An instant cult classic is about to erupt onto the silver screen. You my dear readers, will be some of the first to bear witness to it’s cat-fighting, hair-pulling, go-go dancing, pile-driving, thrill-a-minute power and fury. What is this film of which I speak? It goes by the name ‘Bitch Slap’ and it will soon be kicking ass and taking names all across the pop culture landscape. The film is best described as a post-modern, thinking man’s throwback to the B Movie/Exploitation films of the 1950s – 70s as well as a loving, sly parody of same. ‘Bitch Slap’ mixes hot girls, fast cars, big guns, nasty tongues, outrageous action and jaw-dropping eye candy and there ain’t nothing wrong with that! One of the films lovely leading ladies, Julia Voth, recently sat down with Icon Vs. Icon‘s Jason Price to discuss her past, her explosive big screen debut in and what is in store for her very bright future.
Prepare to be Bitch Slapped…
Where did you grow up?
I grew up on a grain farm in the heart of the prairies in Saskatchewan, Canada. At one point our nearest neighbor was 2 miles away. It was such a wonderful way to grow up. I go back as often as I can.
When did you decide to pursue a career in film?
Acting/performing was always something I wanted to do. As a child I’d always be playing around with the family camera, making up skits and plays. I always got this thrill out of it, and I knew that was where I was supposed to be.
For those not yet familiar with ‘Bitch Slap,’ what can you tell us about it?
Bitch Slap is a loving homage to the 50’s-70’s exploitation films. We like to describe it as a thinking man’s exploitation film. And it’s just that, it has all the elements we love, hot women, big guns, fast cars, actions of all kinds… But it takes it one step further by having a very smart script, filled with deep full characters, and a really kick ass plot.
I had just moved to LA to pursue acting and only signed with my agent a few weeks prior. ‘Bitch Slap’ was my 5th theatrical audition I had ever gone on. I read for them and I got the callback. I knew from the beginning I really wanted to play Trixie.
When your agent hands you the script for ‘Bitch Slap’, what is your initial
reaction, sight unseen?
First reaction… ‘Bitch Slap’? What kind of movie it this again? I was a little skeptical at first. But I only got to the 20th page of the script when I called my agent back and told him to do whatever it took to get me in. I knew I had to be part of this!
The film pays homage to classic B-Movies and the exploitation era. How
familiar where you with the genres when you started out?
Honestly I wasn’t so familiar with this genre of movies. But as I did research, I definitely become a fan. It is unapologetic and in your face, and I may be biased, but ‘Bitch Slap’ is definitely my favorite exploitation movie… ever!
Discover any good films while researching your parts?
I did find a few good ones; ‘Faster Kill Kill Pussycat’ is great.
Also, and this one is kind of different from ‘Bitch Slap,’ but ‘A Clock Work Orange’ is a classic.
What can you tell me about your characters in the film?
My character Trixie, she is a down-on-her-luck stripper with a heart of gold. She is sweet and endearing, but is still very smart. She knows what she needs and knows how to get it.
Each of you leading ladies play very different roles. What steps did you take to prepare for the roles you would be playing both mentally and physically?
Going into this I knew I would be put in situations I had never been in before. This was my 1st real acting job ever. So I studied very hard, read all the books, spent hours with my coach. But in the end it really comes down to your will and drive to create something spectacular. I believed in myself and have an amazing family who believed in me too. You have to find that strength in yourself to carry a character like this in some of the situations and conditions we did.
How long did you shoot for?
We started in mid-March last year. We had two weeks on green screen here in LA, and then moved to the Mojave Desert for four more weeks.
Speaking of the Mojave, what was it like to shoot in those conditions?
The desert is an interesting place to film a movie. The environment and light, it turned out beautiful, I knew it would. It was nice for about two hours in the early afternoon, other then that is a freezing in the morning, and 40 mph winds in the afternoon. The challenge was to deliver your lines and give a great performance while having your hair blow into your face, sticking to your lip-gloss and glycerin, and having makeup run in every few minutes to wipe the sand out of your teeth. And trying not to look cold when it’s freezing and you have goosebumps all over your arms while wearing a next-to-nothing dress. But all of that considered… I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
They are both amazing people whom I respect immensely. I don’t think I could have had a more supportive, encouraging team around me. Rick and Eric from day one made me feel comfortable and that really there are no mistakes. They gave us the freedom to do what we wanted with our characters and to take them on this journey with us.
There is no shortage of action in the film. Rick Jacobson has said that the
film contains the self-proclaimed “Greatest Chick Fight In Cinema.” What can you tell us about that and what was it like working with Zoe Bell?
Zoe Bell is a Goddess with a mean right hook. She is the mastermind behind the “Greatest Chick Fight in Cinema history”. It definitely lives up to its name. I said it before and I’ll say it again, Zoe can fake punch me in the face any day.
What can you tell us about the stunts in the film?
All I can say is it is nothing like you’ve ever seen before.
There are also a lot of CGI effects in the film. What was it like working in an environment like that?
Working on the green screen is very different than working on a normal set. You are usually reading to a piece of tape or someone far off set, but it’s the challenge that makes it really fun. I’ve seen the final product and it is out of this world. They have created these complex worlds around us, it’s really amazing. It has this ‘Sin City’ meets ‘300’ vibe.
Like any good action film, ‘Bitch Slap’ has a love scene. What can you tell us about that and was it a difficult scene to shoot?
