From being trapped in the possessed Delta 88 to facing a skin-stealing demon, Pepi Sonuga's character, Lacey Emery, the daughter of Linda and Sheriff Emery, has endured a lot since "Ashy Slashy" returned to Elk Grove on Ash vs Evil Dead. Daily Dead recently had the pleasure of chatting with Sonuga about Lacey's perseverance, taking a wild ride in a car powered by the Necronomicon, her character's opinion of Ash, and more.
What was the audition process like for you when you were trying out for the role of Lacey?
Pepi Sonuga: I watched the first film and I got the first episode of season 1, and they were just incredible. I went into my audition. It's crazy because this audition particularly, I didn't feel very confident about it. I remember calling my agent and just being like, "You know what, I was so off my game, so maybe just don't expect anything." Then I went home and I watched the rest of the season and I was thinking, "Oh my God! I wish there was another opportunity, because this job would be so cool." About two weeks later, I got the call and they were offering me the role. That was really cool.
Oh, wow, so it actually turned out to be the opposite of what you thought.
Pepi Sonuga: Yeah. For Ash vs Evil Dead, this audition was different because my scene was the car scene. It was very physical. It's that sort of thing that an actor can't prepare for until you're in the room, because you don't know what's in the room. I just had to wing it and throw myself around in the chair and everything and I didn't know how well that looked, but I guess it turned out okay.
Your introduction to the show is such a physical role. You being in that car that entire episode was just amazing to watch. What was it like for you to film that scene with the physicality of being bumped around and tormented by this possessed car? It looked like fun, but they seemed like very intense scenes to shoot.
Pepi Sonuga: It was very fun. I would say that it got a little difficult when we had to do the emotional scenes. You do that over and over and over again. The physicality of the show, that was really fun especially when Ray Santiago (Pablo) joined me in the fourth episode. That was fun because I was stuck in a car with him and in-between shots we were just goofing around.
Before coming onto the show were you a big fan of the horror genre, or was this a new experience for you to get involved in this type of a project?
Pepi Sonuga: I will say that I love scary movies. Now that I'm in this world I'm learning that—before I just sort of grouped them all, like, "Oh, I love scary movies." But there's thriller, there's horror, there are gory movies. So I will say that the blood and the gore wasn't ever really my thing. I'm not afraid of it, but after doing Ash vs Evil Dead, there's no turning back, right?
Those were pretty dramatic moments when Lacey literally gets the front row seat to all of her friends being killed. That is such an emotional moment for her even though it's so out there and crazy, it's still very grounded in a way. I thought that was really cool how you were able to go there as an actress while being surrounded by all this craziness.
Pepi Sonuga: Thank you so much. That is quite the compliment. It really is just the team that they have and everyone is really helpful and collaborative. I respect this show with the direction that they're going, because it's so awesome already on its own with the comedy and the horror. And it looks so great that they could just stop there. I really respect that they find a way to make you so attached to the characters by getting in real-life situations.
They film this show in New Zealand? Had you ever been there before? What was that whole experience like for you to travel across the world to go film this show?
Pepi Sonuga: This is not an overstatement when I say this: New Zealand is the most beautiful country I have ever been to and it was the most beautiful experience I've ever had in my life so far. It was just something that I didn't know that I needed. The people are wonderful. The whole country looks like a postcard. I'm not even kidding when I say that. It was wonderful. Working on a show, though, I didn't get time to go off and do what I wanted to do because I'm dedicating my time to work. But after work, I got to go on a road trip for two weeks around the country and that was really wonderful.
This show is known for pouring buckets of blood on its characters. Was that a fun experience for you?
Pepi Sonuga: Yeah, that is fun. It's fun to be gored up. It's kind of weird because every other job I've had I'm sort of clean cut, you look okay, makeup is touching you up, and this was a weird experience. Especially, as a woman, on set before I go on I would touch my hair or maybe lick my lips to make sure they're not chapped or something. But because you're already so drenched in blood, it was such a crazy experience to just not even care. You don't even care. You're just like, "Are we ready to go? Okay, yeah, so let's go." It was fun. "Just a little more blood. Just a little on there. I think you missed a spot in my hair. Just throw it on there."
Lacey's such an interesting character in the whole dynamic of the show because she's the daughter of Ash's previous girlfriend, Linda. Because she grew up in Elk Grove and there's this legend of Ashy Slashy, do you have any thoughts on how she might view Ash, or do you think she has any viewpoints on Ash from her own unique standpoint in the show?
Pepi Sonuga: This is what I've been noticing with my character. I made a choice to say that she knows of all the legends of Ash, but because she's Linda's daughter, she has both parts of it, because her father obviously isn't a fan of Ash. She's probably heard the terrible parts about it, but with Linda being her mother, she's not afraid of Ash at all. She thinks it's stupid. She thinks it's so lame that everyone is afraid of this guy and she doesn't really know what it is. I don't think she's afraid him at all.
He did come to her rescue [in episode 204], so maybe that's another moment reinforcing that, "Hey this isn't such a bad guy after all."
Pepi Sonuga: Maybe she doesn't feel that way yet, like, "Okay, maybe this guy's like totally bad news," but I don't think she's like, "Don't even say his name because he's a crazy killer person." But when he was shooting at her, I think she was like, "Okay, something crazy is happening here and I need to get out of here." It hasn't really registered yet that this guy is insane. Linda wouldn't have let that happen.
Lacey's obviously gone through this really traumatic experience. Is there anything you can tease about where her journey might take her in the future episodes?
Pepi Sonuga: I will say that she's stronger than we think. She's stronger. We're going to see her fight for herself and others.