People have an odd way of catching you offguard. Sometimes the most terrifying onscreen entities can prove to be the nicest people you’ve had a chance to talk to. Such is the case with breakout horror star, Ashley Bell, who audiences may recognize from the 2010 “little indie horror film that could” The Last Exorcism. An admitted skeptic to most horror sequels, Bell was kind enough to put some fears to rest as well as promise some new frights in The Last Exorcism Part II. The star of the upcoming film (scheduled for a March 1 release) was kind enough to take a few minutes out of her busy schedule to talk about life as a burgeoning horror icon and life outside the world of horror.
When asked about her own relationship with the horror, Bell professed to being a bit of a fangirl when it comes to the genre. “For me, my summers growing up was watching horror movies with my dad and just getting scared to death! I love everything from Suspiria to Pumpkinhead to Alien to, ya know, Poltergeist. Nothing’s more fun of me than going into a movie theater and loving the thrill of getting scared.” With a history like that, Ashley Bell was both excited and honored when given the opportunity to bring such a complex character, like Nell and her sinister counterpart, to life on the big screen. Naturally, it was a no-brainer for Bell when she was asked to return for the sequel. When asked whether or not she was surprised that a sequel was announced, she responded, “I had always hoped that it would happen because I really enjoyed playing the character of Nell. I loved building both her and the devil that possesses her. When I got the call that it [the sequel] was actually happening, it was really surprising and exciting to see where she would now go.”
Ashley Bell was very understanding of my thinly-veiled skepticism about the nature of most horror sequels. “Nobody jumped into it, they really wanted to make sure they had a good story first. That’s something only somebody like Eli Roth could really do because he knows the genre so well and he knows how to play with rules of the genre and innovate and make something that people haven’t seen before. I think audiences will be very surprised.” When asked if The Last Exorcism Part II would deliver more of the same things that audiences loved about the first film, Ashley Bell was very cautious to characterize the film. “Ya know, here is this character who has never left the Swetzer Plantation, she doesn’t even know what an iPod is… and taking it in to Part II, here’s this girl and she’s thrown into Mardi Gras and temptation everywhere and she has to choose between good and evil.” However, fans of Ashley Bell who haven’t seen the first film or haven’t watched it in a while needn’t worry. “It’s a continuation of Nell, but you can enjoy this film and you can get scared by this film as a stand-alone.” However, Nell isn’t the only thing that attracted Bell to reprise her role. When asked if she would return for a third installment in the franchise, if there ever was one, she gladly replied, “Oh, absolutely. I mean, to play the Devil? Evil has no boundaries, it’s the role of a lifetime.”
Luckily for us, Bell is an actress with no boundaries. While she acknowledges that the Last Exorcism was her breakout role, she’s eager to tackle other genres as well. In the upcoming film The Marine: Homecoming, Ashley Bell will be tackling her first action role. “In it, I play Lily, the delinquent younger sister of the Marine, played by Mike Miz, and I like that character because even though she’s taken hostage, she doesn’t collapse. She fights.” While The Last Exorcism series has been pretty physically demanding, Bell has expressed interest in taking that physicality to a new level, something she is tackling with The Marine: Homecoming. With The Last Exorcism Part II out this Friday and The Marine: Homecoming due out March 5, Ashley Bell has a pretty busy month ahead of her. Still, with both action and horror under her belt, with an upcoming romantic comedy, Ashley Bell has proven herself an incredible actress, of both range and talent.