Discovery: Emma Bell
Published August 1, 2011
EMMA BELL. PHOTO COURTESY OF JOSH MADSON
Emma Bell loves anything weird—the supernatural, ghost stories, zombie comic books. So it’s no surprise that she plays the role of Amy on The Walking Dead and has also portrayed a slew of other creepy characters: from a concentration camp victim in Death in Love to her upcoming role as Molly Harper in the fifth installment of the Final Destination thriller series. The New Jersey native talked to us about the shock of success, her dream of being a chocolatier, and her own supernatural experiences.
HOMETOWN: I’m from Flemington, NJ.
ON BEING CAUTIOUS IN HOLLYWOOD: I’ve worked with some of the most inspiring and genuinely nice people. You know you hear those stories about people in this industry that can be hard to handle? I’ve met the greatest people to work with. That’s been one of the most important lessons that I’ve learned, is by being surrounded by these people and feeling inspired by them as actors and also as people. It’s nice because you do come at it from a, “Watch out for Hollywood. It’s full of people who are out to get you or competition.” But, to be able to experience the exact opposite has been really wonderful for me. That’s definitely been something that’s shaped my feeling about the industry and also my career. That’s been really important. I love every single project that I’ve worked on. I couldn’t really pinpoint one that’s stuck out.THE SURPRISE SUCCCESS OF THE WALKING DEAD: I was super surprised! I had read the comic books before I booked the show. When I booked the show, of course I went back and reread them. It was a really good series.
Before I booked the role, I went to New York City to visit a friend, and we were having lunch and she was like, “So what’s going on? Have you booked anything recently?” I was like, “I booked this little TV show called The Walking Dead.” She spit out her food and was like, “That is my favorite comicbook. Do you know how big this is going to be?” I was like, “No, Ireally don’t.” That was the first little sign thatpotentially there was going to be something great about what we weredoing. When we went to Comic-Con, we saw how many people wanted to get into our panel and we hadn’t aired anything yet.
DEDICATED FANS: The fans of the show are really loyal. Luckily, they were happy with our rendition of the books. We don’t stick exactly to the books. We have some creative leeway. The fans have been 100 percent behind us. It was really a little miniseries. There were only six episodes. Having such strong feelings for our show was just a blessing. It’s crazy.
THERE IS MORE BEHIND THE HORROR IN FINAL DESTINATION 5: I think with this movie, they’re trying to come back to what made the first movie such a hit. They focus a lot on character development—more so than in some of the others. That was really cool, not just to be in a huge thriller, blockbuster movie, but then to have some meat to play with, as far as my character goes. They’re also getting back to the supernatural quality that they had in the first two films, because the fans love that. Ultimately, when those characters start dying, you’re going to feel more for them. You’re going to feel deeper for them.
DRAWN TO DARKNESS: I love really, really deep, dark-as-Russia storylines. I love supernatural aspects. I grew up with ghost stories. I grew up in a really old town. The town I grew up in New Jersey was established before we were a nation, really. It’s 275 years old. You grow up in an old farmhouse and you just start thinking supernaturally.
ON WEIRD THINGS IN NJ: There’s the Jersey Devil. I remember my brother talking about abandoned shacks in the middle of the woods. We lived close to preserved lands. We would go in there and hike all the time. A few people lived in those woods.
DON’T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY: I’ve learned that I’m a bit of a control freak, and in this business you can’t control anything, really. I feel like we’re attracted to paths in life that force us to look at our weaknesses or deficiencies as human beings. Not to get all deep on you, but that’s how I feel. Maybe the reason I’m attracted to this business from the get-go is just because it’s so up in the air and you really have to let things go and just be. It will probably always be difficult for me.
IN ANOTHER LIFE: I think I’ve narrowed it down. If I weren’t acting, I would own my own chocolate shop in Paris. I would be a nice, overweight person that makes chocolate all day long. Under the Eiffel Tower would be great. Kind of like Chocolat, exactly. If there was some mysterious gypsy man who looks like Johnny Depp walking in my doors, that would be perfection.
FINAL DESTINATION 5 OPENS IN THEATERS NATIONWIDE AUGUST 12. THE SECOND SEASON OF THE WALKING DEAD PREMIERES OCTOBER 16 ON AMC.
Photo creditsPhotographer: Josh MadsonHairstylist: John RuggieroMakeup artist: MaiStylist: Kris ZeroJumpsuit: Alma Primero