Martina Garcia brings Hoplophobia to life in ‘Phobias’

Photo Courtesy of Vertical Entertainment

Martina Garcia jumps into a darker role in Phobias. She plays Alma, a war vet and single mom who struggles to keep her fears from taking over.

Phobias synopsis: Five dangerous patients, suffering from extreme phobias at a government testing facility, are put to the ultimate test under the supervision of a crazed doctor and his quest to weaponize fear.

Also starring: Alexis Knapp, Charlotte McKinney, Hana Mae Lee, Lauren Miller Rogen, Macy Gray and Leonardo Nam. Directed by: Camilla Belle, Maritte Lee Go, Joe Sill, Jess Varley, and Chris Von Hoffman; each taking a phobia segment of the film for this anthology. The five phobias include atelophobia, robophobia, hoplophobia, vehophobia and ephebiphobia.

What drew you to this project?
Photo Courtesy of Vertical Entertainment

Martina: It was a very interesting role. Even though she’s a single mom, and a veteran. She’s a strong woman, she’s just suffered from the trauma of some events that she went through. But I thought it was very interesting to go through that psychological journey and definitely also, I got to work with Camilla Belle. I knew her work as an actress, and it was very flattering that she thought of me for the role of Alma. We connected very well and I thought it was a great opportunity to be directed by an actress. And I thought that this segment came out even better because of that. She understood exactly what I was going through and she was with me all the time and we worked together very closely. Yeah, it was great. And it was very different from what I was doing at the time because I’ve never done a horror film before, some thrillers maybe or a psychological thriller, but not a horror film. And I think this one has had some depth in the story that was appealing as well.

You star as Alma in the hoplophobia segment, what exactly is hoplophobia?

Martina: It’s the fear of firearms and weapons. I had no idea whatsoever that apparently there’s a word out there for every single phobia. But yeah, I didn’t know about it, although I think it’s pretty common, a lot of people don’t like weapons. 

Do you think that you have this phobia as well?

Martina: No, I wouldn’t call it a phobia on my end, but don’t like weapons, I don’t feel comfortable with them. I mean, it was fun for the movie to learn how to shoot a gun, but it’s not something. I don’t have a phobia, not where I can get triggered from a trauma like Alma. But, for me, it’s more violence in general, I don’t like it.

You have an awesome fight scene, what went into creating it?

Martina: We did a lot of stunt rehearsals with the guns. With those things, you always want to be careful that nobody gets hurt, that you don’t get hurt, that everything’s perfect for the camera especially, because the camera has to really see it like it’s as real as possible. I can’t remember exactly how we did it but I just remember it was really fun and everyone on set that day was cheering me on. But yeah, I was breaking plates and throwing knives and there’s a lot of fun things that are not always easy so they were trying to make me feel comfortable with it. It was really, really fun to do and the stunt team took great care of me and nobody got hurt.

Leonardo Nam and Martina Garcias in ‘Phobias.’ Photo Courtesy of Vertical Entertainment
When you were preparing to play Alma. Did you do anything special to get into character?

Martina: I researched trauma and triggers and PTSD and all of that. I wasn’t very familiar with those terms, and then I kind of understood, real quick, how it works. I read a lot about it… I totally understood where her fear and her phobia came from. We also shot chronologically, which was great to just like kind of really get into it.  After the accidental hit during that raid,  well, it’s normal, not that she’s crazy or anything, it’s just that she’s a human being and she did something that wasn’t supposed to happen.  She just got all this trauma and PTSD and all that and it’s a very common thing. I just think, right now, with a pandemic and all of that, it’s become easier to talk about. More people are starting to open up about the things that they go through their personal life. So, it’s more common to use those terms. I did a lot of research and now I feel like I sort of went through that too.

Is there anything else that you would like to add about Phobias?

Martina: There were a lot of females on this team, which was really great and I want to see more films in the future that involve so many women. With Phobias, we even had three female directors, Jess (Varley), Maritte (Go) and Camilla, who are great, amazingly talented women, and I’m just very excited about working more with women. There were really great guys as well, it’s just sometimes we feel like there’s a lack of women on set, and this was not the case. I’m very proud of that.

Camilla Belle directing Martina Garcia in ‘Phobias.’ Photo Courtesy of Vertical Entertainment
Phobias will be released On Demand and digital on March 19th.