Dana DeLorenzo is a bloody mess. Quite literally. The 35-year-old actress portrays spitfire Kelly Maxwell on the Ash vs Evil Dead TV series, and when SYFY WIRE visited the New Zealand set last June, DeLorenzo was drenched in sticky red corn syrup. Or, in Hollywood-speak, fake blood. How Kelly arrived at her current crimson state remains a mystery.
During a brief sit-down with SYFY WIRE, DeLorenzo chatted about Kelly's evolution from sidekick to leader, her choice of weapons, and mentoring Ash's daughter.
Let's jump into this. Why are you blood-soaked at the moment?
It's crazy, military, End of Days, World War Z. This season, Kelly goes through so many transformations and shocking twists and turns that when she's back, she's got some anger. She takes this mass-military gun and some AIR15 and pummels a Deadite that is already down. It's reminiscent of the diner scene, with the deli slicer. The guy is down. I was cartoony. Kelly's eyes were bulging out of her head. This blood on her is the Deadite blood of a soldier that is down.
Does that mean you are channeling your inner Ripley for gun-blazing Kelly?
My inner Ripley! I tried. I'm not a huge fan of guns. The automatics terrify me. What I really love are the unconventional weapons that are so Evil Dead. My favorite weapon is a bong in Episode 4 or 5. I also got to use a very cool tactical shotgun. I did like the little Glock Kelly had in Season 2. I never played with guns, but that was fun, because it's that sound when you are loading.
In Season 1, Kelly gets thrown into this supernatural chaos. She was a bit of a sidekick. In Season 2, Kelly came out of her shell. Ruby even noted Kelly could emerge as a leader and "forge your path." What is her evolution this year?
You gave me goosebumps. That is brilliant on you for picking that up. That's really her journey for Season 3. The Ruby that grew a conscious and teamed up with Kelly – Kelly basically says, "I could forge my own path if I wanted to, but Ash and Pablo are my family. I'm going to be loyal to them."
However, at the start of Season 3, Kelly has always marched to the beat of her own drum, but she marched herself right out of Elk Grove and into Detroit. We see her being this very aggressive bouncer at this bar. But she is a warrior without a war. There's one thing that has been fueling Kelly this whole time, which is revenge. Getting the due that she deserves, not only for what has happened to her but her family, she's never really gotten it. She always follows along with what Ash and Pablo want, but there comes a point where she's like, "Can someone listen to me? Are we going to sit here twiddling our thumbs while you guys are running your hardware store or Pablo does fish and chips?"
To sum things up, Kelly does gets more of that bravado to be able to say, "Look. I'm not going to wait around." But she's going after it for the wrong reasons. She is looking for the next fight. That's why she has been creating ones when Evil is taking a break. She knows Evil is going to come back no matter what, so she's keeping her wheels oiled. She shows up with this guy, Dalton, who is a kindred spirit in a way and comes from the mythology of the Knights of Sumeria. That ties in so much more of the Evil Dead franchise.
But what we discover this season is Kelly has a moment where she can decide to go back and report to Ash or follow her gut instinct. Kelly forges that path because she seizes the opportunity to get the revenge she so badly needs. Whether or not she gets revenge, what I can say is she goes through a major transformation. Something happens in that moment. She realizes it was never really about revenge, it was actually about family. It was about staying and fighting Evil by Ash and Pablo's side. That's what has given her a purpose. That is what makes her tick. In the end, does she learn a little too late? Does she get her revenge? It's irrelevant, because the transformation that happens after that sets off this chain reaction of so many shocking twists and turns, not just for Kelly, but for the season.
That family dynamic expands this year with the introduction of Ash's daughter, Brandy. In what way does Kelly take Brandy under her wing and show her the ropes of fighting demons?
The writers were so smart. They had set up that Kelly was the daughter Ash never had. All of a sudden, Kelly has been gone for two months. She comes back and it's "Oh my God. She has a daughter." At first, Kelly feels like she has been replaced. There's also this realization that Brandy is young and 18 years old and has an attitude, so Kelly looks at her as "Great, one more obstacle. One more hurdle we have to take care of and babysit."
But it happens very quickly where Kelly sees a lot of herself in Brandy. Brandy lost her mom the same way as Kelly did. Evil ruined her life. Brandy got dragged into it the same way Kelly did. When she realizes how similar they are, in spite of herself, Kelly feels the need to take Brandy under her wing and say, "Look. This is how it's going to be. You are a strong chick. You are strong-minded. You are going to be able to hold your own, and I'm going to show you how to do it, the same way I learned from your father."
Kelly is the one who really convinces Brandy, "Yes, your father might have ruined your life, or, so you think. And, yes, he's kind of a dummy. But, yes, your father is going to save the world from Evil." It's the encouragement that Brandy needs to get on board and not fall for Ruby's antics. Evil Ruby is back, trying to get to Brandy. Kelly is like, "No, I know you relate to me. I'm here to help you." They form this beautiful relationship. It goes back to family. You have the family that you are bound to in blood. In this case, it's the family bound by bloodshed.