Last summer, I interviewed America Olivo in regard to her role in the new movie Bitch Slap. Coincidentally, she had just come back from filming Friday the 13th. The story of how she got from one movie to the other is just one in a series of crazy good news/bad news events in her life going back to the time she had a record deal with Dreamworks (and then they folded) a pilot deal with UPN (just before they folded) and a trip to the Latin Grammy’s that consisted of her walking the red carpet, entering the building, leaving the building and leaving town in the space of an hour.
America: I have lived like a cat with nine lives. I don’t even understand from one month to the next, how wacky, wacky things get around here. Part of the wackiness was getting the lead in Bitch Slap (an homage to the exploitation films of the 60’s) from out of nowhere. I got a call from the director, who had seen me in another movie which I haven’t even seen yet. He had this situation where he had a girl to play the lead, Camero, and that person was going to take another job. He was stressing out because they were going to start production in like a week. He’s like, ‘you’re my Camero.’ I’m like, ‘is this porn? Because I’m not ready yet in my career.’
Under the gun, America read the script and fell in love with the part.
America: The three leads have major push-up bras and as much skin as possible exposed, but at the same time my character is basically a man. I mean, what men get to do in movies. I get to drive muscle cars and motorbikes and beat-up everybody! And I’m tough, I’m in prison, I’ve got tats all over me, my fist says pain on it, P-A-I-N. I’m just beatin’ the crap outta people for the whole movie and the dialogue is just absolutely hilarious.
But working on Bitch Slap took it’s toll on the lovely actress.
America: Doing this movie, I nearly killed myself. I literally exhausted myself to a degree that I would’ve thought I could handle. I’d come home every night, a different ethnicity from the dirt all over me, head-to-toe bloody and gross and sore, but it was so rewarding when we actually got to see footage. It was worth every bump and bruise and cut and I mean, I’ve lost pieces of skin that I don’t think I’ll ever get back from doing this.
As a reward, America was given a Burke Williams spa package as a gift from the producers. But before she could use it. . . .
America: The last day of shooting, I get a call. They need somebody immediately to get on an airplane to Austin to do Friday the 13th, Michael Bay’s movie. They are in production, they’re going to lose their location and they need somebody now. I’m going, ‘I don’t care if Steven Spielberg wants me for the lead of anything, I just need a facial. And they’re like, please, you gotta get down there, it’s a Michael Bay movie!
So I pulled it together, put my stuff on tape, ‘cause Michael Bay still had to see it, with blood and charcoal and everything in my hair, fingernails missing and when I say missing, I’m not talking about broken, I’m not talking about, I just broke my nail when I picked up my purse! I’m like, ripped off disgusting. The casting director is trying to clean me up for the video — do you mind if I take your hair and maybe try to make it look more like. . .oh! I wouldn’t do that! She picks up my hair and it is one piece, like a big helmet of blood and soot stuck together. She’s like, ‘oh dear god, what happened to you?’ I’m like, ‘Bitch Slap, just please, lets roll the tape now.’
Then the waiting begins.
America: I got the call at like 3 o’clock in the morning, I went to the airport, got on a flight, I thought I was going to be dropped off at this five-star-hotel which sounded really, really, nice. I didn’t get to go to the hotel, I just went straight to set because they needed to shoot all my scenes out because they were going to lose the location. They’d been filming for weeks and I just popped in and basically did all close-ups on me! I don’t think I got to sleep really or unpack my bag and then I was told to get back on the plane and that’s all.
But even in that short amount of time, America got attached to her fellow actors.
America: Big cast, fun, fun, fun, fun group of people and even in the little bit of time that I was there, I realized how tight everybody was and they immediately embraced me and I was in with the fun, you know? Like one of the guys. . . with long hair and boobs. And yeah, a pleasure, pleasure working with Derek, who plays Jason. Very scary man. Very, scary man.
Of course, America isn’t exactly what you’d call a brave soul.
America: My mother didn’t help Growing up, I’m like, please tell me that Jason isn’t real and she’d say, ‘you know, the first form of manifestation is thought, so you can create him if you want to.’ Now I am one of those people who, in the middle of the night, if I have to go to the bathroom, I will do anything not to have to get up. I’ll be like, come on go back to sleep, don’t do it; then I’ll get up and of course, right when I get up some image from one of the classic horror movies will pop into my mind, and I have five images that will never be erased from when I was a kid, and they just will pop in, you can’t control it. AUAGH! Run back to bed! I’m a total chicken like that.
So what’s next for America Olivo?
America: I’m sitting at home, waiting for that next random call! ‘Can you be on a plane to Dubai?’ Okay, sure!
While America waits, you can see her in Friday the 13th. It opens in theaters today – Friday the 13th, of course.