Dana DeLorenzo plays Kelly Maxwell, Ash’s sarcastic, kickass sidekick on Starz’s Ash vs Evil Dead. The Ohio-born actress spent her time in Season 2, getting doused with gallons of blood, wrestling puppets, and wielding many a gun to dispose of deadites alongside Ash (Bruce Campbell) and Pablo (Ray Santiago). Kelly quickly showed she would NOT be a damsel in distress, becoming one of the most badass women on TV, fighting evil, and matching Campbell one-liner for one-liner.
I first spoke with DeLorenzo last summer before Season 2 debuted. That first phone interview took place in the quietest place I could find in Universal Studios Orlando while on a family vacation. Almost a year later, with Season 2 about to hit DVD/Blu-Ray and with Season 3 awaiting a release date, I got to interview the cast of AvED again. This time, closer to home but still out and about, I spoke with the DeLorenzo about her time and experience on Ash vs Evil Dead as we all ready for its third season.
Check out the interview here below.
Geeks of Doom: Hi Dana, how are you?
Dana DeLorenzo: I’m great. I’m so excited to talk with you because I want to thank you. I got to put something in a scrapbook for my parents that you wrote.
Geeks of Doom: Really?
Dana DeLorenzo: You wrote some very kind reviews and said some very nice things, and I was like, “Well… don’t have to go to therapy this week.” So thank you for that little boost of confidence.
Geeks of Doom: Well, thank you. Now I don’t have to go to therapy this week.
Dana DeLorenzo: See? We should just talk every week and tell each other how great we are. But seriously, thank you for your reviews and for always saying nice things about the show. I read them all.
Geeks of Doom: That’s so awesome. It’s nice to know people are reading them. This has been my Ash vs Evil Dead weekend. I got my review copy of the Blu-ray, so I was up early watching all the special features and re-watching episodes. I interviewed Bruce yesterday, and just talked to Ray (Santiago) about an hour ago, so I am high on Ash vs Evil Dead.
Dana DeLorenzo: Which episodes did you rewatch? Did you watch in order or just go to your favorites?
Geeks of Doom: I wanted to really focus on you and Ray’s work knowing I’d be talking with you today, so I watched episodes 7, 8, and parts of 9 and 10. From the asylum, the whole Ashy Slashy part, through the finale.
Dana DeLorenzo: Oh yeah, Ashy Slashy. I feel like he’s gonna get his own spinoff.
Geeks of Doom: Which I think most fans would be perfectly fine with.
Dana DeLorenzo: I know, I’d be perfectly fine with it, I’d watch it.
Geeks of Doom: Well, I guess I’ll start there. You play one of the most kickass female roles on TV. But there’s that two episode swing in season 2 where you’re the crazy woman left in the asylum, and then you’re rolling around on the floor with a puppet, engaging an inanimate object in one-on-one confrontation. What was that whole character arc like for you as an actress?
Dana DeLorenzo: I have to say it was a dream come true, and that’s one of the things I feel so lucky to be a part of this show. As an actor I get to flex all those muscles like you just said, not only do you get to do the horror, but you get to do comedy, you get to do drama, I get to do stunts, and I get to fight with a puppet, and then I get to channel my Girl, Interrupted. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is one of my favorite films so to really go to that dark place, it was different. Obviously it was a different character than Kelly, it was just a dream. I find it to be the most fun, when you can really go outside your realm, yeah I loved it. Especially with Ashy Slashy, I think I first knew I wanted to be an actor when I was 2 watching Sesame Street. So I’ve always had a fondness for puppets. I never thought I’d be fighting a demon puppet, but that was such a thrill. I learned how to puppeteer on the day, and I got some advice from Bruce who can fight his own hand better than anyone, he’s a master at that. It was such a challenge for both of those arcs, both playing an insane patient and then fighting the puppet, fighting myself, and then getting body slammed into a bedpan. It was challenging but so fulfilling and so rewarding. I loved it and if the fans loved it, then that’s all that matters.
Geeks of Doom: It’s funny. Something very coincidental just happened. I noticed this morning watching the Blu-ray that you were very destructive towards the props.
Dana DeLorenzo: Ok, ok, fine, it was by accident. I just get really into my character, and I might have broken my own hand, in the prosthetic, it took our very talented prosthetics team week to do it, with the full molding of my hand, and the painting of the skin. The wires were on the inside, so you can bend the fingers back in that episode 7, you could bend the fingers back and they would stay, they were broken and that was actually of a mold of my own hand. I think by the second take, I just got so into the role and because it’s not my real finger, I actually went SNAP and broke the prosthetic hand. We worked around it, it was just the middle finger, very appropriate for Kelly. I just got really into it.
Geeks of Doom: It’s just funny, because my daughter is in the back seat and she just broke one of her toys with a loud crash, and it reminded me of you breaking the prosthetic hand in the special features.
Dana DeLorenzo: Wow, you better get her into some acting. Tell her that’s fine, and that she’s a badass. Maybe don’t say “˜badass’, I don’t know how old she is, and if that’s inappropriate.
