'Evil Dead': Prepare to be punished with an extreme visit to the set of the 'hard R' remake
HitFix travels to New Zealand for a gore-soaked look behind the scenes
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Same setup, new take. Pucci takes a drink of fake blood and holds it in his mouth. As Alvarez yells “Action!” he releases it. The blood streams down his chin and onto his shirt.
Same scene, new setup. A roving camera moves up and down, in and out. A few seconds in, Pucci’s Deadite contact pops out and falls to the floor. “I just lost an eye,” he proclaims. The crew bursts into laughter.
Same scene, new setup. A tracking shot through the living room of the cabin ends on a closeup of David’s face. He looks straight into camera. Something’s not right.
“This group of guys, they’re really troopers,” says Alvarez of his actors. “They’re really going for it. I mean, I see them suffer and I enjoy it so much. It has to be that way. If you feel bad for them, if you’re like ‘Oh no, let’s not do another take.’ Oh no, fuck no, you go again. And usually they’re grateful the next day because they see the last take when they were like ‘Fuck, I’m miserable’ and they look awesome. It turns into something real…That’s why Bruce Campbell wrote to them and said, ‘You have to suffer because movies [that] are easy to make are hard to watch.’”
No doubt, the production has been an extremely trying experience for its young cast.
“Sometimes I don't really have to act,” says Levy. “I'm actually freezing cold, and I'm so tired that I'm crying, because I'm so cold and I want to go home. Really, just like my character.”
Echoes Pucci: “Yesterday... I think that was my worst day ever. And it's because I had to do all day what I'm doing just for a little bit of the day today. But it's the exact same thing: I'm covered in water right now, and wearing mesh under this and knee pads and shit that doesn't let water out. And I was just sleeping, but that's usually not well-enjoyed because I have these fucking contacts in that are – you can't even see. It's the worst thing in the world.”
Many of the hardships for the actors came as a result of Alvarez and the producers’ mandate that nearly every effect be done practically (“we all saw ‘The Thing’ remake,” chuckles the director) – a precept that in a sense fits with the more “realistic” feel they’re attempting to bring to this new version.
“For a supernatural story, it’s very grounded,” says Alvarez. “[There are] no people floating. There’s nothing that you can witness that you go like, ‘woah, ok, this is supernatural.’ They are dealing with violence and things that happen, everything that they witness is from the real world. …So basically, we designed [it] in a way that every time [one of the characters gets] possessed, like the first stage is like some kind of self-mutilation – particularly the face. So they do something to themselves, and they’re in some state of hysteria…they’ll look fucked up. And they’ll look very scary. But if it’s something that happened naturally because of the wound they inflict on themselves.”
If Alvarez, Raimi, Campbell and Tapert have their way, one thing that will remain constant from the original film is that sense of penalizing the audience for daring to subject themselves to a film they’ve essentially been warned against from the get-go.
“We took it seriously…there was a motto that we wanted to punish the audience,” says Tapert. “This one has the same straightforward goals. …It really is to go for the jugular…as often as we can.”
“Evil Dead” hits theaters on April 12.