Zoë E. Bell (born 17 November 1978) is a New Zealand stuntwoman and actress. Some of her most notable stunt work includes doubling for Lucy Lawless in Xena: Warrior Princess and for Uma Thurman in Kill Bill.
As an actress, she has appeared both on television and in feature films and also starred in the web series Angel of Death. She is probably most recognized for playing herself in the Quentin Tarantino film Death Proof. In 2015, she appeared as an actress in Tarantino's eighth feature film, The Hateful Eight.
Bell was born on Waiheke Island, New Zealand, to Tish, a nurse, and Andrew Bell, a doctor. She has a younger brother named Jake and a foster brother named Leonhard, who is living in his old hometown in Germany. She grew up on Waiheke Island in Auckland.
At a young age, she participated in competitive gymnastics and at the age of 15, she began studying taekwon-do. She also participated in dance, high diving, scuba and track and field activities. Bell attended Auckland Girls' Grammar School and Selwyn College.
Bell began her career in 1992 when her father treated a stuntman for a head injury and came home with a phone number for her to call. Her first stunt job was jumping out of a car in Shortland Street, a New Zealand soap opera.
She did stunts for Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess, both of which were filmed in New Zealand; by the fourth season of Xena, she was the stunt double for Lucy Lawless. She fractured vertebrae in her back doing wire work stunts on the show, but continued working for a week until another stunt, in which a breakaway chair was smashed on her back, incapacitated her.
After Xena, she did a number of small films and TV stunt work, including stunt co-ordinating and playing a small role in a short film, Reflections, with Adrienne Wilkinson (with whom she had previously worked on Xena). She went on to double for Uma Thurman in Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill.
Though she was initially hired as Thurman's "crash and smash" double, the stunt team realized Bell would also make an ideal double for fight scenes and she was trained accordingly. Bell had to learn to fight in the wushu style. Near the end of filming for Kill Bill: Volume 2, she injured her ribs and the ligaments in her wrist while simulating being thrown backwards by a shotgun blast. Bell required surgery and spent several months recuperating. After production finished on Kill Bill, she received "The Bells" sign which hung outside the home of the Vernita Green character. She later gave it to her parents. After both Kill Bill movies, she did stunt work for the movie Catwoman, in which she performed high falls and acted as a double for Sharon Stone.
In 2004, the documentary Double Dare was released. It focused primarily on Bell and veteran stuntwoman Jeannie Epper, following them during their travails in Hollywood. The film presented a view of opposing ends of the stuntwoman spectrum, with the aging Epper continuing her search for work in an industry where age is not necessarily considered an asset and Bell, then a Hollywood newcomer, trying to break into the industry. The filming of Double Dare covered Zoë's career from the end of Xena to the beginning of her work on Kill Bill: Volume 1.
In 2004, Bell and Angela Meryl (Vivica A. Fox's stunt double) were nominated at the Taurus World Stunt Awards in the categories "Best Overall Stunt by a Woman" and "Best Fight" for their doubling of the knife fight between the characters Beatrix Kiddo and Vernita Green in Kill Bill: Volume 1. In 2005, Bell was nominated for a Taurus in the categories "Best Overall Stunt by a Woman", "Best Fight" and "Best High Work". She and Monica Staggs (Daryl Hannah's double) won Best Overall Stunt and Best Fight for their fight in Budd's trailer in Kill Bill: Volume 2. Her Best High Work nomination was for a fall of over 200 feet in the film Catwoman.
After Catwoman, Bell went on to appear as a stuntwoman in the action thriller The Kingdom. In yet another Tarantino feature film, Inglourious Basterds, Bell performed stunts once again.
Tarantino was so impressed with Bell's work for Kill Bill that he cast her in a leading role in his next film, Death Proof (2007), in which she played herself and performed her own stunts, the most notable of which occurs when she hangs onto the hood of a speeding 1970 Dodge Challenger.
In August 2007, Bell confirmed she had signed to play the lead role in a film about an American soldier who, upon returning to the U.S. from a tour of duty in Iraq, helps a young girl in trouble. She told the New Zealand Herald that she would do her own stunts in the as-yet untitled film, and that the American accent was "a big challenge". In October 2007, Variety reported that Bell would appear in the 2009 film Game, starring Gerard Butler; the movie was later renamed Gamer.
