There is a new generation of young actresses that critics are eager to dub scream queens, yet few are as proud of that reputation as Bianca Barnett, who has spent the last few years balancing a successful career as a model with regular appearances in low budget horror movies.
Born and raised in Texas, Bianca Barnett started modelling as a teenager and soon displayed her passion for both gothic clothing and burlesque glamour of the 1920s.
Eventually she relocated to Los Angeles to pursue a career in Hollywood and soon came to the attention of Ramzi Abed, who cast her in a supporting role in his 2007 thriller The Devil’s Muse, a document of the tragedy that befell Elizabeth Short, a young woman who was murdered in the 1940s and has since been referred to in popular culture as the Black Dahlia.
Other horror-themed projects soon followed including The Fear Chamber and Craig, but it would be her villainous turn as Pig Bitch in the monster movie Albino Farm that would offer Barnett her most interesting role to date. Following their experience together on The Devil’s Muse, Barnett is set to team up once again with Abed for In a Spiral State, which will feature an appearance from former Marilyn Manson bassist Gidget Gein, who sadly passed away in 2008 at the age of thirty-nine.
Bianca Barnett talks about sex, horror and Hollywood.
Do you find that it is difficult for a young actress to work in the industry without having to strip for the camera at some point?
I’m sure it is at times, but I don’t have a problem with it if it is done tastefully and professionally. I have never claimed to have a perfect body- in fact, I am flawed, and so hopefully other people watching will realise that you don’t have to hate yourself because you don’t look like a Photoshopped movie star or model.
I do have a problem with romantic or love scenes, though. I hope I never have to do one! I don’t want to kiss some other actor or simulate a sex scene. Awkward! That being said, I will never compromise my personal values for a part in a movie.
You’d be surprised how many creeps there are in the industry! At the moment, I’m turning down most offers I get for films because I am ready to move onto something more challenging. I feel that I have done my fair share of no/low budget films that weren’t very professional. Before, I was just so eager to have a chance to act so I took whatever roles came my way. Now I am choosing quality over quantity. I suppose that means you won’t see much of me in the future!?
Which do you enjoy doing the most – the glamorous, semi-naked modelling or acting under prosthetics?
I love modelling, especially when I become a more glamorous character by means of hair, makeup and costume. It’s also great to be transformed by prosthetics to become something wicked or weird, but I don’t miss the adhesives or stinging on my skin.
How did you land the role of Pig Bitch in Albino Farm? Were you eager to play a monster or were you hoping to be the heroine?
The directors of the film were having trouble casting the role. Most aspiring actresses were not interested in being hideously deformed under five pounds of prosthetic makeup. It was also a very physically demanding role with action sequences, fight scenes and partial nudity. I suppose I was just weird enough to want to try out something like that! Honestly, I wanted the role of the monster and I will probably always choose a villain role over a victim. It is great playing the bad guy! Not only is the role more fun but the character is more dynamic as well. It’s great to be able to scream, freak out and exorcise your demons.
How difficult is it working on a movie with two directors? Would this cause more problems that usual?
It was a learning experience for everyone. Honestly, I don’t think that having two people direct a movie worked very well- too many cooks in the kitchen, as they say.
Due to digital being cheaper to shoot with, it seems easier than ever now to make a film. Do you find that the market has become flooded with no-budget, amateur films that lack any real style or good ideas?
Yes, but it also means there is a rare gem of a fantastic film out there floating around waiting to be discovered. I think now more than ever you really have to make something that stands apart, especially concerning the story. From what I have heard, it’s more difficult than ever to get a horror picture – or any for that matter – picked up for distribution due to a flooded market. Then there is the fact that people will illegally download your film and you’ll never see a dime.
Another upcoming release is In a Spiral State. What part does your character play in the story and how would you compare this to your previous work?
I play Marlena, a drug addicted model who turns to illegally selling stolen organs on the black market for money. I enjoyed the character because I had the chance to adlib lines in a scene, which can be very freeing and fun.
Have you ever considered acting on stage? Are there any productions or roles in particular that intrigue you?
Yes, it has always been a dream of mine, but at the moment I don’t think I have the proper training. I need to continue to build my confidence as a performer. I’m still really shy, so the thought of getting on stage in front of so many people and speaking is pretty scary! As a little girl, I wanted to play the role of Sally Bowles from Cabaret. Just watching Liza Minnelli in that role was magic for me! P.S. – Next semester I am taking theatre classes so I can get over being such a shy freak.
You have also appeared in several short films, most recently with your partner, Jason. Do you enjoy making these and would you recommend this approach to other young actresses?
I highly respect Jason as a filmmaker – he definitely knows what he is doing. He has an amazing eye for detail and cinematography that is hard to find these days. Not only is he a fan of horror films, but he has a style distinctly his own.
I love working with him because I know that whatever he does, it will be shot beautifully and professionally. He’s extremely focused- when we shoot together, it is all business! As for recommending things for young actresses, I think it all depends on what you want to accomplish in your career.
What would be your dream role? If a filmmaker approached you about making a movie and you were allowed to develop the story and character, who would you be?
I love the 1920s, so it would be a dream to play a glamorous young woman of that era and be in accurate historical costume. On the other hand, I’ve always wanted to be an ass-kicking heroine that takes out the bad guys. I’m actually in negotiations for that type of role, so let’s hope it works out. I’ll have a lot of training to do because there will be a lot of action and fight scenes! Stay tuned.