Interview with THE DAY Actress Ashley Bell

1) It seems to me at least that genre films have seen a remarkable shift in the past several years and the roles for women are moving from victims to strong leads and protagonists. Your recent roles seems to reflect this trend. Are you finding more scripts and roles that are more than one-dimensional characters? Do you think the opportunities for women in the film business are getting stronger?

I’ve been blessed with playing 3 dimensional characters. When Guy Danella (producer), Doug Aarniokoski (director), and Luke Passmore (writer) approached me with the script I jumped at the chance to play a badass who refuses to be a victim. I was attracted to Mary because she was both an emotionally and physically challenging character.
2) Could you tell me about your character in the film, Mary?
What interested me about Mary was that she was determined to be a survivor. I loved the fact that she has to hone all her instincts and physical abilities to live in this apocalyptic world. Even with all the horrors she has faced, she still maintains her humanity.
3) I was wondering what kind of research you did to prepare for your role in The Day? Have you ever shot a gun before?

Yes, I have been to the range on a number of occasions, and generally enjoy working with guns. My weapon of choice is a 9mm Berretta. But I’d never worked with a shotgun before, especially one that’s as tall as me. All the bruises I received from working on the film were like medals of honor. To acquire the look they wanted, I ate just enough to work out. Besides a lean vegetarian diet with some fish, I did a mix of cardio and weights twice a day, paired with ballet for flexibility. I privately worked with a stunt woman since I knew I had to do most of my own stunts.

4) The film was shot in Ottawa, and from the early stills looks to be late in the year, what difficulties did you face with the elements during production?
The first clue was when I sat down with Doug Aarniokoski and Guy Danella and they tried to talk me out of doing the film. They told me I’d have to loose weight, add muscle, learn how to shoot a shotgun, do your own stunts and survive in below freezing weather... I said sign me up! It was a challenge, but that’s what I love most about acting. There’s a moment, where I’m in a sub zero creek, in a wet dress, clutching a real shotgun, in below freezing weather with a wind chill and I thought: in what alternate universe would I ever get the chance to do this?
5) It's hard not to mention that you have worked with Midnight Madness alumni, Eli Roth, on The Last Exorcism. What did you learn about acting and film making from Eli?
Eli Roth is a master storyteller, and a genius of the horror and thriller genre. Just watching him work is a learning experience. I saw him edit a scene on The Last Exorcism and with just three tweaks he transformed a scary scene into something absolutely terrifying.

6) You have said in numerous interviews that you have wanted to work in a comedy, what's next for you? Are there any pratfalls in your future?
I want to do Bridesmaids 2! I’ve got my broken fingers crossed for a physical comedy where I play a beautiful debutant who falls in love in Paris, but not in the Seine. *ba dum ching* I recently finished a pilot called Grow, where I play drug dealer, and I’m attached to several projects that I’m sworn to secrecy about.

THE DAY screens:

Thur., Sept. 15th 11:59pm Ryerson
Fri., Sept. 16th 3:00pm Scotiabank Theatre 2
Sat., Sept. 17th 9:45pm Scotiabank Theatre 11

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