ASH VS EVIL DEAD, the Starz series that continues the EVIL DEAD franchise, is back with new demons, new energy and new splatter for its third season starting Sunday, February 25. Bruce Campbell is back as none-too-bright evil-fighting hero Ashley Williams, the role he originated in the first EVIL DEAD (1981) and played in two sequels.
Ash got two full-time sidekicks in the first episode of the ASH VS EVIL DEAD series. Dana DeLorenzo plays Kelly Maxwell, who starts out as an average young woman who has become progressively more badass over the life of the show (Ray Santiago plays the other sidekick, Pablo).
Australian actor Lindsay Farris joins ASH VS EVIL DEAD this season as Dalton. Dalton is one of the Deadite-hunting Knights of Sumeria, characters introduced in the third movie, 1992’s ARMY OF DARKNESS.
DeLorenzo, educated in Chicago, appeared as both Beth and Sandra the Rhino on THE LATE LATE SHOW WITH CRAIG FERGUSON. She also costarred on IMPRESS ME. Her film credits include THE MAD ONES and A VERY HAROLD & KUMAR 3D CHRISTMAS.
As the characters of Kelly and Dalton are close in Season 3, it is decided that DeLorenzo and Farris should do their interviews together at a publicity day at West Hollywood’s London Hotel for ASH VS EVIL DEAD. Some insight into their chemistry together surfaces when DeLorenzo incredulously learns that Farris’s previous credits include an Australian horror film called WE’RE NOT HERE TO F*** SPIDERS. She cannot stop laughing.
DANA DeLORENZO: I’m sorry, what? No, this isn’t true.
LINDSAY FARRIS: It is.
DeLORENZO: What is this movie? Lindsay Farris! No, that is not a real thing.
FARRIS: It’s true.
DeLORENZO: Why have you kept this from me?
FARRIS: Well, I haven’t talked about it –
DeLORENZO: You haven’t read me your whole resume? Shame on you.
FARRIS: Look, the stuff that I had done before this, I was playing an eighteenth-century concert pianist.
DeLORENZO: He actually does play piano spectacularly well and is a phenomenal pianist.
FARRIS: But this is like the opposite end of the spectrum. There is nothing about the eighteenth century that involves shotguns and [laughs] you’re still double-checking [that WE’RE NOT HERE TO F*** SPIDERS is actually listed on IMDB]. It is. It’s an Australian movie.
DeLORENZO: You made my day.
ASSIGNMENT X: What is WE’RE NOT HERE TO F*** SPIDERS?
FARRIS: I have a habit of doing films whenever I can get a little window back in Australia. So I worked with the director Josh Reed on a film called PRIMAL, which was a horror/slasher film – it’s probably one of my first films – and it comes out I think mid-to-late-year this year, and we shot that just before I started ASH VS EVIL DEAD [which shoots in New Zealand]. That’s playing at another hardcore sort of character. [WE’RE NOT HERE] is a film that investigates new filming techniques. All the cameras are hidden throughout the house, and we weren’t getting scripts until pretty much just before we’d shoot it, like on the day, half an hour before, so it was kind of a fly on the wall sort of film about this particular house and the goings-on in there with quite a lot of bad language and violent themes and drug references, you could say.
AX: Was that good practice for ASH VS EVIL DEAD, in terms of dealing with action or splatter?
FARRIS: They’re very different. The only thing I’d say is, the characters are equally as hardcore, and they’re kind of no-holds-barred shows as well.
DeLORENZO: And in terms of the splatter matter, I don’t think anything can really prepare you for ASH VS EVIL DEAD in terms of what it’s like to sit in the blood all day and have it dry and rip your skin off immediately and how all you want to do is continue to be wet with blood.
FARRIS: Yeah, because you’ve really got to peel that stuff off. You’re in the shower for two hours. Shaving cream, as I now know from Dana –
DeLORENZO: And Bruce, Bruce is the one –
FARRIS: And Bruce, is that the reason it works to get the blood off is that it opens the pores. That’s how deep it gets into your flesh.
AX: What was your awareness of either the EVIL DEAD films or the ASH VS EVIL DEAD series before you got involved?
FARRIS: When I was a kid, my grandmother used to show me EVIL DEAD on Betamax, if you remember what that is, and THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. It was a bonding experience with my uncle and my grandma, because everybody else in the family hated horror. And so I’ve been aware of the franchise since I was like thirteen, fourteen. And so then twenty years later, I literally walked into the television set and, like I think most people with streaming services, I binge-watched the entire show and then realized it was the same creatives. It hadn’t spun off into a group of new people helming the thing. And so, yeah, I brought all of that information and the scars from my childhood into 2017 to make it all over again.
AX: At least in the first few episodes of Season 3, we do not see the back story between your characters. Did the two of you sit down and figure out, “How did we meet, how intimate are we …?”
