Billy Hayes of 'Midnight Express' Interviewed

Midnight Express is a 1978 biographical film, based on the book of true accounts of Billy Hayes, a young American sent to a Turkish prison for trying to smuggle Hashish out of Turkey to the US. However movie deviates especially in the portrayal of Turks from the book to a level to be criticized by many including Billy Hayes himself. It stars Brad Davis, Irene Miracle, Bo Hopkins, Paolo Bonacelli, Paul L. Smith, Randy Quaid, Norbert Weisser, and John Hurt. The screenplay was adapted by Oliver Stone from the book by Billy Hayes and William Hoffer. Alan Parker directed and David Puttnam produced. The film's title is prison slang for an inmate's escape attempt.

There are some differences between the cinematographic and the literary versions of Midnight Express. Major liberties were taken with the real events which have upset viewers. Here are some obvious liberties taken with regard to the book:

* In the movie Billy Hayes is in Turkey with his girlfriend, whereas he was alone in the original story. Nevertheless, in the movie, the love story is a main dramatic driving force.

* The rape scenes are also fictional. Billy Hayes never claimed to be raped by his Turkish wardens or that he ever suffered any sexual violence. He did engage in consensual sex, which is alluded to in the film.

* Billy Hayes never bit out anyone's tongue.

* The endings of the cinematographic and literary versions of Midnight Express differ from one another. While in the narrative, the protagonist is moved to another prison from which he escaped by sea, in the movie this passage has been replaced by a violent scene in which he murders the warden-in-chief.