Five Favorite Films with Zoe Bell
The Angel of Death star chats with RT about Quentin Tarantino and her transition from stuntwoman to actress
Native New Zealander Zoe Bell spent years as an accomplished stunt double for Lucy Lawless of Xena: Warrior Princess before doubling for Uma Thurman on Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill films. After establishing a rapport with the auteur, Tarantino opened the doors to her acting career by casting her as one of the leads in Death Proof, his segment of 2007's joint project with Robert Rodriguez, Grindhouse. With roles in this year's upcoming films Gamer and Whip It!, Bell was on hand at Comic-Con to promote her actioner Angel of Death, out on DVD this week, and we were able to sit down with her for a lengthy chat. Read on to discover the Kiwi's Five Favorite Films, what it was like working with Quentin Tarantino, and what it's like to transition from stunt work to acting.
I'll give it a shot. "Favorites" questions are my least liked questions because I've never been any good at favorites. But I'll give it a shot. I'll probably disappoint every fan out there. The ones that stick out as being my favorites, most of them are from when I was young, because movies just meant something different to me when I was a kid than what they mean to me now. They still mean a lot to me, but also it's, once you start working in the film business, your appreciation shifts.
The Neverending Story, without a doubt. I loved that movie. I thought the girl in that was hot. I thought she was so cute. I was like, "I want to be her when I grow up." Wear a necklace on my forehead and say, "Call my name, Sebastian. Call my name!" I remember, I was living on an island; we didn't have a movie theater, we just had a town hall. Every now and then they would drop a big sheet and a projection thing. We'd sit on wooden chairs. So, The Neverending Story.
And Labyrinth. Labyrinth was sort of the same... Loved Labyrinth. I watched it again recently and had a total adult crush on David Bowie. I used to just think he was cool, and now I'm like, "Oh my God, he's so hot in that movie." So 80s and glam rock. And I think both of those movies are sort of, really so fancy, but there was something... I don't know. To me, I didn't feel like I was suspending reality. It just was like, "That's the world this movie exists in, and I want to be in it," you know what I mean? I just love both of those movies.
I know everyone's expecting me to list off all these action movies, but Stand By Me. There's something about the relationships and the performances in that movie that I found really inspirational. And this is before I was even considering being an actor. I just found it to be one of the more true, real, honest sort of movies that really had an effect on me. I watched it a week ago and got goose bumps. Especially with the whole River Phoenix thing and how he disappears at the end. How genius is he in the movie? There's something about a movie like that that can be so effective with no gimmicks.
I've got two more to go, and the ones that popped into my head are the Lethal Weapon movies! I love the Lethal Weapon movies. I know I shouldn't claim them all together but the combination of humor and action and the relationship between Glover and Gibson is just... That's the kind of stuff that I watched and was like, "I want to do that!" It never occurred to me that that meant acting. Those are the kind of movies that I could watch over and over and over and know every line and it not be a problem that I know every line; I still enjoy the effect it has on me, you know what I mean?
Next, Bell talks about getting to know Quentin Tarantino and what being an actor means to her.
This is going to sound ridiculous because it's going to sound like I'm doing a bunch of ass-licking but Pulp Fiction. And I shouldn't hesitate, because it's good cinema, but... I remember watching Pulp Fiction -- whatever age I was, teenage years somewhere -- and really struck at the cleverness of it and loving that you can have something as violent, but as humorous and as... I could feel -- you know, because I didn't know him as a person at that point; he was just the director -- but I could feel his brain working in the conversations in his head, and his opinions about stuff. The conversations that were like, "I've had conversations like that about why you call it a quarter pounder or a royale with cheese." It was so clever and reachable by me. And I wasn't a film buff, I wasn't sort of like a fan about any of that stuff. It just really spoke to me, it was so clever. Then I went back and watched Reservoir Dogs. I think I'd seen it before but I went back and watched it again. But yes, Pulp Fiction was definitely... Actually, it's cool that I get to say that; I'm happy to be able to say that.