DeLORENZO: Can I say thank you for asking that question? Because I just have to say, it wasn’t an easy thing for Lindsay or Arielle [Carver-O’Neill, who plays Ash’s long-lost daughter] coming into a show. I feel like Season 2, we finally found our footing with the show, and the three of us [DeLorenzo, Campbell and Santiago] definitely have a chemistry. Probably the way [the audience] might have felt when Ray and I first came into this franchise about one man, and “Here we are, we’re here,” and the audience just has to accept these sidekicks. And of course, we were excited to have [Farris and Carver-O’Neill], especially because it’s fresh meat, and that means they get to take the brunt of the torture. But from the very first moment, actually, Lindsay and I texted in New Zealand, our chemistry was already there. And funny you asked, because we went to a pub in New Zealand, in the rain, and were just writing this whole back story that we have come up with, that is very in-depth, that no, you don’t ever see, but I feel like it’s there –
DeLORENZO: Yeah. So our quick – this can be implied based on what [is shown early in Season 3]. Kelly hightails it out of Elk Grove, the minute Pablo and Ash set up shop, because what’s she going to do, open a deli slicer store? Kelly needs to stay in the fight. “Normal” does not exist, certainly not in Elk Grove, and she knows that evil is just on vacation. So she goes to be a very aggressive bartender in a dive bar in Detroit. She can’t get out of the fight, which is where we assume she has met Dalton, who is attracted to her over-aggressiveness. And they bond, and why he gets her attention is his whole story, which is …
FARRIS: Well, if you imagine that up until he meets Kelly, the idea of this evil force that’s all been coming has all been speculative. It’s rumors and legends that have been handed down. So you’ve got a guy on his motorcycle, trekking across the country, trying to find his purpose, his place, and his belonging. And then when he meets Kelly, who also has this sense of agency, there’s a bit of a trade-off, in that maybe Dalton’s got some things from the original Knights of Sumeria that he could share, in exchange for …
DeLORENZO: “Oh, you want to see evil, Dalton? Oh, I know it exists. You are right. Everything you’re saying is true.” So they validate each other. And that is why Dalton and Kelly have a different kind of chemistry than Pablo and Kelly, in that they’re cut from the same cloth. They are doers. Pablo and Ash are perfectly happy waiting for evil to come until it’s bad enough. They’ll be pushed before they finally act, or certainly Ash, who just doesn’t want to deal with this anymore. But Kelly has always been the one to say, “Let’s bring the fight to it. No, let’s not throw a party and drink Ketamine and wait for evil to show up, let’s go, let’s come up with a plan.” So Dalton brings that out of her, and together, their storylines move forward for the season, and it’s exciting to watch.
AX: Without getting too spoilery, on ASH VS EVIL DEAD, as in the EVIL DEAD movies, people sometimes have to fight their own body parts. In Season 2, you had to fight your hand, and this year, you have to fight your leg …
DeLORENZO: Yes, I have now had several body parts cast on this show, and I’ve had to fight both of them. In Season 2, when I was in the insane asylum, when I had to break the fingers, the second take, I actually broke the middle finger, which is the first finger I break. Our poor crew, who spent weeks and weeks and weeks, that was actually my hand that was on this fabulous apparatus, but then I kept hitting myself in the face with it, because it was attached to my real arm. That’s a whole other story. But to answer your question, they did do a full leg cast, for which I will be posting a video once that episode airs, of that time lapse. They did my actual leg So what they did is, it happened in stages. So when I’m talking to the leg, that is my own leg. When I’m fighting my own leg, that is me giving myself real Charlie horses and some awesome bruises that I probably have to this day. And that was so fun in and of itself. And then when it [does something else], that was a fun challenge, because I had to sit on a stool with my leg – I was all of a sudden doing gymnastics, and I am not the most flexible or nimble person. And so there were two guys. It was just from the thigh, so one was holding the thigh, which by the way, it is heavy. That prosthetic leg is very heavy. They’re holding that, and then the other guy was laying on the ground, holding his hand in the puppet leg, but it had to look like it was coming from mine.
AX: Is your actual leg in a hole when that’s going on?
DeLORENZO: No, it was just bent. That’s what I mean – it was quite a challenge. I don’t know if that was Pigeon Pose Times Dragon, or whatever that would be in yoga [laughs], but – is there a Dragon Pose?
FARRIS: There is now.
DeLORENZO: Because it’s just fire down your hips and legs.
AX: Did you need any training to play Dalton?
FARRIS: Well, sort of. The only thing that Dalton and I have in common in terms of our skill set is that I can ride a motorbike, and so can Dalton.
DeLORENZO: He did some great stunts. That’s actually him, by the way.
FARRIS: The stunt team were amazing. And they were upscaling me so that I could then ride a motorcycle and use a shotgun, and do a jump and a flip and fire an AK-47. So that was the only sort of skill I had. But now, after the show, and during, I know how to use some weapons. I got a bit of army training along with it.
AX: What would you most like people to know about Season 3 of ASH VS EVIL DEAD?
DeLORENZO: You go first.
FARRIS: Well, this show continues to surprise. Season 2 stepped everything up from Season 1, Season 3 does the same thing again. I think on Dalton’s part, there are a lot of Easter eggs that have been thrown out in bringing the original Knights of Sumeria mythology into Season 3, so there is a completely new mythology in that, and there is more blood, there are more punch lines, there is more gore, there’s more viscera than I think in the first two seasons combined.
DeLORENZO: [With Season 2], everything we said came true. We did not lie. We did not over-sell the show. If anything, we under-promised, over-delivered. I would say what I’m most looking forward to is for fans to expect the unexpected as always. The levels and the stakes are raised even higher this season. You might shed a tear, and it’s not just from gagging and laughing at the same time. And then if I need to break it down into two branches, I would say that Season 3 is all about destiny and family, family that is bound by blood, and family that is bound by bloodshed, and destiny. What does it mean for these characters to live up to who they were meant to be, why they’re here? And specifically for Kelly, she gets her day in the sun, everything we’ve seen built up for her for the first two seasons, every fight, every weapon, unconventional and otherwise, every sarcasm, every one-liner – everything will culminate to one moment for her. She finally gets agency and takes on evil in an epic one-on-one battle and is willing to sacrifice everything. How it turns out, you’ll have to see, but Kelly will never be the same, for better or worse, and it might not be in the way that you think.
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Article: ASH VS EVIL DEAD: Dana DeLorenzo & Lindsay Farris give the scoop on Season 3 – exclusive interview