Ralph “Sonny” Barger Produces His Own Film

Ralph “Sonny” Barger, who is a founding member of the Oakland chapter of the Hells Angels, who has written several books, starred in HELLS ANGELS 69 as well a role in cable TV’s SONS OF ANARCHY is bringing his novel DEAD IN 5 HEARTBEATS as a film to theaters in September.  The buzz is that the film is a far more realistic portrayal of the biker lifestyle than THE SONS OF ANARCHY or those old exploitation movies with biker genre themes by far. And although this movie was filmed in Arizona in about 25 days on a sort of tight budget, it could well be a film so good that Ralph “Sonny” Barger might find himself getting a lot of credit for now becoming part of good independent filmmaking. With THE SONS OF ANARCHY so hot right now, the time seems right for biker films to step up with far better films than in the past. And Ralph “Sonny “Barger received praise for his novel, which only seemed to encourage that a film adaptation be made from the book.

Barger and the other production crew who shot the film were able to get around 60 real members of the Hells Angels and a number of other real clubs to participate in the film, making it perhaps the largest cooperative film effort since HELLS ANGELS 69, in which Sonny Barger and a number of real motorcycle club members actually were in the cast along with the regular actors. Facebook posts helped to get cooperation among a number of motorcycle club members to help make this film on a tight budget for the actors. The production crew were very impressed at the excellent effort put in by the real motorcycle club members who worked long shifts on the film and proved themselves to be very good actors as well as excellent at riding skills to make this a quality film, although the actor’s pay couldn’t always match the huge budget productions from the big studios.

The movie features scenes shot from the motorcycle view with special cameras fitted to the helmets and the motorcycles as well. So you get views from both the rider as well as the motorcycle. The movie is about a fictional motorcycle club called The Infidelz. Barger claims that this film is a fictional account of some real events that took place. That sounds pretty exciting, and promises some great action scenes in addition to a quality story, unlike those old exploitation movies which were not always top notch in writing quality.

Today, Barger is in his 70’s, and despite having had throat cancer, he has been an active actor and writer. 12 years ago, FOX was supposed to work with Barger on a film, but it just never seemed to happen year after year, so Barger helped to produce this film himself because FOX let him down by not fulfilling their commitment to bring a film to actual production. During the production, Barger was found to have prostate cancer, so his wife took over day to day production to see this film through while Barger had his surgery. Some friends of Barger even borrowed money on their homes to help to produce this film in addition to what the Barger’s did for this film.  Production of films is very expensive, and the hope is to match what FOX might have done if they only had followed through on a project with Barger.

Whatever stereotypes that some may hold of Barger are quickly dissolved by some interviews with Barger and what postive comments some of his neighbors have posted about their neighbor on the Internet. Despite his health problems in recent years, Barger gets up early in the morning to take care of his horses, which are his second love in life next to motorcycles. And one of his young female neighbors who was out selling rice crispy snacks for charity remembers a friendly man who always smiles at his neighbors, who is more than happy to support kid’s charity events by buying their snacks they sell.  In a recent interview, Barger is asked about how he personally takes time out to autograph his books and take them to the post office himself,  and Barger, comically replied, “Well, someone has to”.  You quickly get the impression that Barger is a genuine and real down to Earth guy, a guy who feels that when someone buys a book from him, that he should sign it and take it to the post office himself. He owes you that as his personal thank you.  That’s a work ethic missing from too many business people these days. When Barger sees work to be done, he steps up and does it himself, and not always delegate things to others as many people do.  What his wife most loves about Barger is his kindness, She said he’s always willing to open his wallet to someone in need as long as they aren’t using the money to smoke or do something bad with the money.

Actor Jeff Black and other production crew were greatly impressed at what genuine values that the real motorcycle club extras brought to this movie, putting in an excellent effort to make this film a success. The movie was shot in 3D with really breathtaking results. Some say this is one of the best 3D films ever shot because it’s so real and not gimmicky like many 3D films tend to be.

The new film promises to be both exciting as well as funny at moments. It is said to have all of the right elements  to capture audience attention.  The film is set to have local engagements at theaters during July and August, and a DVD release should be in the works eventually as well. Independent filmmaking brings many challenges to a crew to produce something comparable to what the major studios do each day. But, everyone involved in the production of this film are hopeful that this film becomes a breakthrough favorite, that word of mouth and good buzz help to make it a success for all of the hard work involved.

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