This past weekend, Ash vs Evil Dead took over New York Comic-Con, holding their panel at the Hammerstein Ballroom, where series 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 greeting fans at the Javits Convention Center for autographs and photos. I had the chance to join over members of the press to speak with the cast members of the series about their experiences on the upcoming season.
Dana DeLorenzo stars as Kelly Maxwell, my choice for most badass woman on TV. She can stand toe to toe with Ash Williams and match him insult for insult and one liner for one liner; and she loves nothing more than shooting deadites. We sat down with the Youngstown, Ohio native to talk about the upcoming season. When she sat down at the table, she warned us about her penchant for rambling on, slamming the table and talking loud, all things we were perfectly fine with her doing.
Geeks of Doom: When we’ve spoken before, we discussed your role as a badass female character. Now there’s a new woman in the cast and it’s Ash’s daughter. What is that like for you, and what’s Kelly and Brandy’s relationship like?
Dana DeLorenzo: That’s a great question. It’s very true to life in the sense that something starts one way and ends up going another. Kelly’s journey this season really takes everything that’s been building over these past two seasons. She’s still sort of Ash’s heir-apparent, she’s his protege and you see that, you see the similarities, we’ve really built them up. She would never admit that because they are so similar, but when they’re on the same page they’re on together. I love the way the show resembles real life, as a show about a guy with a chainsaw arm normally does… life imitates art which imitates life. The fact that in real life, when Lindsay and Arielle were brought on, you know we have a very tight knit group so how is this going to change the dynamic on set and off set. My dynamic with the two of them mirrors that of our characters. So Kelly gets a little bit miffed that all of sudden there’s this girl, and oh my god she’s 18 and she’s a teenager and now Kelly’s got to babysit her. We don’t need anymore obstacles, evil is back. But then it’s really interesting because Kelly is the one who takes Brandy under her wing because she sees these similarities. Brandy loses her mom, Kelly lost her mom. Brandy thinks Ash is a dummy, just like Kelly thought Ash was when he first saved her life. And it’s Kelly telling Brandy, “Look, I know he seems like an idiot, he is, I get it, you’re going to have tons of therapy with Ash as dad, but seriously, he’s going to save us all from evil.” Kelly is the one to convince Brandy of that, which usually you think would go to Pablo. I love the way that’s how the journey goes, with Kelly taking her under her wing, just like Ruby took Kelly under her wing last year. But I cannot say enough about Arielle, we’re going to be friends for life. She just stayed with me for two weeks. Day one was effortless and instantaneous and the same with Lindsay. These are two great actors, two terrific people like you just met. Brilliant actors, terrific people, and their dynamic changes everything on the show and I can’t wait for you to see the stakes that it raises. You know, you bring any character who rides and motorcycle and wears a leather jacket and bring him into this world and put him between Kelly and Pablo, someone is going to get their moustache in a bunch. And it ain’t Kelly. It’s interesting to see how that raises the stakes and what that forces Kelly and Pablo to do.
Question: In the panel you mentioned teaching lessons to the new characters. Can you share a lesson?
Dana DeLorenzo: I wouldn’t say it’s straight on “Hi Class…,” it’s more like really being on the show. I didn’t know how to act when my face was covered in 26 gallons of blood for the first time, you just do it. That’s how Kelly is with Brandy. By being around Kelly, and Kelly saying to do it this way, but Brandy wanting to run ahead and just do it, Kelly has to be like, “Whoa, slow down there Rebel Without a Cause, that’s the worst idea.” I think that inadvertently Kelly is teaching her just from being there and giving her experience. Brandy is going to hold her own, she’s Ash’s daughter. But Kelly has to be the one to take the teenager out, and put the warrior in.
Question: There was a very familial dynamic to the show, where you were like Ash’s daughter, now you’re forced into an older sister-like role.
Dana DeLorenzo: The daughter he never had, now he has one, WHOOPS! There is an older sister feel, but yes it changes the dynamic with the family that is bound by blood, and the family that is bound by bloodshed.
Geeks of Doom: That’s a great quote!
Dana DeLorenzo: Hey guys, I finally got one! I finally learned how to not have a run-on sentence.
Question: About the physicality of the show and the gore. Has that gotten easier for you now that you’re on season 3?
Dana DeLorenzo: You know what, “easier” is a tricky word. It’s never easy when you get different forms of blood and viscera in your eyes, down your pants, areas you didn’t know you had. But you do know what to expect and actually it becomes the fun days. There are the days where we’re in makeup for two hours and it drags and you sit there asking where are the prosthetics, when do we do this, when do we do that? But yes, it has been easier in the sense that I get to flex my muscles. This is a show that does horror and comedy and action and to and actor that’s a dream. Because I get to all of that and learn from these incredible people, our incredible stunt team, veteran actors who blow my mind everyday. So I don’t know if it’s easier, but it’s something I’m more used to and feel more comfortable with every time. I look forward to pushing myself further each episode. And if I don’t, the writers and creators will do.
Question: Why do you think having a character like Kelly on television is so important?
Dana DeLorenzo: I’m glad you ask that. I wrote an article for Women in Horror month saying it takes a village to raise a strong (female) character, with female in parentheses. Right now we have to say she’s a strong character, “she’s a badass female character.” I think it speaks to all roles, it’s important to have a character like Kelly Maxwell. Number one, we need to have an abundance of diverse roles, that we don’t have to say “strong FEMALE character” or “strong AFRICAN AMERICAN character,” we just say “strong character.” And that goes for every ethnicity, every show, just write strong characters and let the person who gets picked play the role. I think it’s especially important in horror because we have the trope roles, the final girl, the girls running naked in the woods, we know that that’s happened even in this franchise. I think we’ve taking such a great step in this franchise at redeeming this with such strong roles like the one Lucy Lawless plays, Kelly, Brandy, etc. It’s really important to have those role models whether you’re a man or a woman or wherever you’re from in the world. I think we need to have characters who are strong and fly, but also real. I love superheroes, but for me, I respond to someone who is struggling. When I see someone like Ash Williams who is smoking angel dust and a failure in life, but he still has heart and guts and glory. That’s what I think is really important to keep showing off on TV, the flawed human being because we’re all flawed. It’s someone we can all root for, because the underdog is what makes life interesting.
Geeks of Doom: We started with a question about you and Brandy, I want to know about Ruby. In season 2, she took you under her wing, now she’s the super bad guy again. So what’s that like for Kelly this season?
Dana DeLorenzo: Well, I can’t say anything bad about Lucy Lawless, she’s my Lucy Flawless. It’s tough for Kelly because she was just starting to like the old you, or new you, I’m getting time travel mind. Now Ruby is full on evil, and out to get Ash and Brandy and the Ghost Beaters. It’s really great because Kelly finally gets her moment in the sun. She reaches the stage where she’s not telling a great idea to Ash or to Ruby and being denied. Kelly goes for Ruby, she goes for evil, she tells Ash “I’m gonna take this moment and I’m gonna do what I think is right.” How great though that when she finally gets this chance for revenge, it might not be what she wanted after all.
Dana DeLorenzo kicks ass. More than any interviewee the time with her flies by. She gives great in-depth answers and is a total pro. She’s also laugh out loud funny and you feel like you’re just chumming it up over beers with your pal who happens to kill deadites in her spare time. DeLorenzo and the rest of the Ghost Beaters are ready for more evil when Ash vs Evil Dead returns to Starz on Sunday night, February 25, 2018.
[Photos by Dr. Zaius for Geeks Of Doom.]
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