Final Destination is back again this summer, and with it comes a lineup of fresh new faces that includes Emma Bell, a talent that has proven just how resourceful she can be in a demanding role.
by Gina Ponce Photography by Josh Madson Styling by Kris Zero
Hair by John Ruggiero Makeup by Mai
As a New Jersey native, Emma Bell began her drama-filled career far away from the Hollywood Walk of Fame. But it didn’t take long before she moved across the country to the new city that would fulfill her dreams and found her niche in several horror/thriller type movies and TV shows. The 24-year-old is best known for her characters in the 2010 film Frozen and AMC’s hit series The Walking Dead – the former in which she successfully cheats death, the latter where she isn’t as lucky. Returning to the big screen, Bell has conquered the lead female role and is once again trying to get out of a life-or-death situation in Final Destination 5. Although her fate has already been decided in the franchise’s newest addition, the young actress is just starting out on a promising journey that looks to have many years of life left in it.
YRB: Was acting the path you always saw yourself going down?
Emma: It wasn’t necessarily something I wanted to pursue. Since I was a little girl I was always in love with movies, especially fairytale movies –The Wizard of Oz or The Princess Bride or Edward Scissorhands – and I always thought I wanted to be those girls, but I had no idea that that wasn’t real life. It wasn’t that I wanted to be in those movies, I just wanted to live those lives. And then when I was about 12 my mother had a show in New York City, she was a cabaret singer for a while, and she put me in her show as a singer and that hooked me to performing and then it kind of evolved from there.
YRB: Being that you’re originally from the East Coast, how would you compare the acting scene there to that of Hollywood?
Emma: It is pretty different. I loved living in New York; it’s such a special city. There’s much less competition in N.Y., which is kind of cool because I was able to sort of climb the ladder there and they didn’t have quite as many blonde, blue-eyed, white girls. Then I came to L.A. and it seems that’s all there really is here. But I think N.Y. is maybe a smaller version of L.A.; I think the main difference between N.Y. and L.A. is just more the attitude of people in N.Y. versus L.A., which isn’t necessarily better or worse, it’s just different.
YRB: So far in your career you’ve been linked to the horror/thriller genre. Are you a real fan?
Emma: Yeah, I am. Listen, horror and thriller have been so good to me I cannot complain. I’ve had a great time. The fans of that genre are amazing; they’re really so true and they stick by you and they eat up everything in that world. But I would, of course, love to branch out of horror/thriller; I’ve always wanted to do period pieces or, like I said, I’d love to be Dorothy. I’d love to do something that’s kind of a magical character in some way.
YRB: How did you feel about the way things ended with your character in The Walking Dead?
Emma: Well, from a business level I totally understand why they had to get rid of me. It made a lot of sense, it happens in the comic books. It was such a great, beautiful arc to the character and I like to think that I was sort of the big death in the whole first season. But from an artistic level, I’m sad because I love that show and I’m friends with everybody. Right now they’re shooting the second season and I just wish I could be on set, maybe as like a little fly or something. What’s really great about it is that a lot of people who are fans of the show will come up to me and say, ‘You had just such a touching and traumatizing death all at the same time.’ And they really love the scene where I die and I come back and then I die again. I think it was sort of something you don’t see in television a lot, or movies, really. So it was awesome to be a part of that and I’m very proud of it.
YRB: How did you get involved in this latest Final Destination project?
Emma: I just auditioned for it like any other audition, and I never thought I’d actually get it because – well one, you never get anything – but two, it’s such a big budget movie I thought, oh I’m sure they’ll have me in and they’ll love me, but they won’t give it to me. But yeah, it all just sort of worked out. I guess the stars aligned that day and they saw something they hadn’t seen in anybody else. And I was ecstatic to get the call.
YRB: Were you a follower of the franchise before you auditioned?
Emma: I was a fan of the first movie. I’d never seen the other movies. I’m kind of a little bit of a wuss, and even though I’m in this genre a lot I get really scared by things like that. I remember when I saw the first Final Destination it was great and it was really scary and it made your heart beat, but I was so traumatized and every time I’d go to the airport for like the next five years [I’d think], will that be your final destination?
YRB: What is the premise of your character?
Emma: My character is the main girl of the picture and Nicholas D’Agosto plays the lead character, Sam. We live in a small town, we work together and I don’t necessarily have a lot of aspirations to leave this small town, I’m sort of happy with my life. We’re desperately in love with each other, but because he has bigger goals in life than I do it sort of creates a rift between us, and so we’re always a little bit rocky. Then the huge event happens and that changes our perception of life and makes us reevaluate our priorities and whether we love each other. What’s interesting about this film is that there really is this character-driven storyline between the two us.
YRB: Was it physically demanding or even dangerous at times while filming?
Emma: Yeah, definitely. We had a lot of stunts. I mean, there was a lot of running, jumping, tumbling. I wish I could have done more stunts. I love stunt work; I think it’s so fun. I did get to do a particular stunt, which was pretty rad and I had a lot of bruises to prove that I did it, but it was really exciting. It was pretty grueling. We weren’t allowed to do most of the stunts ‘cause some of the stunts are really dangerous and they have professionals that do that. But yeah, no lack of exciting moves there.
YRB: What do you think keeps the sequels of these films so successful?
Emma: I think it’s the whole genre of horror/thriller in general. I think that it’s in human nature to be really inquisitive about death and what happens and what it feels like and what it looks like because we all die, right? And we all know that eventually we’re going to get to a place where we’re gonna die, and it’s not morbid it’s just the way it is. But I think with these kinds of films you can suspend your own reality and just sort of watch it happen to somebody else without it really affecting you in a serious way. I think that that’s always been part of the human psyche; we’re fascinated by that. Of course, in this sort of film it’s just the most gruesome and horrific deaths that anyone on the planet could possibly imagine, and that makes it all the more interesting.
YRB: Have you ever thought about how you would react in a real life-or-death situation?
Emma: Well yeah, I guess I sort of have to think about that when I’m approaching these roles ‘cause you want to be as true as possible. I think of myself as a pretty strong individual; I would like to say that I would face death with a really brave face and fight to the end, but I kind of feel like I’d also maybe just scream and curl up into a ball and cry… I’m sure that an animal instinct would kick in, hopefully, and a survival mechanism would kick in…
YRB: If you could write the perfect role for yourself what would it be, and who would you have co-star with you?
Emma: It would be an epic romance, probably with a little bit of like a Tim Burton-esque quality to it or [like] Guillermo del Toro, with that sort of Pan’s Labyrinth weird, quirky, otherworldly theme to it. It would probably be a different time period. If I could pick from the bunch of men out there, I would have to say…Ryan Gosling.