Remember when Evil Dead was just about Ash Williams?
Sure, you had a cast of supporting characters that were minced and mutilated throughout the course of each film, but everybody knew they were Deadite food the minute they showed up on screen. Ash was the sole survivor of each entry in the long-running horror franchise – until Ash vs Evil Dead premiered on Starz in 2015, that is. Then we met Pablo Simon Bolivar and Kelly Maxwell, Ash’s new sidekicks who learned to hold their own against the armies of darkness and the unholy slapstick mayhem that seems to follow them around.
Last season saw significant character development for the two, weaving them further into the fabric of the Evil Dead universe – and the cold, dead hearts of fans. But according to stars Dana DeLorenzo and Ray Santiago, Season 3 is the year that’s going to show us just how far Pablo and Kelly have come from the bright eyed and bushy tailed ValueStop employees we once knew.
We recently spoke with Ray and Dana about their experiences filming the latest season of Ash vs Evil Dead and how exciting it was to work with new regular cast members Arielle Carver O’Neill and Lindsay Farris. We thought we’d share the answers with you, true believers – but only if you say “pretty please with a chainsaw on top” first.
So Kelly has pretty much become a horror icon overnight, definitely moreso than Mia or any other character introduced in the 2013 remake of Evil Dead.
Dana DeLorenzo: Wow. That’s humbling. Thank you.
Of course. Believe it or not, you have a huge following. I often found myself rooting for Kelly during the big action moments from the first two seasons because I know that, besides Ash, Kelly is the only one who can hold her own against the forces of evil.
Dana: Oh, thank you!
Kelly’s character arc was always fun to watch, and it seemed like you had a lot to work with as an actor. Will season three continue to build upon the foundation that’s been set up, and will you still be getting enough screen time with all the new characters that are being introduced?
Dana: “Will you get enough screen time?” is probably one of my most favorite questions I’ve ever been asked. (Laughs) Yes, this why I really love this season and the idea of conflict and raising the stakes. Dalton hanging out with Kelly sort of puts a little rift her and Pablo, even though there’s no need for it, Kelly and Dalton have their own thing that sort of clashes with Pablo and I like that, but then the same way that when Kelly shows up [with Dalton at the end of the season premiere] and Pablo and Ash are like “Who’s this guy?!”
And [in regards to Brandy] Kelly’s like, “Who’s this girl?!” I really like that conflict because that’s entertaining to watch. But yes, Kelly was sort of Ash’s heir apparent in the sense like you saw the similarities between them but I actually feel like what has curved her most and what you will continue to see with this is that I like that Kelly has become a warrior on her own without having a fallback of it just being, just that people would assume oh it’s just because she’s his heir apparent.
I like that now Ash has a real daughter who has stubbornness, who is a senior in high school, who has the rebel without a cause stubbornness going for her anyway. What I like is that the writers can explore a different side of Kelly and make her a little bit more vulnerable and show her softer side. The way that happens is because she has these sort of walls up as she does with Brandy, and kind of gets stuck on babysitting duty and hates it and Brandy is just fighting tooth and nail. She’s obviously a liability because Ash is her father and that any love you would have whether your Ash Williams or not that any love you have for a kid is going to be a liability and create an obstacle, especially when she’s a rambunctious teenager who is stubborn and who is getting dragged into this. But Kelly quickly has to let down her walls.
Sounds like Dana and Brandy will definitely forge a bond of some kind, then.
As soon as she realizes, oh wait a minute – Brandy and I are very much alike. Brandy was dragged into this the same way I was. Brandy’s got it just as bad as watching her father getting eye-forked but instead watching her mother get…well, I won’t say that because you’ve probably already seen it. That is special in that it’s Kelly who’s the one who’s convincing Brandy look, I know you think your dad is an idiot, but he’s actually the one who’s going to save the world.
And I love that it’s Kelly! Because usually that would be Pablo’s job being a cheerleader. I love that it’s Kelly because also Kelly is like look, I know what it’s like to be dragged into this and lose my parents and this and that, and I wasn’t in high school. High school, by the way, is the real hell. For me the real horror though was going back and shooting in that high school, which I think they built, I think that was a set. But those clocks…why does every high school have that clock? I’ll tell you right now, I got PTSD just being in high school. So that is what I feel like. “Oh wow, that must have been even harder.”
But I haven’t even answered your question, here’s the final thing. Everything we’ve seen built up for two seasons with Kelly does lead up to one moment. Brandy actually thinks this over and she serves as her father does which gives Kelly a chance to get out of this Catch 22 situation and finally forge her path and go into battle alone, willing to risk it all. And she does, and we’ll have to see if she’s victorious or not, but the point is she gets her day in the sun, man, and that is why I’m so excited to go ballistic, reminiscent of the deli slicer scene [from season one], and she uses every skill and every weapon that we’ve seen her use up until this point and everything she learned from Ash. Man, I am excited for you to see what will happen.