Bell was a guest star in the fourth season of Lost, playing the role of the freighter team's radio contact, Regina. She said in interviews that the role required a little acting and some stunt work. She appeared on screen only in episode 7 of season 4, entitled "Ji Yeon".
In 2008, Bell starred alongside her former Xena colleague Lucy Lawless in Sony (Crackle)'s web series Angel of Death which debuted online in early 2009.
Bell also played a medical technician who moonlights as "Bloody Holly", a roller derby star, in Drew Barrymore's 2009 directorial debut, Whip It.
She appeared alongside Wesley Snipes in the Italian director Giorgio Serafini's 2010 thriller, Game of Death. She can also be seen in the music video of Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds' 2012 single "Dream On".
In 2015, Bell appeared in Tarantino's film The Hateful Eight.
|1998-2001||Xena: Warrior Princess||No||Yes||Xena||Main actress: Lucy Lawless|
|2000||Cleopatra 2525||Yes||No||Female Betrayer|
|2003||Kill Bill: Volume 1||No||Yes||The Bride||Main actress: Uma Thurman|
|2004||Kill Bill: Volume 2||No||Yes||The Bride||Main actress: Uma Thurman|
|Catwoman||No||Yes||Laurel||Main actress: Sharon Stone|
|2005||Alias||No||Yes||Kelly Peyton||Main actress: Amy Acker|
|2007||Grindhouse||Yes||Yes||Sicko Eating Paramedic #2||Segment: Planet Terror|
|Yes||Yes||Herself||Segment: Death Proof|
|2009||Bitch Slap||Yes||Yes||Rawhide||Stunt coordinator; fight choreographer|
|Angel of Death||Yes||No||Eve|
|Whip It||Yes||No||Bloody Holly|
|Inglourious Basterds||No||Yes||Shosanna||Main actress: Mélanie Laurent|
|No||Yes||Bridget von Hammersmark||Main actress: Diane Kruger|
|The Proposal||No||Yes||Margaret||Main actress: Sandra Bullock|
|The Final Destination||No||Yes|
|2010||Fallout: New Vegas||Yes||No||Melissa / Diane / Linda Schuler / Alice Hostetler||Video game voice-over|
|2012||Game of Death||Yes||No||Floria|
|The Baytown Outlaws||Yes||No||Rose|
|2013||Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters||Yes||No||Tall Witch|
|Iron Man 3||No||Yes|
|Hawaii Five-0||Yes||Yes||Dr. Shannon Morgan (Sugar Sticks)|
|2015||The Hateful Eight||Yes||Six-Horse Judy|
|2016||Camino (2016 film)||Yes||Avery Taggert|
- Shortland Street (1992–2005)
- Hercules: The Legendary Journeys (1995–1999 TV series) – stunt work
- The Chosen (1998) – stunt work
- Young Hercules (1998 TV)
- Jacksons Wharf (1999 TV)
- Amazon High (1999 TV) – background action stunt work
- Jack of All Trades (2000 TV)
- The Bunker Murders (2002 TV)
- Riverworld (2003 teleplay) – stunt work
- The Extreme Team (aka The X-Team) (2003) – stunt double
- Ultraviolet (2006)
- The Devil's Den (2006) – stunt double
- Reflections (2008) – Woman in Mirror, stunt coordinator
- The Chronicles of Nerm (2009) – voice
- The Collector (2009) – stunt double
Awards and nominations
|2009||Maverick Movie Awards||Reflections||Best Stunts||Won|
|2008||Screen Actors Guild Awards||The Kingdom||Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture||Nominated|
|2008||World Stunt Awards||Grindhouse||Best Overall Stunt by a Stunt Woman||Won|
|2008||World Stunt Awards||Grindhouse||Best Work With a Vehicle||Nominated|
|2005||World Stunt Awards||Kill Bill: Volume 2||Best Overall Stunt by a Stunt Woman||Won|
|2005||World Stunt Awards||Kill Bill: Volume 2||Best Fight||Won|
|2005||World Stunt Awards||Catwoman||Best High Work||Nominated|
|2004||World Stunt Awards||Kill Bill: Volume 1||Best Overall Stunt by a Stunt Woman||Nominated|
|2004||World Stunt Awards||Kill Bill: Volume 1||Best Fight||Nominated|