With over 200 million daily active users, Snapchat is one of the most popular messaging apps on the planet. While the name Snapchat has become synonymous with the concept of quickly erasable photos, over the last few years, Snapchat has expanded its offerings to also include original made-for-mobile episodic series. One such series is Breakwater, a Snap Original which takes place in a futuristic world filled with climate refugees.
At last weekend’s WonderCon, Blast Magazine had the opportunity to chat with Breakwater actress Nelita Villezon, a talented performer and martial artist, who brings her passion and skills to life in her role as “Wasp.”
Blast Magazine: Could you tell us a bit about who Wasp is and how she fits into the world of Breakwater?
Nelita Villezon: Wasp is the cartel boss’ right hand. She is his number one henchman and the muscle of the cartel.
Blast Magazine: What was it about the character of Wasp that made you interested in bringing her to life?
Villezon: I love a really great villain. A great villain can make you like them and that’s what I loved about playing the character of Wasp. Breakwater was a really fun and colorful show. I grew up on things like Waterworld and this is kind of like a remake, but in the modern day.
Blast Magazine: Given that the show was filmed for Snapchat, how did that affect the filming process?
Villezon: It was so different for me because I’m used to the regular format for filming, where everything is filmed horizontally. Breakwater was all shot vertically. We even got to film some scenes on a 3D camera that I had never seen before, which made us really pixelated whenever we had to do Facetime calls between the characters. It was a very interesting filming process.
Blast Magazine: Breakwater has very clear themes of the consequences of climate change and the impact of natural disasters. Are you interested in doing similar projects in the future or would you like to venture into other genres?
Villezon: At heart, I’m kind of like a sci-fi, extraterrestrial type of girl, so I love things that dive into that. What was special about this project though was that we had a multi-ethnic cast. We had a girl who was from New Zealand, a Dominican character, a Mexican-American actor, and I’m Filipino and American. It was really nice to have that diversity in there. I also loved having Breakwater set in the future, because I think in the future, there are so many possibilities for what we can do. So yes, I would be very open to doing more projects like Breakwater. I also have an upcoming film I’m doing that has to do with time travel.
Blast Magazine: Can you walk me through the process of how you got the role of Wasp?
Villezon: I worked with King Vader before on some of the projects that he had. One of the directors from that remembered me and my background, which is martial arts and MMA, and told me that they had a great show coming up on Snapchat. He said that they needed a badass stunt woman who could come in and hold her own and he thought of me first. That’s how I got introduced to the show itself. I still had to go through the audition process just like everyone else, but I’m happy to say that the acting skills match the technical skills.
Blast Magazine: Since you have a background in martial arts, did you get to do a lot of fighting in this series?
Villezon: Oh my gosh, yes. We have an amazing fight scene that you definitely need to check out, and like I said, I’m the muscle for the cartel. It’s like a two on one match between me and two of the main characters. You gotta watch to see who wins that. I hope to see where we can go with the fight scenes if it actually goes into a second season because I think we can expand more upon that.
Blast Magazine: How did you first become introduced to martial arts? Is this something you’ve done since you were a child or a skill set you picked up as an adult?
Villezon: My dad does martial arts and I grew up doing it my entire life. I studied a lot of different styles. I am half Filippino, so I do Filipino martial arts. I do Jeet Kune Do, which is Bruce Lee’s martial arts. I also do Northern Shaolin, Wushu, and Muy Thai. You name it, I’ve done it. I love doing it. It’s a forever kind of art and skill. Like people say, it is an art. A lot of times people think of martial arts as being very brutal and it’s not necessarily that. If it has to be in defense, of course, but it’s definitely an art and a life-long practice.
Blast Magazine: That’s incredibly impressive. Obviously, the fight scenes in Breakwater were perfect for your skill set. What did you find to be the most difficult part of shooting the series?
Villezon: The most difficult part was that we were in a water world, so a lot of the scenes we had to shoot were in water. For one of the ending scenes, it was freezing cold at night and we had to wear these tight wetsuits we could barely move in. We were walking and fighting in the water, which was quite difficult. It was also quite cool though because they created artificial rain for us for those scenes.
Be sure to watch all ten episodes of Breakwater on Snapchat and follow Nelita on Instagram at @nelita_v.