Last season on Ash vs Evil Dead, Dana DeLorenzo’s Kelly was put through the ringer.  First she had to watch her dead mother stick a fork in her father’s eye, then she had to contend with being possessed by lesser demon Eligos, before finally being spit out of a cabin by way of blood.  As the brains of the Ghostbeaters, Kelly has proven to be a force to be reckoned with.  As is her real life counterpart, Dana.

We sat down with Dana ahead of the second season premiere to discuss what it was like to play possessed, how much she loves her job and the fans, and what’s ahead for Kelly.  Be prepared for some major teases:

Beginning in season 2, all of that anger and pent up rage, well she has a lot of that but only one mission. And that is revenge. She is out for blood against evil. Because not only for what happened to her parents, but for what’s happened to her. She gets possessed then she gets spit out of a cabin with a ton of blood, then being stuck in the rain. It was insane. And so, because she told Ash at the end of season one that evil was going to take over, he didn’t listen, and now instead of getting revenge she’s being forced to work at a bar in Jacksonville. So she’s getting even angrier, and trying to get him back into the fight. I think what’s really interesting about Kelly’s journey in season 2 is that you see at the beginning, once she’s back in the fight, she’s ready because she’s already proven at the end of last season that she’s a badass in her own right. But then? She gets a little bit blinded her rage, which can happen when you only have one set of blinders on. Eventually she ends up teaming up with Ruby, because Ruby has taken action and is going to help Kelly get revenge. So she’s like, fine, see you later Ash, I’m going with Ruby even though I don’t trust her. With Ruby’s encouragement, Kelly starts to forge her own path.
Which is interesting, and you’ll have to see where that journey leads. But bottom line in season 2: anyone dead or alive better stay out of her way. That’s all I can tease.
You know, that’s an interesting assessment, but I think with this season and with Kelly, her biggest enemy is evil, is the Deadites. And all of the demons, because in season 2 it’s not just Deadites anymore. Now those horrible little demon spawn jerks are all grown up and they’re impossible to kill, and evil takes it to a whole new level. There’s the most dangerous villain in Evil Dead history this season, and so I think with Kelly, because it brought her mother back from the dead and played with her, it’s such a fresh wound. You know, she watched her Deadite mother put a fork in her father’s eye. I think Kelly really wants to stop evil and let good win. With Ruby, I think she’d just like to duke it out with her for a minute, and then be over it. Because Ruby ends up coming to the Ghostbeaters for help and really kind of begging on her knees, Kelly realizes she can use Ruby to her advantage. Because what they are faced with in season 2 is not just your momma’s Deadites. She needs Ruby to be able to get that revenge.
She still is definitely the brains, the one who keeps trying to get Ash to do what he needs to do. Stop avoiding responsibility, Ash. I think Kelly is trying to change him, which is the toughest job. I think she is little by little. Also, what I think is a very interesting dynamic is, beyond the fact that Lucy Lawless is part of the group for season 2, because we go back to Ash’s hometown, you get to see what made him, him. We get to see Ash vulnerable, and he really needs Pablo and Kelly to pull him back and keep him from getting distracted. So Kelly still serves as the brains, and even though she might go off for a little bit, it’s always to come up with that plan.
You will see them get closer in season 2, because as you saw at the end of season 1, even though Kelly is trying to think with her head and not her heart, you saw her get a little bit jealous. You saw Kelly get jelly when Pablo was holding hands with the pretty blonde hiker, so you will see them get closer. But also, Kelly is adamant about what she’s learned from Ash, she’s adamant that, in this world, the minute her and Pablo get together, one of them is going to lose a head. One of them is going to end up dead. It’s inevitable; she knows this. But sometimes your heart can win over your head, so you’ll have to see if they take that chance. If the risk outweighs the reward, or if the house of evil always wins.
