JustJared: Check out our exclusive interview withAshley Greene on the Los Angeles set of her upcoming zombie comedyBurying the Ex!
The 26-year-old actress sat down with JJ in her makeup trailer to discuss her character Evelyn, what it is like to work with co-star Anton Yelchin, doing her own stunts for the film, and her fun Christmas plans!
“We start talking over the phone before we got to set, because the time-frame we had before we began the movie was very short. Just from our general banter, I knew we’d get along. Because his sense of humor and mine are similar. So I was pretty optimistic. He’s a pro, and he’s such a sweetheart! I hurt my hand and he gave me a cold Coke to hold until the icepack arrived. He’s really cool and really fun to work with,” Ashleyshared about building up the chemistry between her character and Anton‘s character Max.
Just Jared: How’s filming going so far? You’ve been shooting for a couple weeks now!
Ashley Greene: This is our last week, which is really weird. We shot it really fast! We cover so material everyday, the most I’ve ever experienced but it’s fun! This week has been the most fun, as far as acting goes. It’s when I get to be a full-on zombie, it’s pretty much the end stages of [my character] coming unraveled. There’s a lot of extreme highs and extreme lows. We’re doing a battle this week! We did some stunts last Friday. So now we’re getting into very physical acting and stunt work. It’s been so much fun, it’s just very bizarre that it’s almost over.
JJ: How long does it take to apply your make up every day, it gets more intense?
AG: It does, yes. I’m scheduled to start about two hours before everyone else comes in. We start with Gary, the prosthetics end of it first. He puts on the base, paint, and white powder. Then, when he’s about 75% done, I go over to hair and makeup. This is actually the first day they’re wigging me. They decided that for all of the crazy zombie hair, instead of putting my hair through all that hell, they are going to use a wig. So after that, the makeup artists do their little tweaks, then I come back to Gary and he finishes the body work and we put in the contacts and the teeth. It’s quite a process but it’s worth it. I’ve never seen zombie makeup that looks this cool! It’s the most realistic I’ve ever seen, especially the beginning stages.
JJ: When you first saw yourself in the zombie makeup, what went through your head?
AG: “This is cool! I love my job!” (laughs) I was just having a conversation with my mother, talking about all the things that I had done in the past two and a half days. I worked on this, and I also had to do some voiceover work and ADR, so three separate projects. They’re all vastly different, and I had to do the craziest things for each of them! So I was just saying to her how cool it is, what I get to do, and getting to experience all these different things that I would never ever get to experience. I’ve taken a lot of pictures at every stage, to show my mom, because it’s very cool to see your hair and makeup grow with you and your character. A lot of the times you don’t get to see the progression so clearly, so it’s really cool to see what they do.
JJ: You mentioned doing your own stunts, how’s that been? We saw you slam your hand against a table! Have you had any injuries?
AG: I haven’t had any real injuries. On Friday, we did a scene where I slip and break my neck, essentially, and I did that myself. That was really fun, a little intimidating at first, but I was super excited about it. I knew I was going to be super sore this weekend, because I’ve never used those muscles before. I did a lot of throwing people around last week. I probably hurt myself doing the stuff today, the easy stuff, like slamming your hand onto a table. When you’re in the moment, you don’t think about the fact that doing it over and over is going to hurt your hands. But it’s believable and that’s what they want!
JJ: You and Anton have a lot of scenes together, how did you build your chemistry?
AG: We started talking on the phone before we got to set, because the timeframe we had before we began the movie was very short. Just from our general banter, I knew we’d get along. His sense of humor and mine are similar. He’s a pro, and he’s such a sweetheart! I hurt my hand and he gave me a cold Coke to hold until the icepack arrived. He’s really cool and really fun to work with.
JJ: How would you describe him in one word?
JJ: How would you describe your character?
AG: My character’s name is Evelyn and she is kind of an overbearing and controlling girlfriend. She has good intentions, but they’re not very well received. She becomes too passionate about what she thinks is right and tends to overlook the qualities that other people have, which are not like hers. She thinks everyone should be like her. She wants to save the world and make it green, she’s all about positive energy, and giving back. But I think her downfall is she’s so desperate to have this idea of love in her relationship that she doesn’t see that her and Max aren’t well suited for each other. That’s kind of what makes the relationship crumble. Then she comes back as a zombie, and she is kind of Evelyn x10. When she’s happy she’s extremely happy, when she’s sad she bawls, when she’s mad, she breaks floors and tables. She’s a complex character, that one! (laughs)
JJ: If you had any advice to give Evelyn, what would you tell her?
