Time: The indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole. So, the horror remake everyone was pissed off to hear about has evolved into the movie horror fans are dying to see. Of course, I'm referring to EVIL DEAD, which comes out today. I caught myself re-watching the original earlier this week and figured f*ck it, I might as well watch the second and third one, too. It felt like eating at my old favorite restaurant. Then I figured I might as well look up the status of the female stars of each film to see how well they'd fit in this column. One of the most interesting was the actress who played Sheila from ARMY OF DARKNESS (also known by fans as BRUCE CAMPBELL VS. THE ARMY OF DARKNESS, and by nitwits as EVIL DEAD 3). Since the film also involves time-travel, and this is a time-travel-themed column, it's just too perfect! So let's cut the crap and set out to discover the whereabouts of Sheila, also known as Embeth Davidtz.
Let's get the usual spiel out of the way first. Davidtz spawned from Lafayette, Indiana on August 11th, 1965. She later lived in Trenton, New Jersey for a short time before moving to South Africa, where her parents originated from. In 1983, she graduated from The Glen High School in Pretoria. Davidtz's professional acting career began when she was 21-years-old, playing Juliet in a stage production of Romeo & Juliet at the Maynardville Open-Air Theatre in Cape Town, South Africa. She performed in both English and Afrikaans. After being nominated for two of South Africa's equivalent of a Tony Award, the bilingual actress made her film debut in South Africa as well, in a horror film called THE MUTATOR (1988). Later she gained a lot of attention for her performance as a rape victim in the Afrikaans psychological drama NAG VAN DIE 19DE (NIGHT OF THE 19TH). Her career took a wild, spontanious detour when she moved to Los Angeles after a meeting with an agent in 1992.
Seeing as the EVIL DEAD series has been the hot topic this week, popping up here and there and there and here all over the JoBlo Movie Network, I'll spare you the details of the first two (classic) films just so we can get on track with the lady at hand. It was no time at all before Davidtz landed her first American film role, and bizarrely enough, it was in ARMY OF DARKNESS. After dealing with despicable amounts of blood and cackling in EVIL DEAD 2, "Ash" Williams (along with his car) gets sucked through a time portal to 1300 A.D. He gets captured by Lord Arthur's men, who suspect him of working for Duke Henry, with whom they're at war. Ash tries to convince Arthur of his nonpartisanship before his men toss him into a pit of death. That is until the sister of one of Arthur's fallen soldiers, Sheila (Davidtz), hits him in the head with stone, causing him to dizzily stumble into the pit. Since this is Ash we're talking about, he manages to defeat the monster (or she-bitch) lingering at the bottom, with help of his chainsaw-arm and mighty "boomstick". Once Ash climbs back up to the surface, he's seen as both a danger and a potential hero to the villagers, who live under the threat of an evil curse. Obviously, this makes him all the more desirable to Sheila.
I'd like to show her my boomstick.
Ash is sent off by Lord Arthur to find the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis that will keep the village safe, and promises to send him home in return. After being chased by evil through a haunted forest and into a windmill, Ash accidentally unleashes his evil twin through a mirror, who he battles it out with, then decapitates and buries. Ash eventually finds the Necronomicon, but fails to correctly pronounce the magic phrase needed to safely obtain the book, "klaatu verata nicto". This is where shit gets real, and all hell is unleashed literally straight from the grave, including the one he just dug for "Evil Ash", who takes charge of the Army of Darkness to seek his revenge.
I honestly never paid a whole hell of a lot of attention to Sheila, as this is clearly Ash's story. I guess she serves as the main driving force of what causes Ash to do the right thing in the end, which is save the villagers from the impending doom that he caused. Plus, if it weren't for her, we might not have ever heard Bruce Campbell deliver lines like "First you wanna kill me, now you wanna kiss me" and of course, "Give me some sugar, baby". It may have seemed like a small part, but it was a necessary one that played a key role in the the story. Besides, you can't put a chick in an EVIL DEAD movie without turning her into a demonized monster-lady...
"Baby... you got real ugly".
