Ash vs Evil Dead returns tonight with the first of ten new episodes and the biggest change to the series is the introduction of Ash's daughter, played by Arielle Carver-O'Neill. Ahead of the Season 3 premiere, I caught up with Arielle to learn more about her joining the cast, the series converting her into a horror fan, and getting blood-drenched during her first days on set:
What was your first introduction to the “Evil Dead” franchise? Did you watch any of the movies when you were younger or did you get up to speed when you joined the series?
Arielle Carver-O'Neill: I started watching them when I got the audition for the role. I had an unfortunate experience when I was young watching a scary movie and I got scared from what was supposed to be a hilarious and ridiculous film. I got nightmares for about a week from then on, so I didn't really watch any horror for a long time.
It was actually quite a gift when this came along. I watched this show, finished all both seasons in a day and then the movies, and it made me realize that I actually really like and can watch horror. It was something that was very specific to this show, I believe, that makes it not as hard to watch. That being said, watching someone's head go up a cadaver's butt is not easy to watch…
The comedy and the absurdity of it at times, and how entertaining it is, made it so much more enjoyable. I was really scared of watching horror before I started watching this show and now because of it, I'm a brand new fan of the genre. It has converted me.
What attracted you to the role of Brandy initially and did you know that she was gonna be Ash's daughter from the start?
Arielle Carver-O'Neill: I didn't know, actually. I kind of had an inkling because in the audition script, she was talking to her long lost uncle Ron, and I thought there's no way they're introducing another middle-aged demon fighter. My Uncle Ron has to be Ash.
The great thing about this show is it's the best place to learn new things. There's action, another day you're in a drama, another day you're in a comedy, and then you're in a horror film and you're just running scared and being covered in blood. You get to work with stunts, and practical effects, and visual effects that will be put in later, and it's just the best experience for trying all the new things. It's really an actor's dream getting to dip your toe in all the different kinds of TV and filmmaking, and they're all neatly put into one package here.
Yeah, and they didn’t take it easy on you at all. You get thrown right into the middle of everything from the first episode. Can you tell our readers a little bit about your first experience on set with Bruce Campbell?
Arielle Carver-O'Neill: I first met Bruce just before we started filming and one of the first things he said to me is that if I’m not having fun, I’m doing it wrong. And that was the best advice that you could give to an actor who's about to step into their first lead role in an American series.
You're there and you're working every single day and exhausting, and it can be quite daunting and there's a little pressure attached to playing a character like Ash Williams' daughter. They're pretty big shoes to fill so having fun was really important to me because having a good experience I think is paramount to any work that you do. You have to love doing it.
With the first episode, they were nice to me on the first couple of days. We had some pretty low-key scenes. But then after that, they were like, we'll give you a couple days to get into it, and then on the third day, we're gonna cover her in blood, she's gonna be fighting evil forces, and she's getting attacked at her high school pretty much straight away.
So it was definitely not a calming or a soft experience. There was a lot of running involved, and crying, and screaming, and yelling, and it was great! I got thrown into it and I felt like going straight into the deep end of the job as opposed to kind of slowly getting into it. It was just like, bam, there it is. You're in the world of Evil Dead.
The great thing about Ash vs. Evil Dead is that it obviously revolves around Ash, but there's also these incredible actors and incredibly strong female characters. We have Kelly, we have Ruby, and now Brandy's in the middle of this power struggle.
Arielle Carver-O'Neill: I have been a fan of Xena for forever. As long as I can remember, I've known who Lucy Lawless was and she is such an icon. And then you meet her and she exceeds expectations. She's a lovely, lovely person, and she's hilarious. She's got a very infectious laugh and she's just so much fun company as well as, as a colleague on set and a fellow actor. She's very generous and I was very supported by her when working with her.
The series is shaking things up by bringing Ash’s daughter into the mix, but fans have been very supportive. What has your experience been with Evil Dead fans at conventions or online?
Arielle Carver-O'Neill: I got to meet fans at New York Comic-Con. They were lovely to meet and they've all been very welcoming and very supportive of introducing a daughter into the mix. The experience is ours and we love what we do, but at the end of the day, they're the reason that we're still here is for the fans. They've kept it alive. Their dedication, loyalty, and encouragement is what keeps us going, and is what makes us have so much fun.
Catch up on our coverage of Ash vs Evil Dead by visiting the following links: