The cast of ‘Ash vs. Evil Dead’ visit aTVfest to talk special effects and cult-classics
“Ash vs. Evil Dead” is back for a third season and fans of the cult-classic horror franchise came out to aTVfest on Feb. 2 to check out a sneak peak of the new season. The Connector got to sit down with some of the cast and talk a little bit about how they became a part of the iconic gorefest and how the movies have evolved into the series we have today.
First, we spoke to Arielle Carver-O’Neill (Brandy Barr) and Lindsay Farris (Dalton), two of the newer additions to the cast but whose characters have roots in the original films.
The Connector: How do you like Atlanta, and are you looking forward to the panel coming up?
Farris: I’m a bit of a cold weather guy, but I’m from the beach on the central coast in Australia so it’s kind of nice to just get the big coats out.
Carver-O’Neill: I am so excited for the panel because I am so jet-lagged right now. Coffee is not going to do a thing, but the adrenaline from the crowd I’m hoping will be like a jump-start.
Farris: There’s nothing quite like it.
Carver-O’neill: No there isn’t. I’m just excited for that so I can finally feel awake.
The Connector: This is such a popular cult-classic series, what was it like getting to participate in something like this? And, do you guys feel the pressure of this as a monumental series for people?
Farris: I’m really excited because I play Dalton, who is one of the descendants of the Knights of Sumeria, so with me I get bring this whole brand new mythology. So, it was going back and studying the films and studying the TV show and kind of trying to find things that I could plant as little easter eggs for fans, for the die-hard fans if they keep an eye out. There’s some things in there I think the fans will enjoy and it was exciting to bring that to life.
The Connector: That’s awesome. That’s definitely a dream job, getting to study the Evil Dead films.
Farris: Absolutely man. Because Rob Tapert, Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell are still involved in the whole thing, you’re trying to honor that legacy and honor the fans but you also have the original creators and collaborators. It’s not just a stick on top, it’s the guts of the old-school.
Carver-O’Neill: It’s legitimate. It is an honor being a part of something so iconic, and there is a certain amount of pressure in playing Ash’s daughter. I was very nervous going in there. Because you know how much people love it and how dedicated they are. You don’t want to disappoint anybody, but at the end of the day, you can only give it all you can and do your absolute best and kind of leave it there and just have fun. The first thing that Bruce said to me when I met him was, “if you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong.” And that was something that I needed to remind myself of and keep doing, because it was so much fun to be a part of because you really are in the world. They’ve built these incredible sets, so you’re in it for real. Even though you are playing pretend, there’s something genuine about it. And, that is an incredible and inspiring situation to be in.
The Connector: Is that conducive as actors to your performance? Is it genuinely scary?
Carver-O’Neill: Yes. [laughs]
The Connector: I would think because of the increase in production value and the practical effects, is it almost easier to affect other personalities?
Carver-O’Neill: It does make it a bit easier. There is less to imagine. There are certain things with monsters and the blood and all that sort of stuff, it is practical effects most of the time, but you still do need to imagine someone actually getting parts of their limbs chopped off or, getting chainsawed in the stomach. It’s obviously not really happening, so your imagination is necessary, but it does get very scary. Brock’s house in particular is quite a terrifying set.
Farris: Yeah, they built the whole house.
Carver-O’Neill: They built the whole house — it creaks, and there are stains from the previous seasons on the walls and it feels creepy. I would not want to be there alone at night.
Farris: That’s one of the unique things about this show, too, that it does mix practical prosthetics and literal blood rather than it all being done in post where you’re just acting in front of a blue screen and making things up. Like, you can not gauge your reaction when you get shot in the face with a blood cannon.
Carver-O’Neill: You couldn’t act if you tried. There’s no controlling what happens to you when you get like a gallon of blood just shot at your head. There’s no preparing for that.
The Connector: What would your advice be to SCAD students or aspiring artists looking to get out into the industry?
Farris: For me, it’s just about time. If you keep working on your craft and you don’t give up, you don’t stop, and keep trying to get better and better, something’s got to give. You’ll either die, quit or you’ll get a job.
