She plays a heroin junkie seeking refuge in a cabin in the woods to clear her head and detox. Little does she know her nightmare is just beginning.
Like her character Mia in the new remake of "Evil Dead" -- which topped the box office over the weekend, bringing in $26 million and beating "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" by nearly $5 million -- Jane Levy didn't know the level of brutality that was in store when she took on the role.
"Being buried alive was the hardest thing to deal with psychologically," the 23-year-old actress, who also plays a pleasant teen girl on ABC's "Suburgatory," told Yahoo! Movies. "I had a plastic bag tied around my head with an oxygen tube behind my ear, laid in a ditch," she said, adding that she would lose air and would have to start digging herself out when the cameras stopped rolling. "That was a hard day."
But, as Levy conveyed, every day was hard. She offered the rapid-fire synopsis of what shooting the horror film, directed by Fede Alvarez and co-written by Oscar-winner Diablo Cody ("Juno"), was like: "'Today you're going to cut your tongue in half. Today you're going to barf on someone's face… Today you're going to fall down a hill. Today you're going to swim through a swamp. Today you're going to go crash your car. Today you're going to rip your own arm off.' ... Every single day was some crazy physical feat."
And it was beyond exhausting. The film was shot, for the most part, in chronological order. So as the story goes on, conditions get worse and worse for those poor young people who make the mistake of reading from the Necronomicon -- the Book of the Dead -- which unleashes an ancient evil presence that infects them one-by-one. By the time it got to the end, Levy said of herself and her castmates, "You have nothing left."
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Another tough day? When she shared a gag inspiring "blood kiss" with her cast mate Jessica Lucas, who plays Olivia. "I'm soaking wet and I'm covered in blood and I'm really laying on steps on top of this girl. You have to get yourself into crazy positions. The blood kiss was a tube on the other side of my face stuck in my mouth with so much blood. Two guys [were] behind, pumping blood straight into my mouth and then I would have to push it into [Jessica's] mouth. We had a signal: She would pinch me when she was suffocating. Blood came out of her nose."
The cast couldn't even rely on modern digital effects to ease their hardships. Director Fede Alvarez was committed to doing all the gross-out effects on the set, using makeup, prosthetics, and old-school movie magic instead of depending on computer-generated imagery. That meant spending five to six hours in the makeup chair in the morning, followed by a full day of highly physical filming. Levy said, "Every effect is practical. You have to do everything as the actor. Which is helpful, because you're reacting to things happening in real time. But it's also just really hard and exhausting."
Bruce Campbell, the star of classic 1981 "The Evil Dead" and one of the remake's producers along with the original's director Sam Raimi, wrote Levy a letter before filming, warning her of the hardships to come. Levy listened, but it just didn't sink in. Plus, Levy hadn't seen the original horror film until after she was cast. "No matter what anyone says you never know what it feels like to have a huge tube that's like an inch-and-a-half diameter stuck down your throat so you can projectile vomit on someone's face," the young actress said, completely seriously. "It's so much pressure shooting in the back of your throat… onto the girl's face – it feels like you're drowning her. Your whole body is shaking. No one can prepare you with words on how that's going to feel."