Dr. A. Benway is the main antagonist of Naked Lunch and the book that it is based on. In the works of William S. Burroughs, Benway is portrayed as a psychopathic, sadistic madman who often kills his patients and has a disdain for junkies. In Cronenberg's film, Benway is the mysterious head of a drug manufacturer called Interzone Inc. He is portrayed in the film by Roy Scheider.
Events of Naked LunchEdit
After exterminator William Lee becomes addicted to his own bug powder, one of his friends recommends that he visits a Dr. A. Benway to try and fight his addiction. Lee pays Benway a visit and Benway prescribes him some black meat powder, an exotic drug made from giant centipedes. Lee becomes addicted to the black meat powder.
After Lee moves to "Interzone" to investigate Interzone Inc., he suspects Fadela is running their operations but is told by his Mugwriter that Dr. Benway is the head of Interzone Inc. Unable to find any trace of Benway in Interzone, Lee confronts Fadela at Interzone Inc.'s headquarters. Fadela reveals herself to be Benway in disguise. Benway is eager to recruit Lee into Interzone Inc. and Lee agrees on the condition that Benway releases Joan Frost. Benway then sends Lee to the state of Annexia for his first assignment.
Behind the scenesEdit
Benway's character in the film is obviously based on the Dr. Benway character from Burroughs' works. However, in the film, Benway is a rather eccentric character that does not come across as psychopathic or sadistic; in the book, Benway is a morally bankrupt character who violently murders some of his patients. He is also one of the few characters who is lifted directly from the book and is not based on a specific person from Burroughs' life.