Actions

An interview with Zoe Bell

From The Quentin Tarantino Archives

Part of our ongoing Grind House coverage, check out:

A Conversation with Zoe Bell

By Sebastian Haselbeck, March 26, Four Seasons Hotel, Beverly Hills, CA.

This transcript has been edited for clarity and space constraints. Pieces might have been omitted from the actual conversation, and the sentences altered for readability.

  • Zoe Bell: Hi
  • Sebastian (tarantino.info): How's it going so far?
  • Zoe: Good. Quite well
Deathproofstill18.jpg
  • Sebastian (sees The Grindhouse Book for the first time on her couch): Oh my
  • Zoe: Have you seen it?
  • Sebastian: I haven't seen it yet (Zoe reaches him the book) that's awesome. Have you read it all the way through yet?
  • Zoe: No, I flicked through it last night. It's somebody else's, I haven't gotten mine
  • Sebastian: Awesome, I'm waiting for that. So how was your experience, all in all, having worked with Quentin before on Kill Bill. You've done the stunt work, and now you're playing yourself, how is that?
  • Zoe: It was cool, I mean I really enjoyed it, it was... I love working with Quentin, love working with Quentin, as a stuntwoman, loved working with him, again, in any capacity... playing myself was.... I mean, I've never acted before so I don't have anything to compare to, it's not like "well the last time when I played a bad guy, uh.." because I haven't, you know what I mean? But I guess it made it a little less daunting in my head this plain character, so not far fetched
  • Sebastian: Did you just try to be yourself or did you try to come up with things?
  • Zoe: You know, it was sort of I let the dialogue inside out,and then I would run the lines heaps with the girls, and things like, it's not just like the way that you say it, but it would be like things obvious to most actors but this is all new stuff to me, but, there'd be times where I'm really like "I don't understand why I'm saying that", and then Tracy might be like "well, what if you felt this way then...." oh yeah if I felt that way I would definitely respond like that. So then it was just a matter of figuring out what was going on in the scene, and then responding to that. I don't know if that sounds too basic, but that was sort of what I ended up doing. And if Quentin didn't like it or loved it and wanted it bigger then he could just tell me that. But I had a lot of fun of having the power and the freedom of having both sides of the character. That just opened so many doors for us, for the whole creative team, the stunt team, Quentin, myself, the whole lot, to be able to shot however looks best, as opposed to however to hide the stunt double's face. however we can get the actresses face in there, you can shoot however you want it, without fear of it being inauthentic, 'coz it's me the whole time. brilliant, it was really exciting
  • Sebastian: Have you seen the movie yet?
  • Zoe: No, tomorrow night.
  • Sebastian: The audience loved the stunt sequences and moments like you yelling "I'm okay!"
  • Zoe: (Laughs)
  • Sebastian: Ecstatic
  • Zoe: Oh good
  • Sebastian: And I've seen Double Dare a few months ago, and that was amazing, to see all the stuff that goes into it, all the work
  • Zoe: Yeah and I think Double Dare played a huge part in Quentin ending up hiring me
  • Sebastian: Yeah, there's a bunch of interviews on there, and Quentin just loves your work.
  • Zoe: Right
  • Sebastian: You could see that he wanted to put you in more stuff
  • Zoe: Yeah and I think seeing me in Double Dare, that's where he got the idea of me as a character, sort of like me on screen being the person that I am, he was like I wanna put that in my movie. It was definitely Double Dare that did that.
  • Sebastian: Do you prefer doing fight sequences, and jumping around, to car stunts?
Deathproofstill6.jpg
  • Zoe: It's so hard to say. I like dealing with heights, and I like dealing with speeds, but I also like the precision fight working, the challenge of that, and... it's hard to say a favorite, it's also dependent on the people you're working with, the conditions, there's so much that goes into it that changes each experience, and I'm not aware of having a particular favorite, I specialize more in fight stuff and acrobatics, and wire-work, that's what I've done most of, so that's where I'm comfortable and pretty relaxed with. So I love that, but I also love trying new stuff. I mean it was the first time I've done something like this with cars, and I had a blast, you know.
