Last weekend, I hit the DVD launch party at Sushi Dan on Sunset for Bitch Slap, Spartacus: Blood and Sand director Rick Jacobson's homage to the exploitation films of the ‘60s and ‘70s (which hit DVD this Tuesday, March 2). The film features a trio of beautiful women -- pictured above (from left to right) they are: Hel (played by Erin Cummings), Trixie (played by Julia Voth), and Camero (played by America Olivo). Together, they plot to steal 200 million in diamonds from an underworld kingpin. In real life, any one of the film's stars is hot enough to make a grown man willingly fork over 200 mil and then melt like a Fudgsicle in July. And yours truly had to interview two of these ladies – Voth and Cummings – at one time. How did I do it? By drinking my weight in Asahi beer beforehand. (Wonderful stuff that Asahi!) Hit the jump for our full-length, semi-inebriated conversation.
For the uninitiated, how would you describe your character in the film?
Cummings: The uninitiated should go to BitchSlapmovie.com. To be honest, really the best way to do it is to go to the website because you have a chance to see the tongue-in-cheek humor of the film. Hel's the mastermind behind the whole caper. She's the one who planned the whole event and spends a great amount of time trying to keep everybody on task. As the film continues, she slowly unravels and goes from being a piece of ice to a crying mess of a person.
Voth: Trixie? She's best described as a down-on-her-luck stripper with a heart of gold, with a little gold dress to match. And as all strippers have hearts of gold, she's definitely one of those.
She also wears her heart on her chest.
Voth: She does. But she's the bait of the operation. She can get anything she wants from any man or woman, with nothing more than a wink and a well-timed bend-over, which gets proven time and time again in the film. It was fun to play. Just because I'm a comedian and I enjoy my sexuality as a woman, but I've never been the kind to use it to…
Voth: Right, exactly. I'm very good. [Laughs.] It was fun to just kind of live that lifestyle for six weeks. Then I got to say, "Oh yeah, this is me. I'm not like that." I mean, there's nothing wrong with it. I think that women who are strong and proud and can work it… why the hell not?
Did you do most of your own stunts?
Cummings: Because we were working with Zoe Bell she really didn't give us another choice. Any time we said, "Oh, I don't know if I can do that," she said, "No, bitch, you're doing that." That's the great thing about working with a stunt coordinator who not only is a woman but also is a woman who has done it all herself as well, and has the street cred and the material to prove it. It's very difficult to sit there and go, "I don't know if I can" when she's sitting there going, "No, I know that you can. I'm gonna teach you how, and then you're gonna do it." One of the things about when you do a stunt, a fight scene – the stunt doubles are not there to do it for you, they're there to make sure you don't go to the hospital. You want to be able to do it as much as possible so that you have the footage. When you see that fight scene, you want it to be your face as often as possible. You want for the punch, when you follow through, to see the camera on the other side of you, so that people know it was you doing it. And also to sell it effectively. So Zoe was very adamant about us learning all the fight scenes and executing them very well. That's why I think she tailored the fight scenes to our ability.
Voth: I had the least amount of fight scenes of the three of us. But anything I did, it was me basically. Zoe Bell is phenomenal, she's incredible. And she basically made us look awesome. So when you see something and go, "Wow, those girls kick ass," it's actually Zoe Bell who kicks ass. She trained all of us.
So she was there the whole time?
Voth: Yeah, she was the coordinator. And she was also Camero's (America Olivo's) stunt double. Everyone did their own stunts, but just for safety's sake you have to have your stunt people around. We had amazing people working with us.
What do you think distinguishes Bitch Slap from other films of its genre?
Voth: Well, I think what distinguishes it from other exploitation films is the fact that not only does it have the traditional elements of a grindhouse film, but it's really smart and fun. It's an action movie, a comedy, it's an exploitation film and a sexploitation film all in one. It has all these great elements, and you go there and you laugh, and then you're scared. You go through all these different emotions. I think that's what kind of sets it apart. And the fact that it has an A story and a B story and the B story is going backwards in chronological order, so that, at the end, you're confused and then all the way at the end, you're like, "Oh…" There's a big reveal at the end, which catches everyone off guard, which is incredible. So it's this amazingly written movie, and it's an exploitation film. It's never been done before. There always grainy or the scripts are bad or the actors are bad. But this one, the moment I read the script I knew it wasn't gonna be the traditional exploitation film.
In real life, who is the toughest of the film's three leads?
Cummings: I think it depends on what you're talking about. I mean we all have strengths in different areas.
Who would win in a fight?
Cummings: It would be Julia. Because she was in a fight today. [Laughs.]
Voth: I hit someone in the face today. I did. Because he made a remark about Canada, and I couldn't take it. I punched him in the face. Right now the Olympics are on. I'm watching curling and I'm like, "Go Canada!" [Laughs.]
Besides more street fighting, what's next for you?
Voth: I did two other movies after Bitch Slap. I'm working on two books right now. One is a book of poetry, which should be out soon. It's called Naked. It will be available at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. I'm also working on short films – a multimedia endeavor – with my poetry. It's been an amazing creative week, and I feel high from all of it.
Can we expect to see a sequel to Bitch Slap?
Cummings: Yeah, the film was always written with the idea in mind that it would be developed into a trilogy. The great thing about the film is that since we did Bitch Slap, everybody involved in it has had greater opportunities that have presented themselves. I don't know if we can really talk about what's going on, but Rick has a really big opportunity coming his way right now. That may take him out of the country for a while, which makes Bitch Slap 2 not necessarily happening right away, but we've all gone into this with the anticipation that there may be a sequel. And here's hoping that it will.
Without giving too much away, both of your characters survive the film.
Cummings: Here's the thing – regardless of whether we survive or not, this is Bitch Slap….
Voth: And there could be a prequel.
Cummings: …I mean, literally, there is a moment where Hel is standing there and just puts on a pair of sunglasses but we have no idea where they came from.
Voth: Camero pulls a gun out of her…wherever, ass crack? It's Bitch Slap. I'm holding a gun in my crotch.
You make it sound like a Bugs Bunny cartoon.
Cummings: Or Mary Poppins. My cleavage and her crotch is sort of like Mary Poppins.
In real life, what are your greatest fears?
Cummings: Spiders. I can't even look at a picture of a spider. I've ended friendships because people would think it's really funny during Halloween to put spiders on my food during a meal. It's not even one of those things where it's like, "Oh yeah, she's afraid of spiders. Let's joke with her about that." If you want to joke with me about that you can pretty much cancel our friendship because it literally strikes the fear of God into me.
Voth: Oh my God… I could say spiders, but that would be a lie. That's not my greatest fear. My greatest fear… On an emotional level, fear of being alone, loneliness. If it were something that could actually hurt me – fear of drowning. I'm a good swimmer, but the idea of drowning scares the shit out of me. That would he a horrible way to die. Then a third fear – cockroaches. If I'm walking down the street and I see one, and I scream, someone would think I'm being murdered. I don't do well with cockroaches. I once moved into a new place and I saw a cockroach, and I moved out the next day. [Laughs.]
Thank you both.
Voth: Our pleasure!
Below: The interviewer makes the most of his liquid courage.
Photos by Sophia Quach