Meet the Real Mary Barger, Drake Doremus' 5th Grade Girlfriend and Douchebag Muse
(*See the end of this post for details on tonight's screening followed by an audience Q&A with Doremus and Corona del Mar actor Ben York Jones, who plays Tom in his boyhood chum's movie.)
At the time we spoke, 27-year-old Barger, who works at an insurance brokerage in Orange, had just returned from the Douchebag premiere at the Village East Cinema in New York City.
OC Weekly: How was New York?
Mary Barger: It was so fun. We had a really good time.
So, Drake was telling me how he bumped into you just before going to Sundance and how that was the first time he'd seen you in years.
Yeah, we had been talking on Facebook, and he kind of told me what he'd been up to. Later he wrote me and said he had used me as a as character. I didn't believe him. Like, "Sure, I bet you say that to all the girls." Finally, a long time later, he said, "Look, I have something to show you." We made plans to meet up at Sundance. And then, randomly, about a week or two before, I think he was meeting his mom in Orange, and I was there eating with my mom and I looked up and said, "That's him!" It was so crazy.
It had been how long since you'd seen him face-to-face?
Fifteen years. I recognized him from that hair. I had seen it on Facebook, so I knew it was him.
- A Douchebag Takes Sundance: OC stage prodigy-turned-filmmaker Drake Doremus brings his 'very personal' movie to Park City, Utah
Had you and Drake gone to elementary school together the whole time at Oak Ridge?
No, he came in the fifth grade. He was only there one year. I think they kicked him out. I knew he had come from other schools and had been thrown out of other schools. He was the bad boy. I don't remember him being thrown out, but that's what he says.
And you still remembered him, all these years later.
Yeah, I remembered his first name, Drake. I forgot his last name. We were talking and I remembered when I dedicated a 10,000 Maniacs song to him.
So, how do you go from that to actually going to Sundance?
He had told me had had a movie there called Spooner. [Editor's Note: Spooner actually played at Salt Lake City's Slamdance, which ran concurrently with Sundance, the year before Douchebag was selected for the Park City festival's dramatic competition.] I saw Spooner and thought, "Wow, this is really good. It looks great and I like the music." I always wanted to go to Sundance, so when he sent me something that showed it was legit my name was used as one of the characters in Douchebag, it was an excuse to go to Sundance. It was a cool thing to go for, and I got three of my girlfriends to go with me.
Was that the first time you saw the completed Douchebag, that first night at Sundance?
Actually, I had a terrible experience. We got lost on the bus and were totally late. It was supposed to take 15 minutes and it took 1 ½ hours. I saw a little bit of the end. I saw the question and answer period. I came in and he mentioned to the audience how the character is named after me and we all screamed, "Woo!" We were so happy for him.
I heard you, behind me in the audience. So, wait, you never saw the whole . . .
I had to wait until it came to Newport to see the whole thing. [Douchebag played at April's Newport Beach Film Festival.] My whole family went and my girlfriends. Everyone really enjoyed it. We didn't know what to expect, but it was really good, so funny. I was so happy for him. He's really amazing.
Did you think, back in the fifth grade, that Drake would some day grow up to become a movie maker?
[Laughs] I don't think so. He was just the bad boy causing trouble. He was not focused. I don't know what I thought.