AG: Calm down! Just calm down, or let it go! (laughs) No, I think in all honestly, I’d probably tell her to sit back and really think about what she loves about herself and what she loves about Max, and figure out if she’s really right for him. Because I think that’s really what the problem is, they’re just not right for each other and she just won’t let it go. I think a lot of girls do that because they’re afraid of being alone. But it’s much better being alone than being in a relationship that just doesn’t work.
JJ: That’s very true! So we saw some pictures of you playing dead in a scene. Obviously you have to be very still for that. What kind of techniques are you using?
AG: Well, I was a swimmer, so I have pretty good lung capacity. You take a deep breath before, but if you’re going to be there for a little bit you take shallow breaths. Depending on if they’re not super close and it’s a wide shot, generally they won’t be able to see it.
JJ: What’s your favorite scene that you’ve shot so far?
AG: There’s a scene where Evelyn comes back, it’s her first night and Max wakes up thinking it was a nightmare, and it wasn’t. She’s very child-like, so she’s bouncing around and jumping all over the place. It was the first time I really acted a full scene as zombie-Evelyn as well, so that was fun. She does have such extremes that sometimes she is like a child. It was a lot of trying different things and a lot of laughing.
JJ: Sounds like a lot of fun. What drew you to the project?
AG: I read the script and I like it a lot more than I thought I was going to. You know, you hear “Zombie, Horror, Comedy” and you don’t really know what you’re going to get, a lot of people don’t really hit the mark. But I found myself laughing out loud to myself. That’s one of my favorite things, laughing out loud by myself, watching a movie or reading a book or a script. I found myself giggling a lot! It’s just funny and outrageous, but you can relate to it in some way.
Again, Evelyn loses her filter halfway through, so the things that come out of her mouth – I feel like we all have friends like that, and that’s what she reminds me of. Also, [director] Joe Dante is so well respected. I love Gremlins just like everyone else did, and I feel like if anyone was meant to do this film it’s him. There’s that and also when I asked who they were looking at for the leading man, they mentioned Anton and I think he’s an interesting, talented actor and I would have loved to work with him. Everything just kind of fell into place, and now we’re almost done!
JJ: So what makes this film different from the other horror/comedy films that have come out recently?
AG: Honestly, a lot of it has to do with Joe and how he’s capturing things. The way he directs is so simple and there’s no frills or ego, he just knows what he’s doing and what he wants to accomplish. We as actors have a large amount of trust in him, and I think his vision is really going to come to life. He understands how to obtain that comedic core that is very hard to do. I’ve never seen anything like this before, it’s different than every other zombie film. Even with hair and makeup, I feel like there’s nothing that’s overkill with this film and I think that’s going to be refreshing. It’s silly and it’s going to be a lot of fun.
JJ: What’s the funniest thing that happened off set?
AG: When it’s me, Anton, and both sets of hair and makeup people in our trailers, we just get a little loopy. We’re on the third week, so things come out of our mouth that I probably shouldn’t even mention because it’s just stupid. We’re all 10 year old boys telling burp and fart jokes, basically. (laughs) There’s a sense of family and camaraderie amongst us, which is nice to have when you have to be here for awhile.
JJ: What’s your favorite set prop?
AG: You know, I just signed my tombstone, my character’s tombstone. I think that’s my favorite. We also did a cast of my face and we made a dummy, which is really creepy and weird because it looks just like me. I mean, it’s my face. So that’s another one of the coolest things I’ve seen. But no one else will ever get to see it!
JJ: Aw, man! So when you’re in your trailer relaxing, how do you like to occupy your time?
AG: We actually don’t have that much down time, which makes sense on this film, given the amount we have to shoot. But generally, reading other material, or now Christmas shopping, I’m trying to get that out of the way whenever I can. Most sets I’m on, if I have a lot of down time, I usually bring a book or a film. Sometimes when you do have a lot of down time it can be frustrating, so you bring something to make you feel like you’re being productive.
JJ: You just mentioned Christmas, do you have any fun plans that you can share with us?
AG: I’m going to be traveling a bit, I might go to New York. I actually kind of used to live in New York, I split time there a lot. So I’m going to go back there and spend some time with friends for a few days and see the snow and all that, then I’m going to head to Florida and see my family. My parents just did some updates to their home so they’re excited to have everyone over. I’m very excited. My Memaw (grandmother) actually just turned 80 and I missed her birthday, so I’m really excited to see her.