Fans of the Evil Dead franchise are in for a treat this Halloween with the premiere of Ash VS. Evil Dead on Starz. In this interview with Jill Marie Jones (Amanda Fisher) we get to learn about her as a person, and what she went through to prepare for her role.
Jill Marie Jones never knew what art was until her mother encouraged her to express herself through the written word. “I saw that this was going to be my path, and I feel like my life was already written. It’s such a beautiful voice when you can touch people through words. I love beautiful writing and putting that penmanship to life, and that’s what I am in acting for. I’m in it for the work I am not in it for the fame,” said Jones.
Looking back at her life, Jones said she always migrated toward art no matter what she was involved in.
While she has heard of the Evil Dead before getting cast on the show, Jones stated that she got into horror later in life. She grew up on Exorcist, Halloween, Friday The 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street.“I have never seen the actual Evil Dead movies, but I was so happy to work with Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell (Ash).”
“It’s scary when you walk into something that is so iconic because I want the fans to be proud of this new person joining the team, and they’ve embraced me in such a beautiful way. Sam, Bruce, and all the producers have been so welcoming. And I think too what it made it less scary is that I wasn’t reprising a role, so they just allowed me to find her [Amanda} and who she is. I feel like a very lucky girl,” she said.
Comparing her previous roles she played in the past, Jones explained how Amanda Fisher is different from Cynthia Irving- a character she played on Sleepy Hollow.
“A lot of people don’t know that my mom (who is now retired) was a criminal investigator for years and it was one of the many reasons why I was attracted to this particular project. There is a lot in Amanda that I saw growing up with my mom. My mom showed me what a woman can be. She is not Amanda but I saw elements of my mom within that character. Cynthia Irving was an attorney, a wife, a mother and loved her family.”
Jones then started to give some insight as to who Amanda Fisher is and what motivates her. “Amanda is going after Ash vigilante style, and is a badass though she fights for good. She has a routine stop and something happens that is out of this world causing her journey to change, and it has Ash’s name all over it, so she gets on his trail.”
Ash VS. Evil Dead is full of action and Jones shared how she approached those scenes. “I have a boxing background for workout purposes, but I didn’t know that Amanda was going to be fighting. I did know that she had a gun so I went for gun training before we shot in New Zealand. I came into the fighting stuff with a little bit of an advantage because of the boxing, but the challenging part is when you are trying to do a job you want it to be believable, and you want the fans that have been waiting for 30 years and I am entering into something that’s iconic. I want to do those fans proud.”
Jones has never seen a show quite like this on television and mentioned that on one hand it can be funny, but on the other it can be really scary. “I mean the horror is really scary, there is a lot of blood, and we do this in a 30 minute time frame. Starz has been so incredibly kind and gave them full range to just fly and you don’t get that on a lot of networks. Fans will understand what I am talking about once they watch the show, but I hope the world falls in love with it like I have,” she said.
To mentally prepare for the role as Amanda Fisher Jones said that she has the same process for every project. “ Before I read the first word on the script, I have already done so much back research on who I think that woman is, and sometimes it’s not written. I ask questions like: is she married, is she single, was she adopted? Does she have a sibling? Does she have a child? I always start a project that way, and hopefully I have something to go forward with the great writing, producers and direction- from there we mold it.”
In the spirit of Halloween Jones shared her thoughts about what she loves about the holiday.
“I love Halloween! I feel like Halloween and your birthday are excuses to go outside and just be naked and look like whatever sexy thing you want to look like, but I love the kids too. A friend of mine does a pumpkin carving competition every year and we all put in money. If the best pumpkin wins, all the money goes to that particular charity of the person who won. I think people look at Halloween as some evil day- I don’t look at it that way, I look at it as a day of wonder, a day of where we can dress up, and it’s a very creative day as you choose your costume.”