Recasting The Evil Dead In 2020 (Every Main Character)


One of the original cabin in the woods movies, Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead was famously made by a group of young friends in the woods of Tennessee for only $90,000 in 1981, and soon became a cult classic. From there, the franchise went on to enjoy four movies, a video game, and a spinoff TV show. Thanks to Bruce Campbell’s performance in the starring role, it would also create one of horror’s most iconic cultural icons, Ash Williams. So, who would play the major cast members in a 2020 reboot?

The Evil Dead follows five college students, two couples and the sister of one of the men, who travel to a remote cabin in the woods for a vacation, but when they find a mysterious audio tape that unleashes a legion of demons each member of the group must fight possession until eventually Ash is the last one left alive and must survive the mayhem by himself.

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With Evil Dead’s status as a horror classic with such iconic performances, it begs the question of what the film would look like if The Evil Dead were made today. While audiences got a taste of this in 2013 with the soft reboot/continuation of the franchise by Fede Alvarez, it’s not a full remake of the film. In movies with a very small cast, it’s even more important to choose actors who embody their characters and play well with each other, thus each role has to be cast very carefully. For The Evil Dead, specifically, it’s important that all the actors are able to play that perfect mixture of comedy and horror, and can appear both as the character normally and then as the characters once they’re possessed and become deadites.

Devery Jacobs as Shelly

Shelly is Scott’s girlfriend and one of the first to die in the original order of the film, though she still makes it through a good chunk of the movie. Shelly is played by Theresa Tilly in the original Evil Dead, though she would go on to a career in stand-up comedy. Ideal for the role of Shelly is Devery Jacobs, a Kanienʼkehá꞉ka (Mohawk) actress who rose to prominence primarily through her work in horror, especially the 2019 film, Blood Quantum as well as TV series The Order and American Gods. Thanks to her horror experience and her ability to play both aggressive and relatable characters, Jacobs is a great choice for Evil Dead and the character of Shelly.

Daniel Kaluuya as Scott

Scott is Ash’s friend and the only other male star of The Evil Dead. Originally played by Richard DeManincor, who only has a total of three acting credits, Scott isn’t characterized very much other than being Ash’s friend. However, for the 2020 re-cast of The Evil Dead, Scott should be played by Daniel Kaluuya. Most well-known for his starring role in Get Out, it’s clear that Daniel Kaluuya is a powerhouse actor who is well-suited to roles in horror, but it’s his background in BBC dark comedy series Psychoville that ensures he’s the perfect fit for The Evil Dead. Bringing a combination of comedy and horror chops, Daniel Kaluuya would be ideal for the role of Scott, especially because he could bring so much more to the role than the original iteration.

Alexandra Shipp as Linda

Ash’s girlfriend, Linda, was originally played by Betsy Baker, one of the few actors in The Evil Dead who would actually go on to pursue a career in acting. For the role of Linda, the best choice is Alexandra Shipp, an actress well-known for her work as Storm in the X-Men series, but who has also dipped her toe in the pool of comedy horror in the 2017 film, Tragedy Girls in one of two starring roles as McKayla Hooper. Offering a wide range of different acting experiences under her belt from action to romance to thrillers, Shipp clearly has the ability to build a romantic on-screen relationship with Ash and also to transform and attack him as a deadite.

Kathryn Newton as Cheryl

Cheryl is the only single member of the group vacationing at the cabin. She’s Ash’s sister, and ultimately ends up being the main villain throughout the movie, re-appearing again and again to attack the main characters and especially Ash. Originally played by Ellen Sandweiss, the 2020 version of Cheryl would be best played by Kathryn Newton.

Kathryn Newton is most famous for starring as Millie Kessler in the teen horror comedy, Freaky, in which she swaps bodies with a serial killer. Some horror fans may also remember her from Paranormal Activity 4. Clearly capable of playing both scary and comedic to great effect, Kathryn Newton is the perfect choice for The Evil Dead, especially in the role of Cheryl, where she would be able to really showcase her abilities as both a likable character and an antagonistic monster.

Daniel Radcliffe as Ash

Finally, the character from The Evil Dead that’s most well-known, even iconic, Ash Williams. In casting Ash, it’s vital that the actor is someone who can really carry a film with his charisma, and who can also embody the same chaotic energy that Bruce Campbell brought to the role. The actor who gets the closest to matching these qualifications is Daniel Radcliffe, a British actor most well-known for his work in the Harry Potter films, but who has also long made it clear he’s capable of portraying characters of all types, from serious to comedic.

Having starred in films ranging from Alexandre Aja’s dark fantasy, Horns to the Victorian ghost story, The Woman in Black, as well as the crime thriller Imperium and action comedy, Guns Akimbo, it’s clear that Radcliffe has exceptional versatility. Additionally, through both his roles and his interviews, Radcliffe clearly has the wit and dark humor necessary to play Ash.

Overall, a team of actors well-versed in horror and comedy who have the ability to bring great energy to the movie is integral to the success of The Evil Dead, particularly in the role of Ash. So, choosing actors who can perform well as their characters as well as their characters once they’ve been turned into deadites is the heart of what makes The Evil Dead successful.

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About The Author

Maisy Flowers (148 Articles Published)

Certified horror addict and linguistics nerd, Maisy has been watching, reading, and reviewing horror since she was old enough to get a library card. She is most often found hiding in the woods with her nose in a book, usually horror or weird fiction, or in her bedroom snuggling with her husband and many pets while watching horror movies or playing Skyrim – usually both.

Elusive and rarely out in public, Maisy can usually be baited with cheese, punk rock, or the promise of a rousing discussion on sociolinguistics and dialectology, though she has sometimes been known to come out to explore local parks, zoos, and distilleries on occasion.

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