Before picking Davidtz for this column, I was certain that ARMY OF DARKNESS was the only film I'd ever seen her in. But I was wrong. Dead wrong. Almost immediately after wrapping on DARKNESS, joined the production of a TV-movie on NBC called DEADLY MATRIMONY. Apparently, her performance was so good in it that she caught the eye of an underground, no-name director by the name of Steven Spielberg. In 1993, the same year he brought CG dinosaurs into theaters, Spielberg was developing perhaps the most memorable holocaust flick of all time, SCHINDLER'S LIST. He casted Ambeth as Helen Hirsch, a young Jewish woman working as the housekeeper of an SS officer who grew to find her attractive. I can't imagine why.
I actually have no idea when this photo was taken, and I don't care. It's here to stay.
After that film became a major success in every way possible, Davidtz picked up plenty of roles in suspenseful crime-thrillers with horrific-sounding names like MURDER IN THE FIRST, FEAST OF JULY and THE GINGERBREAD MAN. On the more family-geared side of her resume, Davidtz also starred as the friendly school teacher, Miss Jennifer Honey, in MATILDA (1996). But if you thought Davidtz had given up on the horror genre entirely, then you forgot about BICENTENNIAL MAN with Robin Williams. Okay, so maybe it's not labeled as a "horror movie", but it's certainly no "feel-good movie", either. Not when a confused, lonely little girl falls in love with a robot, and wastes all of her life's affection on it, only to grow old and die with his creepy animatronic eyeballs gazing at her. Although, I suppose she wouldn't be the first woman whose boyfriend needed to be manually charged or battery-operated (hayoooo!).
Davidtz actually did in fact wind up making her way back into horror in THIR13EN GHOSTS (2001). That's the last movie I can actually remember seeing her in, although I never made the connection that she was the same chick from ARMY OF DARKNESS, because there's quite a contrast in her appearance. If her looks changed so much throughout the '90's, what person without a clue could guess what Embeth looks like today? Well, that's what this column is here for, baby, so let's find out!
I think my boomstick just went off by itself. I would say she's a sight for sore eyes, but I never quite understood what the hell that means, so I'll just say this: she looks a hell of a lot better than the old version of herself in BICENTENNIAL MAN. I'd keep her warm in a cabin till dawn. I'd let her swallow my... uhm, soul. For anyone who thought Embeth had vanished from the radar, let it be known that she's been hiding right under your noses. In recent history, she played Annika Giannini in David Fincher's GIRL WITH A DRAGON TATTOO (2011), and Peter Parker's mom, Mary Parker, in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (2012). It's interesting that she was involved with the Marc Webb movie, but not Sam Raimi's SPIDER-MAN trilogy. Coincidence? (Probably).
In the '90's, Davidtz dated the likes of Ben Chaplin and Harvey Keitel, but ultimately married entertainment attorney Jason Sloane in 2002. She has two children, Charlotte Emily (born in 2002) and Dylan (2005). Those two recent movies aside, Davidtz also starred with Amy Adams in the dramedy JUNEBUG (2005), and the crime-dramas FRACTURE (2007) and WINGED CREATURES (2008). Along with a bundle of guest appearances on shows like "Grey's Anatomy" and "Scrubs", Davidtz played recurring characters on "Mad Men", "In Treatment" and "Californication", proving she still has the capability to act sexy as well as look it.
So there you have it. The chick from ARMY OF DARKNESS is still doable. You can all sleep tightly in your warm beds now, slaying demons in your nightmares with Embeth by your side. She has a part in an upcoming thriller called PARANOIA, starring Liam Hemsworth, Gary Oldman and Harrison Ford, which is set to release on October 4th, 2013. She will also be featured in the documentary MIRACLE RISING: SOUTH AFRICA, which is due sometime this year as well. I must say, learning about the ins and outs of Embeth Davidtz's life has been fascinating to say the least. I hope her DRAGON TATTOO and SPIDER-MAN appearances are a sign of Embeth stepping back into the limelight a bit. As for you schmoes, have a bloody good time at the movies!