When Glen Weiss says he didn't think the name of his first feature would cause a stir, he seems sincere.
"I never had any idea that the name was going to cause any kind of stink," he says, in a gee-whiz tone that would have you believing he reads Playboy for the articles. "It's just a bikini and, in fact, she wears a cape, so..."
Be that as it may, in 2006 a national — make that "international," as Weiss is quick to point out — stink arose as Weiss was filming his previous magnum opus, Thong Girl 3: Revenge of the Dark Widow. The trouble started when the Nashville filmmaker asked Don Wright, then mayor of Gallatin, if he could shoot a scene in his office. Assured by Weiss that there was no nudity, sex or bad language in the film (true), which Weiss told him was called Revenge of the Dark Widow (mostly true), Wright said yes.
After a successful shoot, Weiss posted a thank-you on his blog. That gesture, however, created a damning Google relationship linking the mayor, Gallatin and Thong Girl. A reporter did a web search, and soon Wright — along with Today, The Tonight Show, papers across the country, and even the Beijing Youth Daily — began to find out the film's actual details. Stuff like the heroine's name, and her special power ... shooting lasers out of her ass.
Wright was defeated in the subsequent election — even though he's the rare politician who can say, truthfully, he had no idea what a blonde in a thong was doing in his office.
That catches you up on Thong Girl's story off-screen. But Weiss says you don't have to be familiar with her first three on-screen adventures — a television sketch, a 20-minute short and the aforementioned feature — to get the latest, which premieres at 7 p.m. Thursday at The Belcourt.
What's more, he says Thong Girl 4: The Body Electric is bigger and better than the others. After spending $7,000 on Thong Girl 3, Weiss says he's gone as far as he can on his own with Thong Girl 4.
"I can't afford to do another movie as big as this last one," Weiss says, chatting over a McDougal's chicken sandwich in Hillsboro Village. "I spent $30,000 of my own money on this movie. I don't have any more money."
The bigger budget allowed for a finished product that he says "looks more like a real movie," without losing the deliberate cheesiness inspired, in part, by the "Booms!" and "Pows!" of the 1960s Batman television series. But production values aren't the only thing that separates Thong Girl 4 from its predecessors.
In Thong Girl 3, Assistant DA Lana Layonme, aka Thong Girl (then played by Leah Adcock), battled the Dark Widow, a villain bent on turning Nashville's beloved country stars into (gasp!) hip-hop stars. This time around, her sister Laura (played by new Thong Girl Alex Del Monacco) must assume the power of The Thong after her sibling meets a tragic demise, involving a bathtub and an accidental laser discharge.
Naturally, this requires some adjustment. ("You can't just shoot an ass-laser for the first time and expect it to work," Weiss says. "You know that.") Soon, however, she's facing off with the great-grandson of Thomas Edison, Electar, and his weaponized Gibson guitar. There's even a dance-fight number and a cameo for Troma founder Lloyd Kaufman as Edison.
Weiss says he plans to take his movie on the road. After that, he wants to write some webisodes and even has plans for — move over Spider-Man — a Thong Girl musical. And even if he never gets the money back from Thong Girl 4, he says it will not have been a waste.
"I didn't really make it to get my money back, I made it to make a better movie," he says. "I'm not broke ... well, I'm broke, but I'm not destitute and I'm still here. If I could break even that'd be great, but that's not why I do it."
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