This past weekend Ash vs Evil Dead took over New York Comic-Con. The Starz series, which will be heading into its third season in February, had a fan experience that was set up outside the Javits Center the entire 4 days, allowing fans to walk through a replica set and create GIFs of themselves fighting deadites. On Saturday, the show’s stars Bruce Campbell, Dana DeLorenzo, Ray Santiago, Arielle Carver-O’Neill, and Lindsay Farris treated fans to a special sneak peek of the season 3 premiere, and conducted a panel discussion and Q&A, before heading back to the main convention center to sign autographs and taking photos with fans. During the convention, I got to speak to the cast members of the series about their experiences on the upcoming season.
Arielle Carver-O’Neill and Lindsay Farris are the two “newbies” on the show. Both native Aussies, Carver-O’Neill plays Brandy Barr, daughter of Candy Barr (Yep) and Ash (yes, she’s Ash’s daughter!), while Farris is Dalton, a descendant of the Knights of Sumeria who joins the Ghost Beaters and holds Ash in hero-worship. Check out what they had to say during the press event.
Geeks of Doom: I was wondering if the other cast members messed with you guys at all, being you’re the new guys on the show. And Arielle can you speak to your relationship with Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo)?
Arielle Carver-O’Neill: I love Kelly and Brandy’s relationship because it goes on a journey. It’s not just one note the whole way. They meet and there’s a little bit of a struggle for both of them. Brandy is like who is this girl and why is acting like this to me. For Kelly, she’s been the daughter figure for Ash these past two seasons. There’s been that aspect to their relationship. She’s been the woman in the group. In any scenario it would’ve been weird for her to meet his real daughter. Then as the show goes on they realize they have more in common, Brandy is a younger version of how Kelly started. She’s thrown into this fight against evil against her will and totally unprepared. She loses her mother in front of her, very horrifically.
Geeks of Doom: Kelly did too.
Arielle Carver-O’Neill: Kelly did, exactly. They have very similar experiences so Kelly starts to take her under her wing, they all do. I think that’s incredible, that type of comradery.
Question: Here’s the great horror movie question: how were the special effects and the blood effects for you?
Arielle Carver-O’Neill: Thrilling actually. I have had so many adrenal rushes while filming the series. I got eight blood cannons in ten episodes and no two were the same. I didn’t know what it would feel like or how I’d react to it each time. If you’re ever doing a blood cannon, you can’t prepare how your face and body reacts when you get hit. It just happens and you can’t do it again. So it’s really thrilling. Before they hit you, they have the big air pressure tank and then the keg full of blood and there’s a guy with a hose sitting there looking very excited. Pointing a giant hole at your face, which you just know a lot of blood is going to come flying out of. They love those day of work. You get all nervous at first, you get dry mouth, your heart is beating fast and then you hear the noise like a real chainsaw and you prep yourself. I got to pretend it’s not gonna happen, then it happens and you’re covered in blood and warm and sticky. Then someone rushes at you with a cup of water so you can drink and spit it out since the taste is disgusting.
Lindsay Farris: That’s one of the most amazing things about this show though, because it comes from that old school horror genre. It’s one of the only shows on television that still uses that old technology. And we don’t have to imagine everything like it’s CGI and wave our hands for them to add stuff later. We have actors that spend 6 hours in prosthetics and you can see it happen. That makes all the difference, sometimes they throw a bucket of blood in your face without just adding it in later. And if they do add it in later it’s little details.
Question: [To Lindsay] With your character from the first episode we can kind of see, you’re a badass, a good fighter…
Lindsay Farris: That’s generous of you.
Question: Did you go through any training with weapons or anything?
Lindsay Farris: The only thing I could do that my character could do is ride a motorcycle. I play a descendant of the original Knights of Sumeria, they’re an untapped mythology that hasn’t been explored yet from the original films. So instead of riding horses and using swords, they ride motorcycles and use shotguns. The stunt training was intense, man. But is was so much fun. Can you do a backflip and shoot a gun and say your lines and not break an ankle?
Geek of Doom: Can you give us a demonstration?
Lindsay Farris: Absolutely [laughs] … The show constantly crams so much into what is less than a half hour of television and it’s just bam, bam, bam.
Arielle Carver-O’Neill: It feels weird watching it, because it was so long to film obviously. For me, I forget it’s a comedy. For me, it’s a dramatic episode, crying at my mum’s decapitated head. And that’s just the start; it gets more fun for Brandy from there.
Question: What was is like to join this cast and crew?
Lindsay Farris: I think people forget that while Arielle and I are the new guys, Ray and Dana were the new guys to the Evil Dead franchise. So it’s everything that Bruce and Sam [Raimi] and Rob [Tapert] set up in the earlier films that we’re all trying to honor. And it’s an evolving genre; we have the Knights of Sumeria, there’s so much room to play. It’s not just guys in rooms, you’re really involved and they make you feel so valued in this show. I feel because it’s so fast and experimental and exciting and the fans just love this show. You either love this show or you don’t watch television.
Question: With you guys being new to the cast, what is you opinion about genre, especially with the blend of horror and comedy?
Lindsay Farris: My favorite film, not just horror film, but film growing up was Braindead, here it was called Dead Alive. Peter Jackson’s original film, and that’s my world, man. I love that film, officially the bloodiest film ever made. And if you’re gonna beat it, you’re gonna beat it in a show like this. It’s honoring that old school world while using the new school technologies and the evolving medium. Just think in Peter Jackson’s day, the idea of Starz? The idea of watching TV on an app? On an iPad or phone? The whole medium is evolving. For a show to still use that old school tech from the Braindead days, I think it’s more cutting edge than it is regressive.
Arielle Carver-O’Neill: Yeah, they’re marrying smart filmmaking with modern technology, which makes it easier. They’re doing the prosthetics and the practical effects which are amazing, but then when they need a giant monster the size of a city, they’ll use CGI. It’s incredible to put the two of them together.
Question: We’ve heard Lindsay’s, was there a horror film you grew up loving?
Arielle Carver-O’Neill: I actually… I’m a new horror fan. I’m brand new to the horror genre, and I love it now. Ash vs Evil Dead is the show that made me like horror. When I was 13 I saw Scary Movie and I had nightmares for a week, and it was a comedy, a spoof. I grew up thinking I couldn’t handle scary movies. Now I can thanks to this.
For a couple of “newbies” Arielle Carver-O’Neill and Lindsay Farris held there own and were great. They both seem to truly love the material and being a part of this cast and series. You can check out the actors when Ash vs Evil Dead returns on Sunday night, February 25, 2018 only on Starz.
[Photos by Dr. Zaius for Geeks Of Doom.]
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