Geeks of Doom: Oh don’t worry. She’s six and a half, she’ll be fine.
Dana DeLorenzo: Well, tell her she’s Kelly Maxwell approved.
Geeks of Doom: To spin off my last question. You do these obviously ridiculous and hilarious things on the show. But then in episode 8, Pablo dies. You guys, as Ash’s sidekicks are the glue that holds the show together. And when Pablo’s body hits the floor, your facial expression and reaction floored me, and got me to gasp audibly. What is like when you get to really act and emote feelings? And what was that scene like in particular?
Dana DeLorenzo: Not to repeat myself, but that’s the beauty of getting to flex all these muscles as an actor. Because as an actor you do want to show a range. I do feel like, no matter how insane the show is, you have to base these characters in reality. That’s why Ash doesn’t wear spandex, he’s just a regular guy. We love him because he’s a guy with antiquated ideals sometimes, he’s kind of a screw up, but you root for him because he’s got this amazing quality to him. It’s the same for Pablo and Kelly and that’s a testament to the writers. They’ve created these amazing characters that you can relate to that are very real and have these different archetypes that everyone can see a little bit of themselves in. So when it comes to something like the death of a character, especially one who is like family, you’re going to react that way. You have to, and similarly that’s why in the next episode when Ash is smoking angel dust in the car, that’s his way of dealing with things. Kelly, who doesn’t show her vulnerability too often, she shuts down, and that’s what you saw there. But that’s what’s so great, that no matter how badass these character are, you see when they’re afraid, you see when they feel they’re in over their heads, and that’s what I respond to. That’s what I love most about Kelly. Yes, she’s kickass. Yes, she’s smart and sarcastic, and quick on her feet. However, she’s not afraid to show when she’s afraid, and when you see Kelly fight through that fear and go into battle anyway, that to me is a real hero and that is showing real courage. That’s what these character display and that’s why we root for them and love them.
Geeks of Doom: I was watching episode 8 with the audio commentary and you guys are never not having a good time it seems. You genuinely seem to love working together.
Dana DeLorenzo: That is truly the icing on the cake, because I feel any successful show is successful because you both love the work, but also love each other. You as an actor you have to be vulnerable because you know, every day you have to proverbially pull your pants down on set. “Here are my emotions, here is me vulnerable.” You expose all these thing and it’s great when you’re surrounded by people you respect and people you love. For me, just getting to be a part of this franchise has been so mind-blowingly fantastic and has fulfilled me on so many levels. But then to be able to joke around with Bruce, and hang out with Bruce and Lucy (Lawless) and Ray, I mean we hang out all the time. When we’re on set in New Zealand, we’re like “˜so what are we doing this weekend?’ We just really enjoy each other’s company and we’re constantly supporting each which is something I don’t take lightly, that’s something I’m very very thankful for along with all the other things that come with being on the show. I’m very lucky.
Geeks of Doom: You also get some great lines of dialogue on the show, I’d say next to Ash you are definitely the queen of the one liners.
Dana DeLorenzo: Queen of the one liners, I like that.
Geeks of Doom: Do you get input into the script, now that you’ve completed season 3 and you really know this character. Do you get a chance to add your little touches to it?
Dana DeLorenzo: Yeah. Again, I’ll always respect the work and trust the writers, that’s their job. But luckily Craig DiGregorio, the showrunner for season 2 and the writers are so collaborative that they’re carrying the torch that Sam Raimi brought over. Sam Raimi set the bar when in episode 1 he asked me to help him write some lines for Kelly with her mom and what would be a turning point for her. Are you kidding me? It’s like the second episode of the whole series and Sam Raimi is asking me”¦ Sam Raimi! I was like, “˜what is happening?!?’ That set the tone because I think it’s always been a collaborative effort and I give the writers full credit. But they’re really good, like if you come up with a line, especially if it’s a lighter scene. I mean Bruce is really great at it, Ray is good at it, and we go on and on and the shows would run forever. The one line they let me do and let me change was, “Back off now, or I’ll f*ck your faces with bullets!” I just felt it needed to be something really strong for Kelly to say.
Geeks of Doom: Well thank you so much for the time this afternoon, are you going to be at NYCC again this Fall?
Dana DeLorenzo: I believe we are and hopefully I’ll see you there. Thank you again, and tell your daughter not worry about the toy. Take it easy my friend.
If you couldn’t tell from the back and forth, Dana DeLorenzo is as cool a person I’ve ever spoken to. She’s a top actor on a hit cable series entering it’s third season and yet she’s totally down to earth, constantly respectful to everyone, charming and friendly. This felt like 15-minutes on the phone with an old friend I hadn’t spoke to in a while and the back and forth was so natural I actually lost track of time and totally did not ask her one question about the upcoming season 3 of the show. But hey, she’ll be at Comic Con in October. One of the coolest women on TV, is truly one of the coolest women you’ll ever talk to. You can see Dana DeLorenzo as Kelly in Ash vs Evil Dead Season 3, coming soon to Starz. Catch up on the wild and crazy Season 2 it hits Blu-Ray and DVD on Tuesday, August 22nd.
Follow me on Twitter.