AUSXIP Interviews America Olivo
by Lori Boyles / MaryD

30 December 2009


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America Olivo, the star of the movie Bitch Slap, took time out of her busy schedule to talk to AUSXIP reporter Lori Boyles recently. America talks about her role as "Camero", her characters' strength & honesty and how Zoe Bell kept her from seriously hurting Hel (Erin Cummings). America also talks about working with Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor, working with her co-stars and what's in store for this very talented actress.

You don't see movies like “Bitch Slap” being made today. What did you think when you first read the script? 

The opening scene introduces the bigger than life characters, and from those first few paragraphs until the end of the lengthy script, I was on the edge of my seat. I thought only animated characters got to be in films like this. By the end of reading the script, I was exhausted and by the end of shooting the film, I had died eight times and was on my 9th life.  

What characteristics do you like about your character, “Camero”?
I love Camero's intensity, strength, and endurance. She's probably the most honest of anyone in Bitch Slap and will go to any length to win an argument.

Are you the type of actress that can just leave the character your playing at work or did you take "Camero" home with you?

That would depend on the character.  Camero is not your average role. She came home with me, had lunch with me, woke up with me, played in the sand with me, all through that shoot. She demanded it. It was exhausting to be her, but even harder to snap in and out of her intensity. I just went with it until the last day of the shoot. It took about a week to shake her habits. 
There was a lot of greenscreen work in “Bitch Slap”. How much greenscreen work had you done prior to “Bitch Slap” and is it hard for you doing greenscreen work?
I had only worked with green screen for music videos and for a few deleted scenes in Iron Man prior to Bitch Slap. In those circumstances, I didn't have to interact with imaginary objects nor refer to the imaginary scenery.  Bitch Slap was a whole new experience in that regard. Working with that imaginary killer yo yo, flying through the air on a harness and breaking through imaginary walls, riding motorcycles during shoot outs with nothing but a stationary bike and no targets and a gun with no kick was a whole new experience. 


How much of the stunt work did you actually do? Any injuries?
Zoe Bell was the fight choreographer and my stunt double. She trained Erin (Hel) and I to do all our fight stunts, and we did perform them all. However, since neither Erin nor I are professional stunt woman, while the camera was on Erin, Zoe Bell would play Camero and fight her, and while the camera faced me, Sabine Varnes played Hel and would fight me. This was to keep Erin and I from seriously injuring one another. There were many injuries, but all were due to my ignorance wanting to work with real weapons rather than the props. 

Do you enjoy doing your own stunts?  What type of weapons training did you do for the film?
I had a fantastic time training with Zoe Bell at her facility in Venice Beach. I also worked with prop master George Hobbs at the shooting range in Venice to help feel a real kick to help make the prop gun fights convincing.

Working with Zoe Bell must have been amazing. What was the best thing she taught you about doing fight scenes?

Zoe Bell taught me everything I know now about fighting on film. I had done some Hapkido training years ago, but soon into the training, I realized that live combat is nothing like throwing punches on camera. Because a camera is not 3 dimensional, depth perception and the lack there of becomes a fun tool to play with.

The fight scene between “Hel” and “Camero” was amazing. How long did it take to prepare for and film that?

Again, Zoe Bell trained in the weeks before production and on the weekends during production. She's a fantastic teacher and I was shocked at how much she taught me to do in such a small amount of time. 
You had the opportunity to work with Lucy Lawless and Renee O’Connor.  What was it like working with them??

Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor play Mother Superior and Sister Batril who find me while I'm hiding out in a convent. It is a blasphemous scene that we recorded on Good Friday, ironically. Lucy and Renee were hilarious together. The trick in that scene was to keep a straight face. It was a surreal day.
You get to make out on screen with both Julia and Erin. Did the three of you hit it off immediately when you were brought together for the film?

Yes, I was very lucky to have two amazingly talented, intelligent, sweet, and beautiful co-stars.  We have had to travel together and promote this film together for quite some time already and we have become excellent friends in the process. People are usually surprised that we only just met each other on this film. 

Any funny behind the scenes stories that you can to share?

Lots of funny behind the scenes stories from Bitch Slap. In fact there is a fantastic behind the scenes movie that will be released on the DVD. The commentary we did on the film for the DVD release also reveals a lot of our experience working on the film. I can't even begin to recount them all now. One funny story that sticks out involves Michael Hurst who plays Gage, returning to his hotel after being covered in blood and wearing nothing a speedo with a lion on the front. They passed some cops while driving from set and the cops were thrown off by the site of Michael's bloody face. They pulled Michael's car over and he was forced to exit the car, bloody and nearly naked, desperately trying to explain himself.  
What one word would you use to describe each of your co-stars:
Erin - Confident
Julia - Magnetic
Michael - Wise
Greg - Spontaneous
Minae - Playful
Lucy - Hilarious
Renee - Coquettish 
Zoe - Tough
What's been your most memorable response you've received from fans while promoting this film? 

"I don't like you. You scare me."
You are also a professional singer. You graduated from The Juilliard School in New York, were in the group Soluna and now going solo. Tell us about your music and future plans with that.

I graduated from Juilliard as an opera theatre major and was fortunate enough to get a record deal with Dreamworks records with my talented bandmates, Soluna, right after graduation. In 2004, Dreamworks Records closed it's doors, and I refocused my energies on television and film while I figured out how to reinvent myself musically as a soloist, no longer with a band. Since then, I've done some stage work, workshopping the musical Zorro and performing a world premiere of a Michael John LaChiusa musical, Hotel C'est L'Amour. I then signed to an indie dance label, Dauman Music, distributed by Universal to to a dance album. My first single that I wrote and performed as a soloist has been released under that label "Deja Vu" and has been on the Billboard dance charts for 5 weeks and is now going international. I have also begun to license my music for film. I have two songs that appear on Bitch Slap, one I wrote with Kyle Mac and the other was written by John Baxter. I am currently completing my first solo album with Canadian song writers and producers, Stereo Martini, and other songs by Billy Steinberg and Diane Warren. 
Any other projects you would like to mention?
I have a few new films coming up, Dead Man's Gold, Billy Joel's Car, Circle, and  Neighbor, to name a few. I am also producing shows with my husband, Christian Campbell business partners, Amanda Marr, Carlos Amaro, and Blueprint Entertainment. 

Photo Credits:
▪ Photos of America for this interview are courtesy of America Olivo
▪ Photos of Camero (Bitch Slap) are courtesy of Epic Slap, LLC

Interesting Links
Official America Olivo Site
Official Bitch Slap Facebook Page
Official Bitch Slap Site
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