The MHM Podcast Network’s Shane Adam Bassett (Follow on: ) interviews Vera VanGuard (Follow on: ), the lovely producer, writer, star of sure to be cult comedy, Breaking Barbi; her self-funded passion project with Director Edward G. Negron (Eddie) and friends.
Self promoting her film on a broad level is an an inspiration in itself, the tough on the outside / soft on the inside experienced stunt person, child hand model (see below) was a delight to talk with about her one of a kind comedy of a LA selfie queen on a mountain hike with tinder date until tragedy strikes and aliens appear, all the while maintaining the perfect pose.
Vera Vanguard is humble, intelligent, strong willed and ambitious with talent that will only soar in future projects.
Our podcast referenced Low budget cult favorite director Andy Sidaris whom Vera or Eddie had no idea who Mr. Sidaris was. ‘We had to look him up’ she says; (oh ok was our initial thoughts). You see we write filthy things without being gratuitous, plenty of tits in Barbi just male tits. Adding; we didn’t have to talk the men into it or reassure them a safe space, they were all excited to be there.
NOW AVAILABLE to stream on AMAZON PRIME around the globe; I believe word may spread, a cult following looms, while a midnight screening, possibly offering beer and free selfies could only emerge as something special for cinemas.Enjoy my enlightening conversation with Vera, then stay tuned for a quick chat with Barbi herself, I managed to stop her taking selfies to talk to me about, life and stuff.
SB – Congratulations on the film. Do you hike in real life?
VV – Thank you, you guys can put Barbi on the barbie (laughs) that’s my one and only funny joke.
I do hike quite a bit, in Los Angeles it’s perfect, a beautiful landscape for miles in the mountains.
SB – Did you get permits to film around those locations?
VV – Entirely all guerilla film making. IMDb are incorrect without confirming with us regarding our budget, Barbi cost around $150,000 to complete and a force of people giving their valuable time. If we had a million as suggested the movie would have been extremely different (laughs).
SB – It might make a million ahead of the proposed sequels.
VV – Yes, it was always planned out as a trilogy. We have multiple ‘easter eggs’ like: What’s actually in the briefcase? What’s with the butter knife? Why is there a pterodactyl overhead? All will be explained.
SB – Do you know girls like Barbi? Who was your inspiration?
VV – Basically every second girl in Los Angeles. Director Eddie (Edward G. Negron) and I were taking a walk looking at these girls with $100 yoga pants, in full makeup just blogging. We were like what is this, if aliens attacked right now would they notice? No, they wouldn’t notice if World War 3 blew up in their face because they’re too busy going…OMG I have such beautiful hair (laughs). The jokes kept writing themselves for the movie, it wasn’t hard to come up with an abundance of material.
You guys (MHM PODCAST NETWORK) were right it was going to be a short film; adding all the ongoing jokes turned it into a feature for distribution. We had many offers. Now showing on Amazon Prime after shopping it around. Now, we are everywhere thanks to them. I am interested to know what you all really think about our film. There’s a lot of fitness girls in Australia they follow me on social.
SB – How long did it take to shoot?
VV – We worked around my friends. The actors were available over four months on weekends mostly with whomever was available. We would say come hang out, run around the forest have a bunch of fun (laughs). Pretend your getting killed……their valuable time I really appreciated on a daily basis. We made it a series of misadventures for each individual.
SB – All co-stars were effective as brief as they may have been.
VV – Most had not read the entire script so they became shocked to learn what the whole thing was about, especially the girl who played Jessica (Amy Johnston)—a world renowned martial arts stunt champion. I asked, “Hey Amy, want to do a cat-fight where we don’t fight just attack with hashtags?” (laughs) She thought it was brilliant. I think it’s the best moment of all. She is the brutal one, and only Lady Bloodfight (2016) after all, but she loved it, but afterwards asked, “How does this end, Vera?” because she had no idea it had aliens in it (laughs).
SB – I hope we see more of her in the next installments.
VV – You can be one of the first to know that in the next movie Barbi gets kidnapped by the three grey alien husbands, and ends up being an alien war princess, Barbi-rella (probably the title of the second part) of course the other group of aliens who kidnap Jessica because they think she’s Barbi; making her their own war princess leading to a big space battle with hashtags of course (laughs) plus deathrays included. The third movie may be called, Barbi the Alien Slayer; a time-travel movie which brings back the pterodactyl. All will pan out in a weird structure it all just writes itself.
SB – Will you use the the proceeds from this Barbi to fund the next two, or are they already funded?
