We toured the New Zealand set and spoke with actress Jane Levy, who undergoes a terrifying transformation in the movie! While on set, we had a chance to observe director Fede Alvarez and the cast and crew conducting movie making magic. We caught a scene where a cast member (we won’t divulge who due to spoilers) has become possessed by evil and he beckons to a fellow cast member. We saw that scene shot over and over again until Fede had gotten it from every angle and was satisfied with the dialogue. It’s clear, from watching him work, that Alvarez is a perfectionist and is concerned with making the absolute best film possible. In Evil Dead, Levy plays Mia, a young woman trying to kick an addiction. Her friends bring her out to a cabin in the woods to help out and only wind up unleashing evil instead.
Jane Levy (On the coolest things she’s done): The coolest thing I’ve ever done in my career so far is this one thing where Aaron [Morton, cinematographer] was on a zip line in the forest and I’m hands down in the mud and the camera is flying towards me and I have to outrun the camera. It was so fucking cool. And then I watched a little bit of the playback and it looks awesome.
Levy (On the on set conditions): In a way it’s like, I wouldn’t call it a good thing, but sometimes I don’t really have to act. I’m actually freezing cold, and I’m so tired that I’m crying, because I’m so cold and I want to go home. Really, just like my character, so you know, it makes the job easier sometimes, a little bit more real.
Levy (On the demanding nature of the role): But this is also like, an extremely physical job, and just like what Fede was saying, we’re doing everything that you see. I don’t know how much I’m allowed to give away, but at one point I vomit all over somebody. A lot of vomit. Like, a shit-ton of fluid. I had a tube practically down my throat, and I’m on top of this girl and vomiting all over her. When you actually do something like that – I don’t think I can actually describe the sensation – but I actually went to the corner and cried. I’m really sensitive. But I felt like I was really drowning my friend Jessica, it felt so bad. I was shaking.
Levy (On doing research in to addiction for her role): I did…I did, yeah. But I think that part of the story is actually kind of small. Like that gets you there, that gets you into this environment, and I think from the very beginning Mia has made the decision that she’s gonna be healthy. So she’s not using drugs at all in this movie. It’s like, withdrawl starts the minute the movie starts, and then she has to live.
Levy (On the most physically taxing thing she had to endure): I could name ten of the most horrible things that could ever happen to you in your whole life, and all of those ten things happen to this character. It’s horror of all horror films. It is extreme, and that’s a lot of the reason I took this project on. I thought like why not do the most extreme movie possible? And the farthest from what I’ve been doing for the past year.
Levy (On the most challenging scene for her as an actor): There’s physical and emotional. That’s what makes this part also so crazy is like….I don’t want to give too much away. But not only am I emotionally going through withdrawls, heroin withdrawl, which is really intense, I’m also being attacked by evil spirits. And I think the hardest was actually just the dramatic stuff. Which was emotional. And then physically, you know, I’m in prosthetics for six hours, and I have blood dripped all over my head, in my underwear. I’m literally wearing my underwear in the freezing cold rain and barfing on people and…you know, lots of stuff. I don’t wanna give anything away.
Levy (Differences in performance when she’s normal and possessed): Well, it’s something I spent a lot of time thinking about. It’s something I still think about and stress over. Because we’ve seen possessed people a lot of times in movies, and as an actor you’re always interested in trying something new. And I didn’t want to mimic anything, and I really wanted to be f**king scary. And thinking about being scary is as daunting about thinking about being funny. Those are things that you shouldn’t be thinking about. You can’t be aware of it or it’s not gonna work. So for me, we had a couple session with a like a movement coach, who talked about like body stuff and doing certain things with your body and [laughs] it was great, and just gave us ideas to work with. But I actually chose to humanize my Deadite a little bit, and I hope that turns out to be scary. I tried not to do much of like spider crawling up wall, like psycho body contortion…just because I wanted, I guess I wanted to try something new, and I also thought, and Fede thinks, that the idea of there being a human quality is almost scarier because it’s scarier to think of your father being possessed than just like…do you know what I mean? Like, finding something that you can relate to about this person who’s also doing horrible things, I thought would be terrifying. I have yet to see it, so I hope it works.