Bustle Booth

Ariela Barer Doesn’t Actually Want You To Blow Up A Pipeline

The star, co-writer, and co-producer of How to Blow Up a Pipeline thinks there are better ways to make change.

When Ariela Barer arrived at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) last year to promote How to Blow Up a Pipeline, she was a little nervous. Well, really nervous. “I was so stressed out that I got my period two full weeks early, and I had chosen to wear a completely sheer dress,” the actor tells Bustle. “We had no distribution. We had picture locked the movie two weeks before. We had not shown anyone the ending ... I thought we were going to get booed off the stage.”

In fairness, the film didn’t exactly scream “crowd pleaser” on paper. Although How to Blow Up a Pipeline adheres to the contours of a Hollywood heist movie, following a ragtag crew as they plot to, well, blow up a pipeline, it comes from heady source material: Andreas Malm’s academic text by the same name, which calls on climate activists to graduate from peaceful protests to oil industry sabotage. Director Daniel Goldhaber, co-writer Jordan Sjol, and Barer — who co-wrote and co-produced the film, in addition to starring in it — made the film on a shoestring budget, often rewriting and condensing scenes on set to accommodate time constraints. Barer was a bundle of nerves the whole time, not least because she felt pressure to do right by the Malms of the world. “I did many times tell myself I could forgive myself for making a less than great movie,” she says, “but I could not forgive myself for hurting a movement.”

But Barer didn’t have anything to worry about. The movie got a standing ovation at TIFF, and earned raves from critics. “In hindsight, it’s one of the best, most fun things that I've ever done in my life, and I was so scared of it for no reason,” Barer says of her time at the festival. “A lesson for life.”

At just 24, Barer already has plenty of life lessons under her belt. While pursuing a career in entertainment, nabbing roles in the likes of Marvel’s TV series Runaways and Netflix’s Atypical, Barer’s also been learning how to make change — attending protests, sharing resources, the works. Though she doesn’t consider making How to Blow Up a Pipeline a form of activism, she does think it has a role to play in the conversation. “I'm hoping success for this movie is people finding ways to get involved, to prevent ever having to get to a point where something like [blowing up a pipeline] has to happen,” she says. If it works, it was well worth the stress.

Learn more about Barer in her Bustle Booth questionnaire below.

In The Bustle Booth

What's your coffee order?

A latte.

What are the saved weather locations on your phone?

Oh my God, I've never traveled so much as I have for this movie: I've got New York, Paris, Los Angeles, Barcelona, Leiden, Gihon, Berlin, Dublin, Philadelphia, Goa, and Glasgow.

What’s your sign?

I'm a Libra, but it's a little misleading because I'm a Scorpio rising, but also apparently my dominant sign in my chart, I have a stellium in Sagittarius. So my energy is apparently mostly Sagittarius, Scorpio.

Favorite overused movie quote?

This is not a movie quote, but in every Disney channel show someone says the words “he’s right behind me, isn’t he?” and it makes me laugh every time.

What was your favorite cartoon as a kid?

The Simpsons. I still can quote every episode.

What’s one movie or TV show you're currently obsessed with?

Movie: Strange Days by Katherine Bigelow. Obsessed. TV show: I finally finished Succession. I'm so excited for the next season. And I'm rewatching Girls. I'm part of the movement; I'm a Girls revivalist.

Who is your celeb idol?

Nan Goldin. I’m very much a Nan Goldin girlie.

If you had to be on a reality TV show, what would it be?

I want to say Survivor. I don't think I'd come out looking great on Survivor, though.

Go-to karaoke song?

“What’s Up?” by 4 Non Blondes.

What’s something that’s inspiring you lately?

I've been very inspired by the idea of spring recently. I've never experienced weather before. I lived in a desert my whole life in LA.

What is something you would want people to say about you?

“Hanging out with Ariela makes me want to go in the world and be my best self.”