Yeah, the most challenging but most rewarding thing was from season 1, which was getting to play possessed. When I turned into the demon that was very physically demanding. Because I was actually tied up and, you know, I swear we were actually conjuring something up. Something exploded behind me in one take and someone said I was electrocuted in another, just “Oh no big deal, you just got a little shock.” We’re conjuring evil here, people! Also, I had to wear these prosthetic teeth, which were ridiculous. They were so big, they kept falling out when I was trying to eat the leeches.
That’s so funny, this is how incredible our crew and art department is. So, they have real leeches on Brujo’s hand, and in the middle of the take they switched out to the gummy leeches for me to have in my mouth. I had to chew them with the fake teeth and get them all in my mouth, but they looked SO real that I legitimately didn’t open my mouth the first time because I thought the actor did not realize that we were supposed to be using the gummy leeches. They had to yell cut. But I have to say that was the most rewarding because I’ve always wanted to play a possessed person. There’s something so fascinating about playing something that evil. Except, in season 2, I get to cross something else off my acting bucket list that you will never see coming. You will never see this coming! I’m very excited. This season is such a wild ride, it’s as if we made season 5 worthy stuff. I’m so excited for people to see it. It’s double the laughs, double the gore, quadruple the blood and crap being thrown on us.
You know it’s one of those things where I’m perpetually amused by my job. Like I don’t even want to call this a job, because it’s a dream role and a dream experience because I get to do all of these genres from horror to comedy to action to drama. But this is the stuff they don’t teach you in acting school, or any school except maybe clown school, which is throwing 26 gallons of blood on you for one scene. That’s what makes it so exciting; you can’t prepare for that. It might be miserable after the 16th hour when it’s dried and pulling your hair, but it’s never really miserable because you know it’s something that’s so loved by such a special fan base that you want to give them what they want. So I love being covered in any goo, blood, guts, viscera, and in season 2 they got really creative. Oh, the things that they thought of to be turned into a substance to be thrown on us. Spatter matter. I think I should coin that phrase.
You know; I knew Army of Darkness very well. That had been a staple since high school. I knew what the franchise was and the fan base and following that it had. When I saw the first Evil Dead, which I hadn’t seen before I got the job, I could not believe how absolutely terrifying it still was! I always thought it was some silly B movie. Oh my God! I grew up loving horror, and here I am terrified of this. I had to turn on all of the lights. I was an embarrassment to my 10-year-old self who saw The Exorcist and The Shining. But I loved horror growing up. I was an avid Goosebumps reader and Are You Afraid of the Dark? We would go on a family vacation to Cape May, New Jersey every year. That is a very haunted town, actually, a very old Victorian town. And I would always buy these self-published ghost stories, and different places you could go on a haunted ghost tour. I’ve always loved that. To be able to do what I love to do, and then tap into that early love of horror, I’m having the time of my life. I’m so grateful to the fans that they have embraced the show and embraced Pablo and Kelly.
You know, it’s something that I take great pride in, in terms of playing a straight female character. Especially in horror. Any time that any show has a strong female character has her own nuances and own sensibility, I root for in saying, “yes, please give us more of that diversity.” But especially in the horror genre, where women in the past were running naked through the woods because they heard a sound and were falling, just damsels in distress. To be a part of a show with someone like Lucy Lawless, who is a pioneer in terms of strong, kickass women, and playing someone like Kelly, who can hold her own against someone like Ash Williams, who has very antiquated views on women, and to just kickass. Just to be a badass but a badass with brains, you know? It’s incredible. And I don’t think I really understand the scope of it just yet. But just getting to meet fans. I met someone at Comic-con and this really, really got me; it really touched me, because she said, “I just want to thank you for your work and I’m writing my college dissertation on female characters in horror, and your portrayal of Kelly is the main crux of what I’m writing about.” I was just so blown away. Honored. And I’m loving it. Then we get to be silly, I mean, we’re talking about a guy with a chainsaw arm. We all get to have fun with it and I think it’s the best. The best of both worlds, to be honest.