We last spoke with Ashley Bell for her first starring role in “The Last Exorcism”, read it here. Since then Ashley has been taking over the action genre with strong female roles in films like “The Day” and recently in “The Marine 3: Homefront”. Ashley is also returning to her role of Nell Sweetzer in “The Last Exorcism Part 2” this month. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Ashley again about her passion for these roles and how she enjoys performing her own stunts.
Mike Gencarelli: Did you get involved with “The Marine 3: Homefront” due to your connection with WWE Studios from “The Day”?
Ashley Bell: Yes very much so. Because WWE Studios acquired “The Day” from Toronto Film Festival, it put me on their radar. In talking with them after the release, they wanted to see if I would be interested in working on “The Marine 3: Homefront”. I read the script for the character of Lilly and the role really spoke to me.
MG: What was it about Lilly that drew you to the role?
AB: What I love about Lilly is that even though she is a hostage character she doesn’t give up…she fights. She is more of a wild card. Even if she is retrained with handcuffs, she is searching for the air holes looking to get out and trying to fight back. I really like that determined spirit that she has. Also in reading Scott Wiper’s script, a lot my scenes are opposite Neal McDonough as well as Mike (‘The Miz’ Mizanin). But Neal is such an incredible actor. There is no one that plays a villain like Neal McDonough. Here is a terrorist but when you first hear him speak he almost makes sense…until he takes it over the top and then you know you are in trouble. I like the arguments that were being fought for – insurance and saving your home and family. So, yes I like the script for sure.
MG: You seem like an actor that isn’t afraid to get out there and get her hands dirty, am I right?
AB: Absolutely! That is when it gets fun for me! If I am not bruised or have some kind of a war wound…then I have not done my job [laughs].
MG: What do you enjoy about performing your own stunts in the action scenes?
AB: Coming from the first “The Last Exorcism”, which I did all my own physicality. Luckily, the roles I am doing now allow me to do my own stunts and going into action. That is really excited for me because I really love action movies! Like I mentioned with these strong female characters. I actually learned Muay Thai for “The Day” and I loved that training. It is just a wonderful form of exercise and I keep it up. Thank God, I did because it takes a lot of stamina in order to be on an action set, which for me is fun. n “The Marine 3”, you see this abandoned cruise ship which has been there for years and that is how it actually looked. It was all rust over and we were doing take after take running down the corridors, up and down the stairs, gun fire going off, explosions, cars are blowing up…and this was what I daydreamed off when I was a kid with my Nerf gun in my tree house.
MG: I got to tell you the the passion is literally coming right out of your mouth. It sounds like you had a blast.
AB: Well, I really did. I really hope I get to continue action since it is a lot of fun for me.
MG: Going from action packed to horror, tell us what we can expect from “The Last Exorcism Part 2”?
AB: This is the continuation of Nell’s story. Here is a girl that is completely shell-shocked from what happened to her. She doesn’t remember what happened at all, she is very vulnerable and shut out from the world. She is drawn out into New Orleans during Mardi Gras and she has to choose between good and evil. I agree do all my own physicality for this one as well. If you have seen the trailer, I do a levitating back bend and I have the stress fracture to prove it [laughs].
MG: After this film are you going to but a “no back-bend clause in your contract [laughs]?
AB: [laughs] I know right. It is a stress fracture not trauma fracture. I was funny since I panicked when I heard this since I love working out. I love my Muay Thai lessons and taking ballet. So I was afraid I was going to have to stop working out. My doctor actually told me that the cure for something like this is to really build up your core muscles and to actually continue work out. So it hasn’t affected me at all.
MG: How was it for you returning to the character Nell this time around?
AB: It was very different actually. The character of Nell is completely broken. For this script, I was putting her back together and in doing so there was a lot of pieces missing and that is where the devil comes in! And that is where there are scares! Also there is also a different director on board, so it has a very, to be be redundant, different feel than the first one. It was a very new Nell.
MG: You’ve got action, horror – what do you have in the cards next?
AB: Well I am really happy to announce, I have also have a romantic comedy coming out. It is called “The Bounceback” and it is going to be premiering at SXSW 2013.