  • Sebastian: I've been hanging out with some Kiwis and Aussies these last couple weeks, so it's particularly great to talk to you right now and enjoy the accent and feeling really comfortable with that.
  • Zoe: Yay!!
  • Sebastian: How do you get along here, do people always ask you where you're from, do they mix you up with Australians?
  • Zoe: Yeah, all the time. I get asked if I'm Australian, or English or South African. Aw whatever, as long as once I've corrected them they remember it, then that's fine. It doesn't really bother me that much but I think, to be honest with you, Kiwis have it easy here, I mean it's hard to be a foreigner here, because LA can be a hard place, when you don't know anyone, it can be really lonely and difficult, but there's something about the accent that makes me a little bit memorable, you know people are like "ah you're that chick that talks funny" . 'Tokes' funny vs 'talks' funny, you know, haha, exactly. So there's that, there's also the fact that I think Kiwis are quite well received all around the world, so it's not like I have an accent are people are "ah you're from there", you know, people are more like "ah New Zealand, I've heard that place is great". So I instantly have some novelty, that's got nothing actually to do with me, but superficially I think I'm received well for being New Zealander, as opposed to just a foreigner.
  • Sebastian: And New Zealand is kind of a film place now, The Lord of the Rings and all that. Would you like to go back and work there?
  • Zoe: Yes I would love to work in New Zealand, I would love to live in New Zealand.
  • Sebastian: Do you live here now?
  • Zoe: Yes I live in Venice.
  • Sebastian: Do you feel, from your experience of hanging out on movie sets, did you incorporate that with hanging out with Rosario and the gang? Is that something you could relate to as in regards to the conversations in the film?
  • Zoe: Yeah I mean Quentin writes amazingly and he obviously listens to many a female conversation because he has it quite down. There was a lot of that that was taken straight from experiences that I was a part of, the conversation that Abernathy has when she's talking about me nearly killing her by getting her into the ditch, that was a story about, that was basically Quentin telling a story about me and him where I nearly got him in a ditch, when we were shooting Kill Bill in China. There's lots of stories that are all, they're all relateable to me. And in particular with the girls I was working with, Rosario, Tracy and Mary, we all rehearsed so many times together and we worked the lines to often and hung out together so much that there was a real sense of, the chemistry is really genuine. And those girls were so amazing to me, Rosario and Tracy in particular, I spent a lot of time with those two, and with their support, Rosario was just vocally so supportive of me, and excited for me, as is Tracy, and I spent hours training with Tracy, and Mary, and the whole team, we were just all so excited for each other, there's a genuine sort of respect and love that was really comfortable and I think, I honestly believe, Quentin thought of that when we was casting, more than just have a look at how you treat the dialogue, there's sort of a team that he built there.
  • Sebastian: Do you have a favorite moment?
  • Zoe: No, that's impossible, I'm bad with favorite question, I hate favorites. I mean I gotta say, I love the chase sequence, and the scene where we were on the table and it was one continuous shot. That was pretty exciting and satisfying for me as an amateur actor or a newcomer I should say. making fun of poor little Lee... yeah that was very satisfying
  • Sebastian: She was kind of balancing the toughness with some cuteness
  • Zoe: Yeah yeah she was brilliant
  • Sebastian: I liked that scene where you try to convince Tracy's character into doing the stunt, that was great
  • Zoe: Yeah I look forward to seeing that. That was one of the days I felt nervous actually, there were like two days in the whole shoot that I was nervous...
  • Sebastian: I'm wondering how does he write that? Where does he come up with that?
  • Zoe: No idea. He hangs out in women's locker rooms apparently, with a notepad.... I'm excited to see it!
  • Sebastian: I was blown away and everyone liked it, you're always on the edge, asking what's next, what's next?
  • Zoe: It is great the crowd responds that way, coz that's important.
  • Sebastian: And it's just non stop action, it's only over when it's over.... well...
  • Zoe: Nice to meet you
  • Sebastian: It was a pleasure meeting you. Thank you very much, enjoy the movie!