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by Nigel M Smith
January 6, 2014 12:03 PM
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Tarantino's Go-To Stuntwoman Zoe Bell on Headlining the Bloody 'Raze' and What She Learned From the 'Death Proof' Director

In many ways the film has a lot in common with "Death Proof," given its grindhouse roots and girls-gone-bad storyline. Is that just a coincidence? Are you attracted to that genre after delving into Tarantino's world?

I came on more during the conceptual beginnings of it and was inspired by the energy and the creative ideas of the people that I was saying yes to. There was a hunger in me that was like yes!

I never was fanatical about films when I was younger. I grew up on an island without TV. We didn't have a cinema on the island. I remember watching "Wizard of Oz" and "Neverending Story." That was pretty much all I saw when I was under the age of 8 or 9.  When I was working with Quentin on "Death Proof," it was really the beginning of my education in cinema in general. But particularly that sort of genre, older b type grindhousey. I became a Steve McQueen fan almost overnight. I watched a couple of the McQueen movies and was like, "I wanna marry that man" or "I just wanna be that man." So it wasn't a coincidence but I definitely felt comfortable with it and we also wanted it to be a shift on some of those things. We didn't want it to be a women in prison movie -- we didn't want it to be just a fight movie. I wanted to tell some stories and I, as an actress and as a stunt double, haven't had much experience with visceral real women fights. I love all kinds of action, but it was interesting for me to see if we could put a spin on it that I hadn't experienced before.

"Death Proof"

In your mind, does this mark your biggest career high since "Death Proof"?

"Death Proof" was obviously massive but "Kill Bill" was massive for me as a stuntwoman and "Xena" was massive before that. I did But yeah, in terms of the combined feeling of awe and excitement and pride in cast, crew and everyone who worked on this show? Without a doubt. I feel like this is my baby -- it's lots of people's babies, of course, and I feel responsible to everybody on it, that it be good. And I feel responsible to audience members as someone who represents action and females around the world, it's really important to me that we get this part of it right.

Making "Death Proof," what scared you more: Quentin's lengthy dialogue scenes or riding atop a car going at warp speed?

The dialogue. Definitely.  The car stuff we do as stunt people. I feel like the more comfortable you are with something, the more terrifying you can make it look or the more painful you can make it appear. I remember going to watch "Disney on Ice" when I was a little kid with my mom and there was someone as Goofy on ice skates and he looked like he was always going to fall over. I was like, "Mom, he can't even skate." And i remember my mom saying in order to make it look that clumsy, he needs to be really good otherwise he'd be falling over all the time. That's what we do. I need to be good at what I do in order to make it look like it hurt when that person hit me or when I tripped or when I'm holding on for dear life when I'm on that car. 

And you were right? Holding on for dear life?

I was but I had a safety. But I needed that safety so I could throw myself around so that it scared you when you watched it. Otherwise I'd be terrified and the whole chase sequence would just be me frozen because I would die if I came off that thing at 90 miles an hour, without a doubt.  But that is my comfort zone.

Watch her in action below:


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