of a Legend: The Story of the WAWA (US-2008, directed
by Steve Wiggins)
Tee, Alabama, has a problem; a big, wormy, carnivorous
mutation that comes out of the polluted lake to chew
up the residents and generally cause trouble for everyone.
Everyone except Sheri Wiggins, that is, who with her
husband, director Steve Wiggins, is responsible for
exposing the horror to the world.
Search-Robot Avery (otherwise known as Avery Battles)
asked Sheri about their new movie and how it came about.
Over the years you and Steve have been involved in various
aspects and in various fields of the entertainment industry.
What attracted you to these?
Wiggins: Steve has been involved with TV and
film for over 20 years and it has always been something
he was interested in doing. As for me ... well when
I married Steve it seemed like the most natural thing
to do ... be a movie-maker.
Who have been your greatest influences?
The person who has influenced me the most would probably
be Mel Brooks and directors of his ilk.
Was making a feature-length film of this kind always
part of your master plan?
Yes, making a feature film was ALWAYS the master plan
-- though shorts and Internet TV are way cool, too.
I think being creative and seeing your words come to
life are just the cat's ass. However, Steve and I have
talked about making a feature-length film in particular
for a long time and the comedy/horror aspect was just
a given ... having the personalities that Steve and
I have ... and of course the movie had to take place
in the southern United States, a place that both of
us love dearly.
Where did the idea of filming a 'creature feature' come
We decided to make a Creature Feature one night as Steve,
Charles Rose and I were down in the basement trying
to come up with an idea for a movie ... And once we
started talking about creatures and such, the idea just
stuck when we threw it up against the old creative wall.
How would you describe Birth of a Legend: The Story
of the Wawa?
Birth of a Legend; The Story of the WAWA is
a funny little film that pokes fun at good ole boys,
the deep south and all that it represents. We not only
poke fun at authority and the creature genre in and
of itself ... but we give it to clichés in general.
We put political correctness out there for everyone
to see just how insane it is.
The film is a comedy but is it meant to be more of a
'spoof' or a 'loving tribute' to the monster films of
I would say BOAL is not only a spoof of the Creature
Feature genre but a loving tribute to all "B"
movies out there.
Where did the monster's name "Wawa" come from?
Does it mean something?
WAWA ... just what does it mean? You mean you can't
guess? OK, OK ... I'll tell you. WAWA stands for West
Alabama Whoop Ass. 'Cause that is just what the ole
WAWA does: Whoop up on some Alabama ass.
The film plays up the old "atomic age" monster
Yes, we were making fun of atomic power ... this time
not the A-bomb, but nuclear power plants in general.
Always an easy mark, don't you think?
Did you have any of the classic monster films in mind
while filming this feature?
We really didn't have in one film in mind as we made
this movie ... but if I have to pinpoint one particular
film it might be modelled after, I would say the old
Swamp Thing movies.
Would you say that the theme of those sort of films
is still relevant in today's world?
I believe there will always be a place for downright
good old monster movies ... whether they scare the begeeze
out of you ... or whether they do send ups of the old
"B' movies of the 50s and 60s. There are always
new ways to re-invent the good old man-eating monster.
The concept/design for the creature is, in my opinion,
one of the most 'unique' in cinema history. Who was
in charge of its actualisation?
Steve and I came up with the idea and we had a friend
who had studied horror makeup and monster building in
Florida, Kelly Boyd. We consulted her and decided to
show just part of the monster ... which, by the way,
was originally intended to be a mutant catfish, but
we opted for a giant mutant worm instead.
What types of special effects were used in bringing
this monster to life?
We brought this wonderful monster to life with movie
magic ... and a lot of man-power. Don't want me giving
up all the trade secrets, do ya?
Birth of a Legend contains a wide range of
characters, many stereotypes. Did the inspiration for
these come from real life?
Each and every character in Birth of a Legend: The
Story of the WAWA was fashioned after someone from
our quad city area, Florence, Muscle Shoals, Tuscumbia
and good old Sheffield, Alabama. Even the names are
similar to some of our most infamous/famous town folk.
Well, that's pretty scary in itself! Where did you find
the actors to play the varied parts and what was it
like working with them?
Most of the actors and actresses we used in our movie
had little or no training for the movies. The vast majority
of our cast was and is active in local theatre. Some,
though, have never acted before -- such as David Beddingfield,
who played Biggers and Charlene Carter who played Simpson.