Carver-O’Neill: Persistence is key. Something that sticks with me is, I figure that if you keep learning and keep trying to better yourself. You just keep doing it in any way that you can. Eventually, something is going to happen. It might take a really long time, it might take no time at all. It is all about timing, like Lindsay said, something’s got to give. Persistence is key.
Next, The Connector sat down with Dana Delorenzo (Kelly Maxwell) to talk a little bit about how she handles the attention from the audience and what it’s like to work on such an influential series, and also get some insight from Bruce Campbell (Ash Williams).
The Connector: Are you excited to be at SCAD for the panel?
Delorenzo: I was just in Atlanta a couple months ago for Walker Stalker and these fans are amazing. I don’t want to play favorites, but I have to say, Hotlanta — well, I’ve changed the name actually to “Ashlanta,” because of the awesome energy. I really love it here. There’s great food and great people. So, now that I get to be back a few months later, and we get to show a sneak preview of the first episode that’s going to be out in a couple of weeks, and they get first dibs, I couldn’t think of a better place. I really, really love the people here and having spent three days meeting fans, I can say that for a fact. I haven’t met a bad person yet. I get really excited when we get to share this stuff with an audience and be there with them. Because we go and we work on set all day in New Zealand and get covered in blood, and it’s drying and half of your hair is ripping out. You can’t sit down anywhere. The bathroom looks like a murder scene from “C.S.I.” So when we do it, we know we are doing that for the fans. But seeing that final product and getting that response from them is the best since this whole show exists, Bruce has said it himself, because fans have pestered him and Rob and Sam for twenty years to make a follow-up. So, yes, I am excited.
The Connector. Do you feel the pressure of that from the fan base since they are so adamant about their support? Are you worried that something could be potentially mishandled there?
Delorenzo: Well, luckily I don’t make decisions on the show. So, I will say that in the beginning before we started filming, I actually was terrified. Because I know this franchise. I was a fan and it’s about one guy. So, the idea in the beginning moving forward with two sidekicks, it could have gone very differently. Luckily, we were in very good hands and Bruce Campbell is incredible and took Ray and I under his chainsaw wing, as I like to say. So, I’d have to say right now that they have embraced us. I am so grateful that they have and that Kelly and Pablo have come into their own as characters. There’s no pressure, except that we hope that we outdo ourselves every time.
The Connector: That is awesome that you started as a fan and then you were able to connect with fans as a part of the show as well.
Delorenzo: It’s the greatest. Especially when I have people cosplaying Kelly. My non-cool factor shows because I attack them. I get so excited that they are the ones that slowly back away from me like, “OK, bye, nice to meet you.” Yeah, I am just so grateful. What a thrill, and it is going to be even more thrilling to see what is in store for the fans in season three.
The Connector: That’s amazing. What advice would you give to someone trying to break-out into the industry?
Delorenzo: Be prepared to do the work. Don’t do it if you are doing it for the fame, or any reason other than you have a passion for the work. Do the work, and you know what, you can work with a great mentor like Bruce Campbell, who never interrupts interviews. You know what, Bruce is going to finish my question.
Campbell: She can’t learn her craft until she gets used to being interrupted during press events.
Campbell: Because it’s important for her to develop her concentration.
Delorenzo. No, I need to be interrupted, because otherwise I don’t know when to end a sentence.
The Connector: What is the most interesting part of having worked on the original films as they were and then having the series evolve into the cult-classic that it is today?
Campbell: Well, it didn’t feel low-budget at the time. We just had no resources, but we didn’t know what it was supposed to feel like until later when we went, “Oh boy, that was low-budget.” To us, it was just difficult. Now, what’s good about it is that we have much more of a support team. Our crew is much bigger and much more capable of doing really difficult stuff. So, that’s the best part about it. We’re fully funded now.
For more information about “Ash vs. Evil Dead,” check out the website here.
For more coverage of aTVfest 2018, click here.