Zoë Bell talked to New Zealand News 3 about working on the big budget film Oblivion with Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman which comes out today. The interview takes place at the top of the Sky Tower building in New Zealand and is around 371 meters high. When asked if that height made her nervous, Bell said she loved it and actually jumped from there once for a stunt – as a strawberry. She didn’t elaborate.
Bell started out as a stunt woman and landed some big movies at a very young age. Meeting Quentin Tarantino during Kill Bill auditions changed the trajectory of her career. She’s worked with him on five of his films and not just as a stunt person, but also an actor. Most recently she can be seen in Django Unchained as one of the ‘Trackers’. “Tarantino asked if I’d be in it – said my bottom jaw would be missing and I was like, ‘done – I’ll do it – awesome’.”
My name was ‘Tracker Peg’. There’s a whole history between two of the trackers you’re never gonna see – it was never written in the script but that’s how he [Quentin] functions. If you’re a character in his movie, you have a life story. It will never be seen but I know about her and why I lost my jaw – my boyfriend chopped it off.
Bell has been trying to make the transition from stunt person to acting for awhile now. When offered the role in Oblivion she was thrilled to be working with such big stars like Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman. In the film, she plays a woman named ‘Kara’ whom is part of the underground survivors of Earth. She wouldn’t give too many details about it so you’ll just have to find out for yourself.
She admits she was star-struck when meeting Cruise and actually fell into Freeman’s lap on their introduction. She tripped over a cable. “I get paid to be coordinated and here I am tripping on a cable!”
Bell explains that she’s gravitating towards acting as she gets older but has always loved the rush of adrenaline she gets from doing stunt work. Fortunately, she’s never had life-threatening injuries but she did hurt herself early on in her career on the set of Xena and Kill Bill. Both times involved doing rachet work, which she loves. On Kill Bill, the set was rushed and neither she nor the stunt coordinator checked the rachet before she flew through the air and she ended up missing the mat. Her wrist was injured quite severely and it took her out of work for a year. Surprisingly, she said there were no injuries on Death Proof. Watch her as stunt-actor in this clip.
Besides Oblivion, she has a few other films in the works including Raze that is currently playing in the Midnight section at the Tribeca Film Festival. As she signs on for more projects, it’s probably safe to assume she’ll continue to show up in Tarantino’s films. She loves working with him because of his passion and work ethic. “It’s really nice to be around someone whose vision is so clear. He knows exactly what he wants.”