And I must say that both did outstanding work for their
first dive into acting.
Were there any aspects of the process that you particularly
I would say that as far as making the movie goes everything
about doing it -- from the writing of the script to
the last cut, to editing -- was the most fun! If I had
to say that something had a negative aspect, it would
be the casting. It was hard having to say 'no' to some
very eager actors and having to hope we chose the best
from the casting calls.
Any funny (or horrific) stories from being on the set
that you'd like to tell us about?
Well, there was the night we were filming the death
of Smiley, played by Jeremy Woods. Several of the actors
had travelled from out of town to shoot this scene and
the boat was on loan to us for just one night. We rehearsed
and rehearsed before we got Jeremy wet (we only had
one Rooster Scent t-shirt). And Steve had been warning
RJ (RJ O' Connoll, who plays Chigger) to be careful
with the boom mic around the water's edge ... well,
just before we were ready to shoot the scene RJ danced
the mic into the water. I thought Steve was going to
blow a gasket -- he called the boy every name in the
book -- thankfully the mic was not hurt and the scene
went off without a hitch.
there was the time we were shooting the rescue scene
late one night ... about 1 am or so … and everyone
was dog-tired. All the girls were around the table serving
coffee and such and the guys were back behind the camera
and Barbara O'Connoll was shining a huge light out over
the water ... when a giant river rat ran from the bluff,
right through the crowd of four or five guys standing
off camera. They all jumped up on the truck shivering
like little girls ... the rat ran passed the camera
operator and right under the table where there were
four or five women sitting and standing doing their
parts ... out from under the table across some rocks
and right behind Barbara. None of them ever saw the
rat. Had they seen it we would probably still be trying
to shoot that scene!
What has the reaction to the film been like so far and
what further plans do you have for it?
The reaction to BOAL has surprised both Steve and myself.
People love the movie. At the first screening in Huntington,
West Virginia where the movie was screened at the Appy
Fest [Appalachian Film Festival 2007, where the movie
was a competition finalist], everyone laughed in all
the right places and everyone seemed to really enjoy
this little flick. We have sold close to 200 copies
of the movie so far [before being formally distributed]
and it seems to be taking on a life of its own. We are
pleased to see our work so well received, considering
that Steve and I had the motto -- which all of the cast
soon picked up -- "Laugh with us … hey, that's
OK ... laugh at us ... hey, we can live with that ...
main thing is, folks, just laugh, 'cause that's what
it's all about and we've done something right if you
do. Thank you ... thank you very much!"
hoping that in the future we can screen the flick at
a couple of theatres and maybe enter a few more film
A sequel perhaps?
Well, who knows? We will never rule the possibility
have you had any offers from any companies interested
in distributing the film?
We have had a couple of companies looking into distributing
the movie. We're not at liberty to give out the names
of the interested companies at this time. Keep your
Would another different "creature feature"
be on the cards?
Who knows what the future holds? There could be another
creature in the Tennessee River ... and we might just
be the folks to make her a star!
Or perhaps you have plans to try a new genre altogether?
We have considered making a short (30 minute) flick
of straight psycho horror. We are tossing some ideas
around about that as we speak. As for loss and redemption
... don't look for that from Steve and I.
What does your future hold in terms of cinema?
We would love to do another feature film. But this time
we would like to do it right, with a budget. But if
that doesn't happen, we will stick with shorts and Internet
TV. Gotta tell you, the movie-making bug has bitten
both of us.
In closing, is there anything you might like to add?
I would personally like to thank everyone who helped
with this wonderful movie -- from the actors to the
behind-the-scenes crew to Corey Barker out of Nashville,
Tennessee, who wrote a wonderful soundtrack for our
movie. I would love to thank everyone who has taken
the chance on WAWA and bought the movie. Kisses and
hugs to you all!.
Battles describes himself as "a big
kaiju fan, obsessive completist, and animal/nature
lover". As 'Kaiju Search-Robot Avery' he helps
Backbrain to keep up-to-date on kaiju
cinematic rumblings and to maintain the giant monster
and zombie film lists. He also frequents RoboJapan
/ MonsterIsland News as a blogger where he's known
as 'avery guerra'. "I love to help promote
projects that I'm passionate about, no matter how
big or small."