New Zealand-born Zoë Bell got her start in the film industry as a stunt performer. She doubled for Lucy Lawless on the hit series Xena: Warrior Princess and Uma Thurman in Quentin Tarentino’s epic Kill Bill. She has since worked on many films as both an actress and stunt performer. Her latest film, Camino, takes her to the jungles of Colombia as she plays a photojournalist who is hunted down after witnessing a heinous crime by the missionary leader she is asked to observe.
Zoë took the time out of her busy schedule to talk about the new film, which comes in a limited theatrical release on Friday, March 4 followed by a VOD and iTunes release on March 8 from XLrator Media.
Zoë, thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk about Camino.
Thank you so much. I am excited to talk about Camino.
First off, I got to see the film last night and really enjoyed it (see my review here). What attracted you to take the lead role in the film?
Well, let’s see. Basically, Josh (Waller, the film’s producer/director) described the story to me as well as the central character of Avery and I was instantly attracted to take the role.
How would you describe your character of Avery in the film?
Avery’s pretty much the accidental hero in the film. She’s the last one expected to do any action. She’s a very quiet, intelligent woman and that appealed to me. Yet she deals with demons from her past. She seems complex but somewhat very relatable. She’s not a superhero from Marvel, which by the way I would love to play that character (laughs). She’s an everyday woman who finds herself in a situation where she has to call to herself.
You and Josh worked together on the brutal fight film Raze. What was it like working with him on this film?
Josh is really great. He’s easygoing and communicative. We had a great, comfortable, collaborative working relationship. It comes from deep within the heart of Raze, where the film was harrowing, Sabrina’s (Zoë’s character in Raze) journey was harrowing, and the schedule and lack of budget was harrowing. That can make or break any kind of relationship, but when we moved on to this film, it became a pleasurable experience, because Raze is a pretty dark film.
Definitely, Raze is a very dark film.
Exactly (laughs), but here we came up with something more commercially viable and you can even say, “Oh, my mum can actually watch this film”.
Your co-star Nacho Vigalondo (above), is a filmmaker in his own right. How did he come onboard to play the film’s villain and what was it like working with him?
That was through Josh and Dan (Noah, the film’s screenwriter and producer) and those guys and they worked with Nacho on a film and he’s a regular with those guys so I’m not quite sure how he got the role, but Josh said that this guy would make a very interesting bad guy. Nacho is one of my favorites to work with because in real life, he combines being intellectually clever and he is absolutely funny. He’s fundamentally caring.
He’s really caring and passionate about things and people that he really cares about. He’s more of a passionate feminist than I am and it’s refreshing to see that a man being feminist. He does it with such grace and humor, and as a performer, I loved sharing the screen with him. It was such fun and easy to watch and bounce off of him and it’s because Avery is there to watch and if she has judgment, she keeps it to herself. I totally got to do that with Nacho.
As a stunt performer, you’ve had your fair share of action. What was it like shooting the action scenes on the film?
It was great, I loved it. With these films, you sometimes wish you can have more time and more money to really do what you wanted to do. You feel like you want to show 100 percent of what could have been, but we were limited to 75 percent of what I would have loved to put into it. Working with Tenoch (Huerta, who plays Alejo in the film) was amazing. He brought everything to the fight and he emotionally was committed to the fight, which to me is the most important thing from an actor. When you are emotionally invested in the fight, we can work around the technical stuff. But we need to feel you feeling the fight and that’s what the audience is ultimately going to respond to. And he is physically coordinated so we weren’t worried about that part.
And the stunt guys who were working with me were awesome and collaborative and relaxed. Collaborative is my favorite word to use on a film. I think collaboration is very important. Power rank is equally important because at the end of the day, one voice has final say, but collaboration is very necessary. In working with Josh and those guys, they trusted me enough to get my opinion and all egos aside, we got other people’s opinions and that’s very important. It was a high-end fight because Avery herself is terrified and it’s a very different energy to the fight and she would rather fight for her life than relatively be killing people.
Do you have any messages for the fans of your films and what upcoming projects do you have?
Wow, that’s quite on the spot (laughs). I would like to say Thank You guys so much. I didn’t know I have a lot of fans but they are the coolest fans. I hope you guys get to check out some of the recent work I’ve done. I’d say between this and The Hateful Eight (Quentin Tarentino’s latest, where Zoë plays Six-Horse Judy), which is definitely a proud moment. I said, “Wow, I get to play cute! So cute and that’s awesome!”
Keep an eye out for a couple of more projects, which I will be working as a producer or starring in. I can’t say much more at this point, but keep up the good work!
Once again Zoë, thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk about Camino and I hope the fans will enjoy the film as much as I did.
Thank you so much and I hope the fans will enjoy the film.
A big Thank You goes out to Camelia Adibi of Katrina Wan PR for making this interview possible and again, Thank You to Zoë Bell for taking the time to talk about Camino. The film will come to limited theaters this Friday, March 4 followed by a VOD and iTunes release on Tuesday, March 8 from XLrator Media.