Actress Lorna Raver never thought moving to LA was in the cards for her. After all, she had been enjoying a satisfying career playing theatres in both New York and Chicago. However, she took a chance with a friend when they decided to head West, and suddenly Raver found her career zooming right past live performances and into the world of being a character actress on television.
“I definitely never would have moved out here on my own, but I am more than happy that I did,” said Raver. “I always had this idea that women of a certain age just shouldn’t even bother to try and make it in Hollywood, and I have been pleasantly surprised and blessed by all the work that has come my way.”
Now, with a solid start from appearing in episodic television, Raver is taking her next leap starring in Sam Raimi’s Drag Me to Hell, where she plays Mrs. Ganush, an elderly gypsy woman who comes to her bank for a mortgage extension and is denied by Christine (played by Alison Lohman).
When Mrs. Ganush feels as if Christine has publicly shamed her, she enacts her revenge in the form of a curse that summons a demon to drag the young banker to the depths of hell in three days’ time.
Raver explains her character’s motivations by saying, “I see Sylvia as a woman who justifies her actions because she comes from an old world culture. She reacts viscerally because of who she is. Maybe she takes it too far, but she certainly does have cause for complaint with how Christine treats her.”
Raver initially had no idea what would be in store for her on the set of Drag Me to Hell as she had read only one scene of the movie when she did her audition and then spoke with Raimi to accept the part.
“I am not a horror fan so I had no idea of Sam’s reputation with the Evil Dead films,” said Raver. “Originally I only read the bank scene, which seemed ordinary enough. Then, when I finally got the full script, I realized just how over the top most of the movie was. I might have paused for a second when I realized what I got myself into, but then I just knew it was going to be a lot of fun to work on this with Sam, Alison, and Justin.”
Raver’s role in Drag Me to Hell required the actress to undergo unsightly make-up processes. “All I can say is that I thank God that I don’t have much invested in my looks, or I might have felt self-conscious,” joked Raver.
Raver also had to work closely with KNB Effects Group, which she said turned out to be the hardest part of being in Drag Me to Hell. “I went to KNB because they had to do a live cast of my entire body for the movie so that they could build puppets and work on some other make-up effects,” said Raver. “It was five guys working all at once, but it still terrified me because I am claustrophobic. I was so nervous, but I knew I was in good hands with them. They did such an amazing job that when they asked me to do a second live casting with me screaming, I couldn’t say no to them,” Raver added.
Raver also got challenged on the set of Drag Me to Hell since the parking lot fight scene involved Mrs. Ganush delivering some vengeance on young Christine. Both actresses worked hard alongside stunt doubles so that they could do as many of their own stunts as possible.
Raver explained, “The stunt coordinator and our doubles showed Alison and myself how to block our scenes so that everything looked real and we didn’t hurt ourselves or each other. It was surreal to have to really choke her and just what a beating poor Alison was willing to take in order to make everything look so real. She was quite the trooper.”
Even though Drag Me to Hell was far more challenging than Raver originally expected, the actress is relishing every moment of her first major film role of her career. “I enjoyed this experience more than anything I’ve ever done before,” said Raver. “The cast and crew all worked so hard and just being a part of Sam’s film was a dream come true for me. Watching Sam work was a revelation because he’s so focused and intelligent in his approach. I really hope I get to work with him again in the future.”
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