I’m so pumped as well, just hearing you talk about it. I love watching Kelly go berzerk. That meat slicer scene was something else, too.
Dana: There is one unconventional weapon that she gets to use very briefly in like I think episode four this season that I am very excited about. And then the other one is she uses a bunch of them in this episode “I’m With Evil”, and she goes ballistic and loses her mind. So I can’t wait for you. I’m excited for you.
So Ray. Pablo has become an integral part of the Evil Dead universe with his bond to the Necronomicon and Ash himself. Sometimes in season two it felt he was used like plot device more than he was in the first year, which I thought built up his character quite well. Does season three feature more character focus for Pablo this time around?
Ray Santiago: I feel like in season three we really get see the seeds that have been planted throughout the past two seasons sort of flourish and come to life. We really get to see Pablo go from being a naive, idealistic psychic to sort of uncovering what his true destiny was in meeting Ash. We really get to see that with him exploring his lineage of family of brujos and there’s no denying that he has a relationship with the Necronomicon. We’re going to get see him become the hero he was always meant to be and also sort of explore what it means to have the Necronomicon still within and can he use his newfound powers for good or evil? It will be a really interesting thing for fans to dive into because we’re really taking it to a place we’ve never been to before.
Bruce told me that the theme of this year is “family is everything”. From what you’re telling me, that applies to Pablo too, not just Ash.
Ray: Yeah, I’m definitely following in the footsteps of my family. And with [Arielle Carver-O’Neill] being introduced into the show as Bruce’s daughter. I was really happy to have her on set because that meant that there was a new player in town and I got to go off and do a couple things on my own which was nice because New Zealand was a good place to shoot there because it’s nice to be able to do your own thing every once in a while.
Will he be getting more action heavy moments this year?
Ray: We have something that we call Brujo Especial that’s coming at you this season. I think Pablo’s powers are maybe not the strongest in the physical sense that are definitely going to be helping the players of the team. And yes, we had a director this season that was fighting for Pablo to get a good, kick-ass “Kill the Deadite” scene and it happened.
I was very happy that he stuck up for me because often I found myself in that room begging them please, please let me get a Deadite kill! Everybody’s just always calling me a pussy and I can do it and I just wanna fight. And they’re like, “Pablo’s the heart of the group, he’s softer than everybody.” I’m like nah, enough’s enough. We’re going into season three. Let me kill some Deadites. You definitely get that. And I think maybe Pablo will definitely get closer to getting laid this season as well.
Based on what you’re telling me so far, would you say that season three is the funnest experience filming Ash vs. Evil Dead that you’ve had so far?
Ray: (Laughs) Yeah, I would definitely say that there was a lot of, “Wow, Pablo’s storyline has really grown.” And I’m spending a lot more time in the [makeup] chair. Honestly, I don’t really know I’d say was the most fun to shoot.
Is it the messiest?
Ray: I would say the last year was the messiest for me, and this year has proven to be the most I’ve spent in the [makeup] chair. I undergo a very special transformation for the viewers this season.
I read in the upcoming episode synopses that you will Pablo will have friction with new character and Knight of Sumeria Dalton.
Ray: He’s coming into town and he’s with the girl I’ve been trying to get with for the past three seasons, so it’s not really sitting well with me. I don’t trust him. I’ve learned not to trust people who just show up into our lives most of the time. Most of the time, they’re either trying to kill us or they’re going to turn into evil so I’m not so sure that I buy anything that he’s selling. I think he’s a fraud. You’ll get to see that he gets what’s coming to him, if I’m right.
Do you have a lot of scenes with Lucy this year? A showdown, maybe?
Ray: I don’t have as many scenes as I did last [with her] last year. There’s a fight scene where I’m the sidekick as per usual with Lucy there, very epic fight scene this season. But no…last year I spent a lot of time with Lucy so I got to really know her. She got to torture me. It was fun because I spent the first season really close with Bruce and the second season with her. This season, I’m off doing my own things and trying to track her down most of the season.
Dana: Lucy taught me Italian. And I’m Italian. We did an Italian play and I learned four lines in Italian and I was terrible at it. She was better at Italian than the true Italian. I also learned how to be a professional, how to walk on set with grace, how to make people laugh, and how to walk off and drop the mic because that’s what she does ‘cause she’s Lucy Flawless with an “F”.
Is there anything you might want to say that you haven’t had a chance to in other interviews yet?
Ray: I think the way that season three ends is going to be very great and shocking and I just would invite viewers to check out the show because if they don’t, there won’t be a season four, and the way season three ends sets up a very new and epic way for the franchise to go on. They’re in for a good ride. And they’re in for a very sort of jaw-dropping surprise ending. I think all the actors were pretty emotional when were shooting it because it was pretty insane.
Last question – if you could describe this season in one word, what would it be?
Ray: Uh…(laughs)…that’s my answer.
Dana: Mine is gonna be…”Boomtastic-splatta-groovy-licious”.