Yes, ‘Bitch Slap’ has action of ALL kinds. I actually had love scenes with both America and Erin in the film. The one with Erin was quite a bit more intense. Naturally I was a bit nervous, but we talked about it before hand, rented “The L Word” for a little research. In the end we basically just decided to go for it, nothing was off limits. We wanted men and women alike to watch our scene and think “Holy S*#T that was the best thing I’ve ever seen!”
What do you think separates ‘Bitch Slap’ from recent exploitation films like ’Grindhouse’?
I think ‘Bitch Slap’ is more authentic to the classic exploitation films.
It’s real, it’s raw, and it’s very well done. Like I said before, it has all the elements of a great exploitation film, with the added bonus of a smart and fun script.
What was the biggest challenge in making the film?
The biggest challenge for me was just working in the elements. I found sand in places I didn’t know it could go! Definitely wasn’t glamorous, and by the end we looked like we just crawled out of a pigpen. But when I see the film, it’s gritty but still so beautiful… that is brilliant film making.
We had an amazing cast. Everyone was amazing and deserves to be recognized. Ron Melendez (who plays Dept. Fuchs) and I have a very tender scene at one point in the film, which is one of my favorite scenes. William Gregory Lee plays “Hot Wire” and he was amazing. I was almost afraid to go up to him on set cause he was so into it. And his sidekick “Kinki,” played by Minae Noji, is absolutely hilarious. They made an amazing team.
With so many strong women and larger than life characters in the film, which is your favorite?
Trixie of course! She was since the first time I read the script. And the 1st time I was in costume, I was hooked. There is so much more to her than meets the eye.
It seems all of you developed a pretty tight bond from working on this film
and you’re very supportive of each other. What has that been like?
Both Erin and America are incredible human beings. I learned so much from them on set. When you are working in such close quarters for 6 weeks you definitely get to know each other very well. I know actresses say this all the time, but for us it really is true. We grew so close on set. And since then, with all the promo we’ve been doing, even closer. I truly feel I have real friends in both of them, and that is a hard thing to find in LA never mind in a fellow actress.
The great thing about this film is that it features such a strong female
cast. Who were some of the actresses that have inspired you over the years?
That is a great question. I have always admired strong, independent women; on a personal level my mother is one of them. Other actresses who inspire me are Anne Hathaway, Angelina Jolie, Julianne Moore… the list goes on. I love it when women stand up with no apologies.
You all have been able to soak in your fair share of comic cons and horror
conventions in the last few months, in promoting the film. What has that
experience and how have fans been reacting to the trailer for ‘Bitch Slap’?
Last year was my 1st time at Comic-Con, I was blown away by the sheer amount of people there, and all dressed up! Erin, America and I had a blast walking around and passing out our poster and buttons. The response from the people was overwhelming. Everyone was embracing it, and asking for our pictures. I can’t wait to go back this year!
I love the artwork as well; actually I have my big Trixie poster hanging in the middle of my room, its take up almost the whole wall… I love it! Well I have a few catch phrases I like, one of my favorites of my own is “What!? I like my pouty puss”. You’ll have to watch the movie to find out when/where I say that one!
I hear that there was a lot of great documentary-style, behind the scenes
footage shot during the making of the movie. What can you tell us about
There is a nearly two hour behind the scenes documentary film of the making of ‘Bitch Slap.’ Daniel Cieplinski was behind the camera and rolling every step of the way, from the hairdressers, to the desert, to fight rehearsal. I can’t wait to see it; it’s going to be brilliant!
Have you been able to see the film in a completed state yet? If so, what did you think of the finished product?
Yes! We just had our first cast and crew screening last week! It was amazing! It blew my expectations. I knew it would be good, and I guess I could be a little biased, but it was CRAZY good. The best movie I have seen in a long time. I am SO proud if it. I want to see it again, like right now!
Plans for a theatrical release? When can we look forward to seeing the film
on the big screen?
Rick Jacobson and Eric Gruendemann are in the process of showing it to distributors as we speak. They stuck to their guns and made the movie they wanted to make, and now that it is done, there is a bidding war going on. We are all very optimistic for a theatrical release!
Any word if we might see you preserved in action figure form?
That would be amazing! We need more strong female action heroines!
You obviously have believed in the project since Day 1, looking back on it
what are your fondest memories of it?
My fondest memory from ‘Bitch Slap’ is just the freedom I felt on set. I had this amazing character in front of me and I was able to bring her to life and play around with her. Not to mention there was a group of people with so much belief and trust in me. It was really the greatest feeling.
What upcoming projects can we look for you in?
I am currently filming the first season for the highly anticipated new show for MTV called “The Phone.” From the mind of Executive Producer Justin Timberlake, The Phone is breaking down the walls of conventional reality TV, combining what’s real and what’s not in an intense race against time. It premieres April 21st, 2009. You won’t want to miss it! Unfortunately I can’t say anymore, but definitely check it out!
What advice would you give to someone just starting out on a career in the
My advice being so new to it myself, is to have an absolutely blinding faith in yourself. Work hard and take criticisms as a positive, not a negative, learn from it. Do at least one thing everyday that will take you one step closer to your goals. And have a support system around you, family, good agents, managers, and friends who will be there for you when this business gets you down, because it will. You have to learn to get up and keep on going.
Anything else that you would like to add?
I just want to thank all the fans and people who have been so supportive of us. From the bottom of my heart… Thank you! This has been a dream come true for me.
Be prepared… You have officially just been Slapped!!!
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“If you only plan on seeing one film this year that is chock-full of crazy characters, bodacious babes and more action than you can shake a stick at, make it this one!” - Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon