Interview With Bai Ling, Star Of ‘Barbee Rehab’

When I was 14, The Crow was released. I was so enamored by the dark and gritty film that I saw it in the theaters twice. I rarely do that, so that says a lot. Through the years, the film has remained one of my favorites. And let’s not forget the bitchin’ soundtrack. All that aside, I was enthralled by Myca, the beautiful and mean character played by Bai Ling. At 14, the thought of gouging out someone’s eyes is terrifying, and I was mesmerized by her cruelty.

Fast forward many years later, and I was lucky enough to chat with Bai Ling about her newest endeavor, Barbee Rehab, which might be the furthest she can get from her character in The Crow. Barbee Rehab is an episodic comedy coming soon to Tubi about a rehab facility where the patients live like Barbie and Ken dolls. “Where Barbee addicts and addicted Barbees come to heal.” Bai Ling and I chatted about her character, Alien, why she loves horror, making her directorial debut, and more!

PopHorror: Hi Bai! Thank you so much for calling. Barbee Rehab is a ton of fun, so I’m super excited to speak with you.

Bai Ling: Yes, me too. I’m sitting in Florida, outside at the beach. It’s nice here.

PopHorror: I’m so jealous. I’m in Arizona, and we have no beaches.

Bai Ling: Oh, right! It’s so hot there. I’ll send you some ocean breeze!

PopHorror: Yes, please! So Bai, can you tell us about your character, Alien, on Barbee Rehab?

Bai Ling: I think my character, basically, is based on me. The pop culture Bai Ling, very insane and wild and crazy in her own way. And I keep saying I landed from the moon, and I think they just incorporated that of me, and because it’s rehab, right? You have to have a problem, or you have to be wild and crazy in order to get there. So it’s perfect for my character to be wild and curious, to do odd things and have tons of fun. Very hilarious in a humor way. That’s where it is, my spirit. That’s Bai Ling.

PopHorror: It seems like a perfect part for you.

Bai Ling: Yes!

PopHorror: What was it that intrigued you about the show and made you want to be a part of it?

Bai Ling: I think initially it was Tom Sizemore who called me up because he wanted to do it. He said, “Bai Ling, can you help to do a show?” I had no clue whatsoever what it was. So I got there and he said, “Help me do it.” Because we’re friends, we help each other. I said, “Okay. I’ll have some fun helping you.” It was initially a short shooting, a day or two, then it turned into a few episodes. They needed me more and more, probably because my character was more interesting from the beginning. I liked my character. I liked the show because, especially during this pandemic, everybody is sort of out of their mind, you know? We all need to go to rehab. This one is a silly, funny way to show that we are going out of our mind to some extent, in this virtual, social media world. A virtual connection with the people. And people are going nuts in their own way, and they can’t find themselves anymore. They’ve lost themselves. I think Barbee Rehab uses that reality to create something fun for everybody to enjoy and also find themselves in it.

PopHorror: I completely agree. You mentioned Tom Sizemore. This is a great role for him. It’s fun to see him in such a light-hearted role.

Bai Ling: Right! And it’s funny because he’s a doctor, right? Tell everybody else what to do.

PopHorror: I did want to ask you about horror. The Crow, obviously, but Dumplings is just so amazing. What is it that draws you to the horror genre?

Bai Ling: I think it’s a mystery. The danger of mystery. And horror, because I think of The Crow or Dumplings or others, and they’re in a different way in the horror genre. Sometimes it’s physical; sometimes it’s psychological. I like the psychological so much more because psychological somehow sinks into your skin very deeply and connects to you in a way. It’s satisfaction in a way, because horror hits you in a way that’s psychological, but on the other side, it’s horror. Both an impact in very extreme, different ways. I like that impact on people that you never get out of that movie or that character. You remember it forever. It’s a mystery. I believe that a lot of horror, even The Crow and what happened to Brandon Lee…

A lot of people ask me and I’m constantly talking about it. I think a lot of the questions are meant to not have answers because it’s the journey. You’re looking for the answer trying to solve the mystery. That’s the journey that’s meaningful. Not the answer. If you find the answer, that’s kind of boring. I think horror films serve the purpose in that way. It’s like you constantly want to know what’s going on, what’s happening. 

PopHorror: I think that if you knew all the answers about what’s happening in horror, it would be boring. 

Bai Ling: Yes, yes.

PopHorror: The whole thing about horror is the unknown and what you don’t know. I don’t want to know the answer. Just scare me!

Bai Ling: Yes! So it’s shocking.

PopHorror: What would be your weapon of choice in a zombie apocalypse? 

Bai Ling: For me, sexuality. Sex always. I would kiss and make love and grab them, like in a very fun and sexual way to get them. Not a weapon. A female weapon! It’s the power of sexuality and seduction. So much more powerful than any weapon to me. I’m telling you now, there’s a man sitting here watching me, looking at me forever. So you get them by not doing anything and just being you. It will naturally come to you. I think that’s attraction.

I want to share a little bit with you. During this pandemic, we’re talking about the loss of mentally, right? I made a movie called My Quarantine Romance with Toilet Paper. It’s a film where you never know what’s going to happen. It’s people coming to visit me and give me toilet paper and to have sex. It’s very current. I made my own director’s debut film. I write, direct, and star in it and did everything. Every morning, I get up at 5am to get Starbucks for everybody. It’s like Barbee Rehab. You do a small crew and you do it on your own. So that’s something I wanted to share with you because you never know the answer in horror. But my film is like a drama comedy, but also you don’t know the answer. That’s why it’s intriguing. 

PopHorror: Wow! Is it already made?

Bai Ling: Yes, it’s already made. It’s in post-production and color correction now. It’s so crazy. I made it in the height of the Covid time. Most difficult time. You couldn’t shoot film. It was really, really difficult. I achieved it on my own. All my fans on social media be asking me, “Bai Ling, you don’t script. You don’t have money. How the hell do you make a movie? Steven Spielberg wouldn’t do it.” My answer was, “Because I’m Bai Ling. Because I have the universe behind me.”

Seriously, you have to follow the universe. If I go to a studio, they’re still changing my script, and I’ll never get it made. You just have to do it. My post-production people I’ve never met. They said, “Wow, it’s like a roller coaster! So much fun.” Because it’s very current pop culture and fast-paced. So that one you will like. It’s a feature film, not a TV show, but still has the fun element like Barbee Rehab. But it’s sexy, sexy, sexy. That’s why I said it’s a weapon. Men come to me with toilet paper. They all want a good relationship, and it’s a disaster. The next one comes, and it’s so much fun. You will like it.

PopHorror: That sounds amazing! 

Bai Ling: It’s hilarious!

PopHorror: What is up next for you? Is there anything else that you’re currently working on?

Bai Ling: Oh my God. I’ve been so lucky. Currently, I am in Miami shooting a movie. I have literally five movies on my plate that I’m shooting. I just did a horror movie in Los Angeles, then directly to New York to do a comedy. Now here in Miami shooting a thriller. A kind of horror/thriller film. Then I’m going to England to shoot a movie, then Hong Kong to shoot a movie. I’m going to Hong Kong to shoot another horror movie. It’s not like Dumplings but still a really scary movie. So I’m in negotiations right now in Hong Kong. Literally five or six movies like back to back. Just keep shooting!

PopHorror: Great! I will keep an eye out for those. I’m excited to see what you have coming up for us.

Bai Ling: I do different genres like horror, comedy, action/drama. And I’m good at all of those things. With actors, not many people can do all kinds, but I can and I’m very excited about that. That talent to contribute to cinema.

PopHorror: Just one last question for you today. What is your favorite scary movie?

Bai Ling: Well, I’m going to say Dumplings! Because I don’t watch much movies, and Dumplings psychologically appeals to you. And also it’s about current views. All these topics that are really haunting everybody’s souls. That’s why I like it. It’s very haunting. I won an Asian Academy Award for my acting.

Thank you so much, Bai Ling, for taking the time to speak with us. Barbee Rehab is coming soon to Tubi!

About Tiffany Blem

Horror lover, dog mommy, book worm, EIC of PopHorror.

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