VV – Great question Shane. I self funded this one because I thought I had to do something funny. It was in me, and as I said, friends giving me their time meant everything. We edited for a year as Eddie is a broadcast editor with television experience, so i really lucked out there, but he had to learn by himself on the fly to make the special effects including explosions, aliens. What a great job for his first time.
SB – Friends getting together to make a movie. I love that collaboration.
VV – Exactly. I did the wardrobe, makeup, styling, even the catering (laughs). We had all kinds of snacks as we hiked through the woods hiding from the cops.
SB – How many pink outfits were used?
VV – Two sets for Barbi as I ripped up one climbing over a branch. A lot of thought went into her costume because it had to be obscene plus covered head to toe, so no skin on show.
The costume had to be stupid like the high heeled sneakers which were actually two sizes to small for my feet. Finding them in a thrift store was a bonus.
It had to be tight to show the rear-end which I took two years to build (laughs). The unofficial title of Breaking Barbi is ‘Abs, Ass, & Aliens’, but that’s a little on the nose (laughs). The title was always going to be what we called it, however I work for Mattel with actual Barbie Dolls. I asked them their thoughts. They asked if it had anything to do with the toys. I said no, so they simply went alright then your good!!
SB – Was the waterfall real, what a great scene.
VV – Thank you very much, yes it was. I timed it two days after participating in a fitness competition, so I still had all the abs looking really good. Also the barbarian scene where I had that super-six-pack abs, I timed that after competing as well. A real waterfall—we hiked out for two hours to get to, a rough day, but we got through it. I was very lucky to have a DP (director of photography) who can do extreme sports, so he could climb rocks to get the shots. Definitely worth all the trouble to do it.
The entire crew just got it. We were doing something silly, slapstick; making fun of every millennial out there, and putting all that we hate into one person.
SB – The spider looked real one minute; not the next.
VV – The one climbing on the hat is real. My friend works with animals. We actually had a real wolf for scenes, but the wolf didn’t want to perform that day, so it was cut, and I couldn’t ask to borrow the wolf ‘again’ (laughs), but the spider acted perfectly, but what I throw is the plastic stunt spider. You can’t drop a tarantula, apparently they shatter. In Australia you have some crazy creepy crawlies too, but when I was on a make up assignment in New Zealand, I learned they have no deadly critters.
SB – How did you get into the entertainment industry?
VV – Fell into the very odd niche of child size hand-modelling. I work on the Grossery Gang commercials. I played the piano admiring my hands, sent a picture to an agent who represents body parts (he said you have the most amazing little boy hands we have ever seen). Although that’s unique (laughs), I was like fuck you what are you telling me!! Surprisingly, I learned it’s a thing, and been working ever since. It is my main income appearing in hundreds of mainly toy commercials.
SB – What about acting?
VV – Never had the confidence to act, so I went into stunt work first studying under a Shaolin monk called Foo (laughs) in New York. Walking in, I smiled saying, “Hey! What’s the art of fighting without fighting (to quote Bruce Lee)? He quipped, “Stunt work.” Ended up getting fight scenes, wirework. Stepping it up a level going to LA. Instead of heading to audition after audition, I just got on sets to learn everything I could about filmmaking before figuring out how to achieve results on a guerilla scale. It’s the only way to survive in LA. I think being able to have a good hustle, multitask to survive.
SB – Can you sing? Will we see Barbi the Musical?
VV – Oh my god that’s a great idea Shane, but no. With a lot of special effects, I might be able to sing.
We know exactly who our demographic is for Breaking Barbi; women and gays. That is a perfect idea because a straight male in their 40s may ask themselves, “Why am I watching this?” if they do at all! I’m looking forward to the gay reviewers to pick it up.
SB – Thankfully #MeToo movement is prevalent. Have you ever had any experiences, or only positive?
VV – It’s been all positive. Luckily, I find I am not a victim of these sort of things being raised in a kind of a New York Ghetto; the only white kid in my neighborhood (what we call the projects) as a poor immigrant from Russia we grew up in subsidized housing. Street smarts was my specialty—how not to get shot, how to avoid confrontation, and how to get out of gang warfare. I never put myself in that position plus if I knew something was going sideways my reaction would be, “I’m outta here!”
SB – What’s next on the agenda other than hand modelling or Barbi sequels?
VV – Eddie and I are prolific writers in general. Barbi was a labor of love, self-funded joy on our own. We would like to create other projects we have in mind requiring studio backing or maybe even a netflix series is something amazing we are working towards. Barbi is our calling card. If we can do this without any money, imagine what we can do with a budget to hire people. On our minds is a ten part series, part horror part science fiction.