Meet Alyssa Sutherland, the 'Evil Dead Rise' actress who's haunting your nightmares (2024)

Brian Truitt, USA TODAY

·5 min read

In the spirit of motivation before filming started, Evil Dead Risedirector Lee Cronin told Alyssa Sutherland that her character could make the list of all-time horror movie villains.

The 40-year-old Australian actress has been around long enough not to get her hopes up. But now that audiences have started seeing Sutherland'sperformance as a terrifying demonic mom, “I have zero chill about it,” she says of being an instantly iconic baddie. “I'm probably more proud of this role than anything else.”

Sutherland’s not totally scary, though – in real life, she's also into sweets. Here’s what movie fans need to know about Hollywood’s newest horror queen:

‘Evil Dead Rise’ actress delighted in being bad

In the new film (now in theaters), Ellie (Sutherland) is a recently divorced LAtattoo artist living with her three children in an apartment building that’s set to be demolished. Her sister Beth (Lily Sullivan) stops in for a visit–and so does, thanks to the Book of the Dead, a dark force. Ellie is the first one who’s possessed, and she viciously taunts and teases her children and goes after them in “classic “Evil Dead” style.

Sutherland “understood the power of the mocking and the control that comes with it,” Cronin says. And the actress for her part wanted to deliver dialogue and one-liners like “Mommy’s with the maggots now” in “the most sinister way,” she says. “This is the kind of stuff that I'll work on in my acting class but I don't really get to do in my job.”

She was a trouper with the Deadite horror makeup

Just another day on the #EvilDeadRise set 🌸

— Alyssa Sutherland (@RealAlyssaS) April 22, 2023

Playing an antagonist – especially in the “Evil Dead” world – isn’t easy. It means a whole bunch of latex and prosthetics, and longtime franchise producer Rob Tapert was concerned aboutSutherland being covered in that three to four days a week. “It eats your skin,” he says. “The amount of time that she was in makeup I've seen destroy stuntmen and other performers, where they rip all the makeup off and lose their mind. (But) she was absolutely fantastic.”

Not only was Sutherland pretty cool with it, she posted a videofromthe process to her Instagram. “I tend to be a little bit masoch*stic,” she says with a laugh. “I love a good hard day's work. I've started realizing my response to living in a capitalist society. I'm like, ‘Oh, man, did I earn my beer and it tastes so much better tonight for it.’ I know what it's like to not have a job. I would prefer to be gooped up and gross and uncomfortable and working than not.”

Alyssa Sutherland used to be a model (though acting was a first love)

Meet Alyssa Sutherland, the 'Evil Dead Rise' actress who's haunting your nightmares (2)

When she was a kid “wanting some attention,” Sutherland yearned to act, although growing up in Brisbane, “it seemed like a real pipe dream,” she says. She took drama lessons in high school but dropped those for chemistry“because I was really interested in science,” and was discovered as a teen model in 1997. Over the years, Sutherland appeared on the covers of magazines around the world and incampaigns for Calvin Klein, Chanel, Ralph Lauren and Bulgari.Whilemodeling, she started auditioning for roles, got an acting coach and “started quietly putting myself in classes in New York” and working toward a career.

Sutherland had small roles in movies “The Devil Wears Prada” and “Arbitrage” but found her biggest break playing Queen Aslaug on the History Channel series “Vikings.” “I really hadn't worked a lot before, and I learned just so much about being on a set and acting and camera awareness,” she says.

Her striking looks were a boon for ‘Evil Dead’

One of the signature aspects of the “Evil Dead” franchise is that, after possession, the evil Deadites don’t look that different from their original human hosts. In addition to having a great audition for “Rise,” Sutherland has “such a structured, beautiful face that it's easy to corrupt that and make it cool,” Tapert says.

Executive producer (and original “Evil Dead” star) Bruce Campbell agrees. “She has very pronounced features that you could expand on when she gets possessed and you can accentuate. She makes a pretty terrifying demon.”

This scream queen is all about cake decorating

Happy Easter! #newlife

— Alyssa Sutherland (@RealAlyssaS) April 9, 2023

Sutherland’s Instagramis filled with “Evil Dead Rise” contentbut also features the occasional dessert treat: She’s really into cake design and decoration, and it’s not just something she picked up during the pandemic. The actress has been doing it for several years.

“I get it from my mom. She's very crafty,” Sutherland says. “I’m an actress, I don't always have a job that I'm working on. And sitting around twiddling my thumbs is not really my style, so I’ve got to find things to do. Cakes sort of fill a creative need.”

For more of the scary stuff:

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'Evil Dead Rise': Alyssa Sutherland's demon mom will scare you silly

Meet Alyssa Sutherland, the 'Evil Dead Rise' actress who's haunting your nightmares (2024)


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