Jane Levy, Possessed by Demons in “EVIL DEAD” (Opens May 8)


Finding a talented young cast for Columbia Pictures' terrifying thriller “Evil Dead” wasn’t difficult given the reputation the 1981 original film had built over the years. “So many actors wanted to work with us,” says producer Rob Tapert. “With many horror films, you don’t get the cream of the crop coming in. We got to cherry pick some of the best young actors Hollywood has to offer.”

One of the film's best finds was Jane Levy, who plays the central character, Mia. “We all had this mental image of Mia,” says Tapert. “Jane was not in that mold, but she gave a dynamic audition. Sam [Raimi], Bruce [Campbell] and I agreed pretty much instantly that she was the one—and she proved herself to be up to the challenge. It is a really demanding part, but she’s feisty and I think she’s brought a huge amount of energy and commitment to it. She actually enjoyed being a monster, which is helpful if you’re in a horror movie like this one.”

Playing a demonically possessed junkie was a welcome change of pace for Levy, who stars in the ABC sitcom, “Suburgatory.” “She’s a great sport who never said no to anything,” director Fede Alvarez says. “In fact, she was always asking for more. Whatever happened to the character, she was ready to do another take. She is also the sweetest girl, which is crucial for the story. You see her vulnerability and you root for her right away. But when she turns mean, she’s the scariest person ever.”

Following up her television show with a hardcore horror film offered the actress just the kind of challenge she was looking for. “I was able to try so many different things in this role,” she says. “I’m a recovering drug addict and I’m possessed. It gave me the opportunity to go somewhere new. Plus, the people behind this are extremely talented, which made me eager to do it. I also thought going to New Zealand to work sounded romantic. Little did I know...”

Levy’s character is the youngest of the group. “She is David’s little sister and almost like a little sister to Eric and Olivia,” the actress says. “They grew up together and Mia’s always needed a little bit of parenting. David wasn’t really good at being that person. She’s trying to fix what’s broken in their relationship, as well as in herself. Until she goes out in the woods and sees that ominous figure, she’s trying to keep it together. She’s 100-percent committed to going through the physical pain and paranoia of withdrawal. But when she sees the figure, she realizes this place isn’t safe, only no one listens to her.”

The demands of the part tested the actress’ discipline. Hours in the makeup chair before and after shooting added to an already stressful day on the set. “I went to bed at 8:30 every night,” she says. “I ate only vegetables and fruit, stayed in on the weekends. I did yoga and breath work, so that I was able to give as much as I could. Otherwise I don’t think I would have been able to do this job.”

But surprisingly, it was playing Mia at the beginning of the movie, before she is possessed, that was in some ways the most difficult part of the job. “That was actually more painful,” Levy says. “As a demon, I could be whatever I wanted. It’s very animalistic and I was given a lot of freedom to explore. I was destroying people, torturing people. In a weird way, it was fun to be able to do that.”

Although she calls herself “a huge scaredy cat,” Levy has become intrigued by the horror genre after this experience. “It’s rich as hell, because it’s based on primal fear. This film is a supernatural movie, with lots of character development and great story telling. The horror starts right away and it doesn’t let go. It’s extreme. When I was reading the script, I thought ‘Oh my God, blood rain?’ And then I thought, yeah, cool, bring it on!”

Rated R-18 Without Cuts by the MTRCB, “Evil Dead” will be shown exclusively at Ayala Malls Cinemas on May 8. Moviegoers can catch the film at Glorietta 4, Greenbelt 3, Trinoma, Alabang Town Center, Market! Market!, Ayala Center Cebu, Marquee (Central Luzon), Abreeza (Davao), Harbor Point (Subic) and Centrio (Cagayan de Oro).

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