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Maria Bakalova related to outsider in 'Bodies Bodies Bodies'

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Maria Bakalova related to outsider in 'Bodies Bodies Bodies'
Maria Bakalova plays another outsider in "Bodies Bodies Bodies." File Photo Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- Maria Bakalova said she related to her character in the horror film Bodies Bodies Bodies, in theaters Friday, because she feels like an outsider. Bakalova, 26, plays Bee, the new girlfriend Sophie (Amandla Stenberg) brings to a party during a hurricane.

"We are both coming from a different place," Bakalova said at a recent Q&A after a screening of the film in Los Angeles. "I personally like to look at projects, theatrical plays or films that are following the story of the outsider."

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Bulgarian-born Bakalova had a crossover success in 2020's Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm in which she played Borat's Kazakh daughter. In Bodies Bodies Bodies, Bee finds herself stuck in a house with privileged Americans when the power goes out and people start dying.

"She's trying to be somebody else to try to fit the group she meets," Bakalova said. "And she fails, of course, because she is not honest."

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Bee remains protective of Sophie throughout the night, even killing a suspected attacker. Bakalova said she related to Bee up to the point she committed murder.

"Will I try to save somebody that I love? Absolutely. Will I try to sacrifice my life to save them? Yeah," Bakalova said.

Bakalova's co-stars also related to their characters in different ways. Myha'la Herrold, 26, plays Jordan, a former lover of Sophie's who leads the charge in rooting out the killer.

"I would probably figure out a way to barricade," Herrold said. "I'm definitely a doer, so I think in that sense, I'm quite like Jordan."

Rachel Sennott plays Alice, who brought her new boyfriend, Greg (Lee Pace), to the party and started drinking and doing drugs before Bee and Sophie arrived. Sennott, 26, said she related to Alice's coping mechanism.

"I would drink," Sennott said. "I would totally drink if I was there."

The hurricane knocks out the power and the WiFi, so the girls are isolated. Chase Sui Wonders, 26, plays the party host Emma, and said she understood how jarring it can be to be off one's phone for hours at a time.

"If anyone's ever been camping in the woods, suddenly you haven't had service for seven hours," Wonders said. "You have to confront yourself a little bit."

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Portraying the intensity of the night required intense filming, too. Director Halina Reijn and cinematographer Jasper Wolf filmed Bodies Bodies Bodies in a series of extended long takes without cutting away.

Herrold said performing scenes for up to 20 minutes at a time allowed her to feel as worked up as her character. Her previous work included the streaming series Modern Love and Industry.

"I felt like I got lost in it," Herrold said. "It starts to feel real the longer you go."

Bakalova agreed with Herrold about the extended takes.

"The longer the take, the better the take was," she said.

Wonders said the long takes became most real while filming the earlier party scenes in the film. Her previous role was in the HBO Max series Generation.

"We had a nine-hour party," Wonder said. "There was definitely a moment I remember between takes, we're like, 'So, the camera doesn't stop.'"

Sennott said she realized just how long each scene would last when they filmed a TikTok dance. The script devoted a brief description to the dance, but the scene lasted several minutes.

"There was a part in my head where I was like, 'Oh, we got it, right?'" said Sennott, who appeared in the indie feature Shiva Baby and ABC series Call Your Mother. "Then, I let it go and we just kept going."

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Throughout those long takes, the filmmakers simulated hurricane conditions outside the house. Bakalova said those effects also made it easier to relate to Bee.

"The sound of these rain machines and wind machines was like we're going to war right now," Bakalova said.

Bodies Bodies Bodies opens in limited release Friday and expands Aug. 12.

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