[This interview was originally posted as part of our South by Southwest 2013 coverage. It has been reposted to coincide with the theatrical release of Evil Dead.]
Evil Dead was highly anticipated at this year’s SXSW. Who’d have thought that a remake/reboot/rebirth of such a loved horror film staple would be so good? In a roundtable with a few other journalists, supporting actors Lou Taylor Pucci (The Go-Getter), Jessica Lucas (Cloverfield), and Elizabeth Blackmore (Legend of the Seeker) share their experiences on the film, including relations with director Fede Alvarez, the physicality of their roles, and what demon vomit tastes like.
As always, spoilers are abound, so please proceed with caution…
…IF YOU DARE!
What was it like working with Fede [Alvarez]? I’ve been hearing a lot about him as a first-time director. How did that feel like?
Jessica Lucas: Great. Actually, when I went to audition, [I] was kind of skeptical and not sure if I wanted to do it or be in a horror movie. Fede is the person that made me want to [be in it]. He was really enthusiastic, and you could tell he’s just so passionate about the originals and wanted to make a very cool, original film that still had nods to the original films. He’s the whole reason I did it.
Lou Taylor Pucci: You’ve seen how cool, calm, and collected he is. It’s true. You need that in a director sometimes, especially for a movie like this with such crazy energy and everything being practical and disgusting. We only had one take of something because there’s only one arm or whatever. He knew what he wanted, and he was cool. That’s hard to do, especially for a first timer.
JL: Yeah, he never lost his enthusiasm, either.
Elizabeth Blackmore: Or his vision, really. He knew what film he wanted to make.
When he had an idea or something, would he just pitch it to you guys, or he’d tell you, “This is what we’re doing”?
LTP: For about 25 minutes. [He begins mimicking Alvarez’ stuttering.]
JL: I remember you guys [Pucci and Alvarez] having some very long, drawn-out conversations, [we were] like, “Are we going to shoot today” while Fede was still talking.
LTP: Fede’s a talker. It’s better than not being a talker, though.
Did he have you guys as a cast bring you a bit closer together because you’re childhood friends. Did you guys do any sort of bonding experience?
LTP: We actually wanted to go to the real cabin in the woods and spend a vacation in the real cabin, but they wouldn’t let us for insurance reasons. So we went and rented a beach house in the middle of this beach community in Brazil, and it was way upper class, ritzy; we were next to a golf course. It was hilarious.
JL: I’d take that over the cabin.
LTP: Actually [when] we really got to bond was the four days leading up to shooting, like we filmed the next day after we got back, so everybody’s tension was running really high at the end. They’re like, “Okay, vacation’s over!”
EB: I think we all got along really well from the beginning.
LTP: Nobody’s really a jerk… except for Shiloh [Fernandez].
How physical was it for you guys, and you [Pucci] especially, because your character basically got fucked over the entire film?
LTP: It was super physical. My favorite thing was just jumping rope and doing something that would get me totally wiped out by the time we got to the screen, because you had to come in with the same scared face. Let’s do scary faces again!
What about you guys?
JL: Was it physically grueling? Yeah. Well, I only shot my sequence for about a week, and I remember just at the end thinking, “This is hell. I’m so glad that it’s over, but then we realized everyone else had to keep on doing it and it smells so bad.
EB: I think one of the hardest things was so much makeup and prosthetics, you know? And it takes hours, like six hours. And then having to suddenly jump in to slicing my arm or whatever. It’s just like… Lou would be jumping rope, and I would be spinning in circles just trying to get that energy back up.
JL: You spend more time getting ready than actually shooting.
LTP: Do you remember that one time, we were filming in the beginning, we did it in chronological order, so all of the drama was in the beginning. Remember they wanted us to do it without Shiloh there? They were like, “We’re going to get ready for this. Be ready, because you’re not always going to always be working with the actors. You’re going to have to work with stunt doubles and a tennis ball or something.” They tried doing that with a drama scene. We were like, “No! This is a bunch of… This is the acting part. You’ve got to let us do the acting part once!” But they did. Fede knew. We were pissed.
JL: We got our way, though.
LTP: I don’t know where that came from, the story that just happened.
How long did the shoot take?
LTP: Three months.
Were there times on the shoot [where] you guys were actually, physically scared, like “Wow, this is scary. I wonder what it must look like on the screen”?
EB: I remember watching Jess’ face get vomited on. I finished for the day and I was just watching, and I went, “…oh. Okay.”
JL: I think it was more traumatic for everyone else. Like Jane was freaking out. She absolutely hated having to vomit on me. I was acting like I was drowning in it, so she actually thought I was. I thought we were only going to do it once or twice at the most, but we did it four or five times.
What was the vomit mix?
LTP: Mint flavored or vanilla flavored?
JL: It was more like a strawberry.
At least it had a flavor.
EB: We get asked these questions every day. “What flavor blood? Peppermint? Vanilla?”
JL: The worst part about it was that they only mixed it up every other day, so on day two, it was the most rancid smelling, disgusting thing, and I would just have to get covered in it.
LTP: That is so disgusting. They would only mix it up every other day. That is so disgusting.
EB: There’d just be these jars in the fridges, like: “Demon vomit.”
LTP: I was mostly working with Jessica in the scene where we got really beat up, you know what I mean? That vomit was like a mucous; it was like a pudding. It was like pudding all over you.
There were chunks, too. I noticed that.
LTP: And it would all dry, so it was like we were wearing these cardboard cutout shirts and stuff, because they were solid by the end of it. They weren’t cloth anymore, they were just dried blood.
JL: We went through a lot of wardrobe.
EB: I think I had close to 30 dresses.
LTP: I had 27.
JL: Sometimes, they had to cut you out of them in the end because you can’t get them off.
Were you guys fans of the original, or did you watch it when you got hired for the movie?
LTP: I was a huge fan of the original from when I was younger.
JL: I still haven’t seen it. I do want to see it, I just didn’t want to be informed by something else. I would love to see it now. It’s on Netflix Instant, so maybe I’ll go see it.
LTP: I really love that it’s not really a remake. It really isn’t. It just doesn’t feel like it. It’s not trying to be anything like the other one. It just has the same cabin and the same general characters as every other horror film. But I mean, that’s it. It’s its own thing.
Last year at SXSW, they had The Cabin in the Woods. Any comparisons?
LTP: Yeah, I didn’t like that.
EB: I haven’t seen it. We were in New Zealand when it came out, and it hadn’t come out there, so we didn’t get to see it.
LTP: It was just, they were going for the funny. [Evil Dead] was funny in its shock value, and I just choose this. If I want to watch something that’s horror, I want it to be at least scary. That wasn’t scary at all. It was funny. It was more like a comedy. It was different with what it was, but to think you were going into a horror film, then getting what it was.
JL: Actually, Fran Kranz [Marty in The Cabin in the Woods] was at the premiere.
LTP: I shouldn’t say I hated The Cabin in the Woods. That was a bad idea.
JL: No filter, I like it.
LTP: Yeah, shit happens.