Stunt legend and actress Zoe Bell kicks ass in CAMINO.
In CAMINO, Zoe Bell plays war photographer Avery Taggert who is sent out to the jungles of Columbia to document the work of mercenaries, led by a Spaniard known as El Guero. One day she sees El Guero selling drugs and killing a small child who saw the transaction. Avery must fight for her life when El Guero tells the other mercenaries that she was the one who killed the boy.
We spoke to Zoe Bell about transitioning from stunts to acting to producing, her interest in directing, and how CAMINO dove-tailed with THE HATEFUL EIGHT
SHOCK: How did you get involved with CAMINO?
BELL: I had worked with [director] Josh Waller on a movie called RAZE. We’ve known each other a few years. He called me and told me about the project and the role and I was instantly interested. There was something about the role of Avery that… I don’t know, it struck a chord with me. She’s not exactly an “everyday woman.” She’s intelligent, educated, and she puts herself into some pretty challenging situations. She would not only be the fly on the wall, she would be the one capturing the action. She has to rely on her strength and discover a side of herself. There is something about that character and that journey that was really interesting to me.
SHOCK: Your character, at least to start, is not quite the badass that we have come to expect from you. Was it difficult to pull back in that sense?
BELL: No, that was part of what was exciting about the challenge of playing Avery to begin with. She has a different way of moving, she has a different walk than me. It wasn’t easy but it felt quite natural.
SHOCK: Where did you guys shoot?
BELL: In the jungles of Hawaii. When you’ve got the cast and crew, the cost of flying them out to Columbia and putting them up was somewhat more costly than flying us all out to Hawaii.
SHOCK: You’ve been moving into a producing role recently. How has that transition been for you?
BELL: It’s been really great, actually. I’ve really enjoyed it. To clarify, my role as a producer has been much more on the creative side, rather than the logistical or financial side of things. Obviously, that is part of it, but part of the joy of filmmaking for me is the collaborative, problem-solving, storytelling side of everything. You get to do that when you are a creative producer because you are there from the ground up. I really enjoy it. I’ve also realized just how little I knew about pre-production and post-production. To be honest, those were not parts of filmmaking that I’ve really been exposed to. What I recognized was that it was very instinctual for me to be on set. I’ve been on sets since I was 17. It’s not even that I know a lot; it’s sort of my natural habitat. So I’m kind of accustomed to the problem solving and delegating that happens on set. I’ve really taken to it. I really enjoy it and I love watching something come from nothing. I also love being able to create work, instead of sitting back and waiting for this industry to validate me [laughs].
SHOCK: Do you have any interest in directing?
BELL: I do. I love that idea. That’s another massive shift, so I want to get comfortable in my acting skin before I take on another challenge like that. The producing thing has come quite naturally to me. I feel like for directing, I would like to be more technically-savvy. I want to have the language under my belt, and I also want it to be a project that is very personal to me, for my first one. I’m in no rush to get there. It’s definitely something that I would like to do, and now that I’ve admitted it out loud, I can start educating myself and prepping myself to do that. But it doesn’t need to happen in the next year or two. I’m happy to wait for the right project.
SHOCK: What was the most difficult part of the Camino shoot for you?
BELL: We had to break it into two shoots. I was committed to THE HATEFUL EIGHT already. When I signed on to CAMINO, we all knew that if THE HATEFUL EIGHT schedule changed, we were at the mercy of that. We were hoping that the movie gods would work around that, but in true movie fashion, they didn’t. So we got about a week into shooting CAMINO – I had been there for about two weeks, doing rehearsals – before I got called back for THE HATEFUL EIGHT. They were kind enough to give me a couple more days so we could wrap up what we were doing in Camino before I needed to be on set for THE HATEFUL EIGHT. I really appreciated that.
I went back to THE HATEFUL EIGHT, and it was about five months later that I went back to Hawaii to resume being Avery. Going from Avery to Six-Horse Judy wasn’t that big a deal, for some reason. I think because I had a couple weeks rehearsal before we started shooting on THE HATEFUL EIGHT. When I went back to Telluride, I was back on the coach, back with the horses for a week, so I was back in Six-Horse Judy’s world for a couple weeks before I was on film. I think because I had been Avery, I had immersed myself in her before, and put her very much away, I was unprepared for how much work I was going to have to do to bring her out of retirement. That was a learning experience for me.
SHOCK: Was there a reason it took so long to return to CAMINO? Was it just scheduling?
BELL: Yeah. I had to finish out THE HATEFUL EIGHT, but we weren’t just working around my schedule; we were working around the rest of the cast, and the key crew. We actually had to replace one of the characters. Another actor was originally Sebastian, and then by the time we were able to shoot, during my window between two other projects, he had gotten a job on a TV show, so we had to go back and re-shoot some stuff with Jason Canela, who now plays Sebastian. It was a big deal that the movie managed to stay afloat.
SHOCK: What other projects are you working on?
BELL: I have a couple of projects I am writing with a partner, that I would produce and star in. I’ve got a couple movie ideas. And I am producing and starring in with a dear friend and incredible writer, Dante Harper, that I am super excited about. It’s based on an experience where some friends and I went on holiday and we had this kind of crazy time, so this is based on that. I’ve also got a TV show idea. So I’ve got movies coming out, I’m brewing other productions. It’s good, it’s exciting. I don’t want to talk too much about it; that old Hollywood thing where I don’t want to jinx it.
CAMINO is in select theaters March 4th and on iTunes and VOD starting March 8th.