In the beyond-gory remake of the 1981 cult horror film, she takes over the lead role from Bruce Campbell, who gave the new cast his blessing.
Levy told Moviefone about the tough shoot, which included being buried alive, enduring a "blood rain," and spending more than a month in "evil" makeup. She admitted she wasn't much of a horror movie fan, but she is definitely game for more "Evil Dead."
Moviefone: It says in the press notes you're actually a "scaredy cat." So you're not a horror movie buff? Levy: Not really, no. But I watched some after I got this job because I thought I should know about them.
Had you seen the original "Evil Dead?" Mmm hmm. I watched it after I got the part and it made me more excited to be part of the project. I loved it.
The first one was actually fairly silly, but you go in a totally different direction with the remake. It's a totally different direction, but there's the same fundamentals. The Book of the Dead and releasing the spirit and him taking the five souls.
How would you describe this version to fans of the original? I would just tell them to give it a chance. I know they're going to see it. I know people's curiosity is going to get the better of them even if they don't want to, you know? It's its own movie. What's made me feel good about it is that the original creators are huge supporters of it. It's a "reimagining." People can see this movie without seeing the original. It's its own world.
Did you get any notes or advice from Sam Raimi or Bruce Campbell? Bruce wrote the cast an e-mail when we started, saying, "This has been really tough and I'm passing the torch. Don't ever try to recreate anything we did, because" -- he was being humble -- "we weren't good actors back then." He was really sweet and his support has made me been able to get through the whole thing.
Do you think people were looking for a Bruce cameo? I was expecting a Bruce Campbell cameo. I wanted it so bad.
I took a friend who's a huge horror movie fan to the screening and she said this was the most extreme horror movie she's ever seen. And I've been hearing about walkouts because it's just too intense for a lot of people. What's your reaction to that? Yeah, we watched it at SXSW, it was the premiere. You can't ask for a better response from an audience. Nothing makes people so vocal. They were screaming and crying and laughing and cheering and whimpering. The energy in the theater was really fun. I started yelling myself.
Do you recognize yourself when you're made up as Evil Mia? I guess so. I took so many pictures because the makeup was so intricate and beautiful, in some way. So I remember it all too well. I don't recognize my personality necessarily, but yeah, it's me up there. It's pretty fun to watch, actually. Kind of comical.
How do you keep things light on set when it's nothing but blood and mayhem all day long? We didn't! Sometimes we did, but my biggest regret is I took it all so seriously. There's a way when the cameras are rolling to be that evil person and then be Jane right after, but I feel like I didn't have the skills to do that and from now on, in every movie I do -- you gotta keep it light when you're making something so heavy or else you're just going to get depressed.
What happened when you went home at night? I didn't sleep. I had nightmares. We were so far away from home. It was the first time I'd been a lead in a movie and I'd worked so much. It all added up. But you've got to keep it light, when you're not filming, you've got to go get drunk or have one drink with a friend or watch a comedy. When we do number two, that's going to be my goal.
You're definitely coming back for the sequel? Mmm hmm.
This already has elements of "Evil Dead 2" doesn't it? I've never seen "Evil Dead 2." Sorry about that. I'm sorry to the world.
What was the most difficult day of filming for you? Really hard to compare. Every day was some crazy thing. Being buried alive is something I'll be able to say for the rest of my life. I had blood squirted on my face and a plastic bag tied around my neck and an oxygen tube behind my ears so I wouldn't suffocate. And I got buried alive. I laid in the ditch until they covered me completely.
How long were you buried? Once I was covered in dirt, I waited, like, two seconds and was able to dig myself out. It was just a layer of dirt over my face. I made sure I had my hands near my chest so I could immediately push the dirt off my face and rip the bag off my head.
So you had the toughest job on set? Yeah, I think I had the toughest job. I worked the most out of anybody. Most people were in their evil makeup for a week, but I was in it for 37 days. I was just there forever. And I also had to endure the blood rain at the end, which was in the middle of the night. Night shoots, winter, two weeks of it. I was alone, freezing cold, rolling around in the mud. It was hard.