When Jane Levy told family and friends she'd star (and have a demon inhabit her) in the “Evil Dead” remake, she didn’t emphasize that she’d spend the shoot freezing in just her underwear, vomiting blood on people.
“You explain it like, ‘I get to be the villain and I get to be possessed and I get to be in New Zealand, which is the most beautiful place in the world,’” said Levy by phone from her car in L.A. “All that sounds good, but the details--it starts to get not so much fun anymore.”
The 23-year-old star of ABC’s sitcom “Suburgatory,” who spent a short time in Chicago during her stint on “Shameless,” is the best thing in the new “Evil Dead,” opening Friday. In the film, adapted from Sam Raimi’s 1981 cult favorite (Raimi produced the remake), Levy plays Mia, whose attempt to kick drug addiction during a Midwestern cabin excursion turns deadly after she and her friends unleash evil spirits.
If you, like the characters in “Evil Dead,” walked into a room full of dead cats and found a book that was elaborately bound, what would your reaction be?
I would definitely open it. If it said, “don’t read it,” there’s a chance I might. I don’t know. I like to think I wouldn’t. I might be scared of reading it, but I would definitely open it. I would definitely take the book from the basement and look what’s inside.
Would you be more likely to read it if it said “read it” or “don’t read it”?
[Laughs.] That’s funny. I don’t know. That’s a really funny question though. [Laughs.]
Thanks to all the fake blood during filming, you had the worst ear infection that a doctor had ever seen. Did you tell him how it got that way?
Yeah, I did. I think he thought it was a little bit entertaining, which is messed up for a doctor to think that but … He didn’t say it was the worst ear infection, he said it was the most inflamed ear canal he had ever seen. Which is sort of, I guess, the same thing. He gave me antibiotics, and sure enough I was back to being healthy, but it took a long time for all the blood to actually come out of my ear. Months after we stopped shooting there was still blood coming out of my ear.
Dripping at random?
No, of course not. [Laughs.] No. When I would clean my ear, there would be red residue.
What did you tell the doctor then?
Well, he had visited me on set, so I was in full make-up. I was as evil Mia when he came and saw me on set to look into my ear. So he knew. He knew everything.
A lot of people who were involved in the original were on board for the remake and there was more money to create the vision. In general, how should people determine if a remake is worth doing?
That’s a good question. I’m not sure, but I trusted that there was a reason for this remake because, like you said, the original people wanted to make it again. When they made the first movie it was never released in theaters, and they wanted a chance now to make this movie to be released on the big screen, which is where everyone should watch a movie. There’s something really magical about the cinema ... And especially this movie when you watch it, I think people should definitely see it in a movie theater because feeling the audience’s energy around you is a lot of fun. When I saw it at SXSW with an audience, they were cheering, they were laughing, they were screaming, they were crying, they were yelling. It is a blast to have that experience with a bunch of people.
Can you think of something that has been remade that you were not glad to hear about, or something you hope is never remade?
No, I don’t really understand why people get upset. You can still have your other movie. You can still enjoy your other movie, and if you really don’t want to you don’t have to see the new one. But it’s not going to erase the fact that the other one ever existed. So no, I’ve never gotten upset by a remake but I’ve seen remakes that were [bleepy]. I’ve also not seen remakes because they looked [bleepy]. I’m not someone that gets outraged by the thought of a classic movie being made again. The only reason it gets annoying is when that’s the only thing being made in Hollywood and it’s frustrating because you think that these people are supposed to be artists, and sometimes it feels really uncreative when they just want to remake stuff for money. But that’s not how this movie came about at all. It wasn’t about ticket sales for Sony. It was about the original creators--they were very much in charge of the whole movie. And they wanted to make it again, so we got the chance.