Star on Raze
11/17/1978, Waiheke Island, Auckland, N.Z.
Recurring Role (1)
Guest Star (5)
Zoe was born in New Zealand to Tish and Andrew Bell. She has one younger brother named Jake. Growing up she participated in competitive gymnastics until she was fifteen, when she quit gymnastics to study tae kwon do. Zoe attended Auckland Girls' Grammar and Selwyn College.
One of Zoe's first jobs as a stuntie was to provide background action on a television pilot called Amazon High for Renaissance Studios, which also made Hercules the Legendary Journeys and Xena Warrior Princess. Her career as a stunt double took off in 1995 when she won the job of doubling Lucy Lawless on Xena. She fractured some vertebrae in her back doing wire work for the show, but she continued working for a week afterwards until another stunt, which involved breaking a chair on her back, incapacited her. In the years following Xena she did a number of small films and tv stunt work.
She was then hired to double Uma Thurman in Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill. Initially hired as Thurman's "crash and smash" double, they soon realized Bell would also make an ideal body double for fight scenes and she was trained in the wushu martial arts as they filmed. Near the end of filming for Kill Bill: Vol 2, she injured her ribs and the ligaments in her wrist and was forced to spend several months recuperating.
Tarantino was deeply impressed with her and cast her in his next film Grindhouse, in which she plays herself and performs her own stunts. She also did stunt work for the movie Catwoman, doing high falls and doubling Sharon Stone.
In 2004, Zoe starred along with Jeannie Epper in the documentary Double Dare. It focused on the two women as they attempted to find success in Hollywood, with the older Jeannie becoming a mentor for Zoe. The filming of Double Dare covered Zoe's career from the end of Xena to the beginning of her work on Kill Bill: Vol 1.moreless
Zoë J. Bell
Waiheke Island, Auckland, N.Z.
- Trivia & Quotes
Zoe: (when asked the dangerous stunt she has done) The most dangerous stunt? Hmm .. I guess, just recently I fell off a building.
Zoe: (on her work for "Kill Bill vol 1 and vol 2") Quentin kinda liked the fact that I fell on my arse and got up and did it again.
Zoe: (when asked what her weirdest stunt was) I can't think of any thing really weird. I have been pregnant twice (not for real!). Looking coordinated and bad a** is much harder with a big pillow strapped to your gut.
Zoe: There is no doubt that the world of stunts was in the past a predominantly male one. But there are times that I have to check my new age, women's rights crap and realize that some of these men are simply from a different time, a different way and actually mean well. Chivalry and sexism are two different things and if you are too defensive they are easily confused. I just expect the respect I deserve as a good, hard working stuntwoman, not a stunt man. I'm a not man.
Zoe: (when asked about Quentin Tarantino) You know, actors always ask their directors what their motivation is in this scene or that scene, so I've always had this joke where I ask the director what my motivation is too. As a stunt person your motivation is usually to fall over a bench or something. But Quentin came over at one point and said 'So your motivation in this scene is...', and I just cracked up laughing. But he was being really serious: 'You're The Bride as well as Uma, you need to know what her motivation is.' It was the first time I've ever taken any of that stuff seriously.
Zoe is a member of the New Zealand Stunt Guild.
In 2008 Zoe got the chance to work again with her former Xena colleagues Lucy Lawless and Ted Raimi in a new web series titled Angel of Death, which is set to debut online in early 2009. The role garnered her a nomination for "Best Actress in a Web Series".
Shortly after the series Xena finished filming, Zoe worked as the stunt coordinator for a short film made by fellow Xena colleague Adrienne Wilkinson.
Zoe's first work as a stunt woman was for the soap opera Shortland Street. The stunt was jumping out of a moving car.
Zoe has had two films roles created specifically with Zoe in mind. Quentin Tarantino wrote the film Grindhouse for her, and a new project featuring Zoe as a returning vet from Iraq who helps a young girl is the second.