artist member of the Inside Out, Hayes used theater skills therapeutically with both at-risk youth and disturbed, incarcerated patients in a hospital setting. He has also shared the lessons of his life experience mentoring homeless youths at the L. A. Free Clinic, and in an extensive speaking engagements across North America. Hayes is currently touring his one-man show, “Riding the Midnight Express”, which premiered at the 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.