Bell is the star of the horror film Pulse , her first big screen vehicle since “Veronica Mars” made her into a magazine cover girl two years ago. A remake of the 2001 Japanese film Kairo , Pulse is a brooding story of technology run amuck, as the ghosts in the machine enter the world of the living and begin to take lives. That's why reporters are turning to Bell for her deconstruction of the modern condition.
“I think what I've come up with is that all these things that are supposed to bring us closer together like text messaging and e-mails are actually pulling us further apart because we're all becoming more reclusive,” the 26-year-old actress ventures. “And we end up sitting on the Internet and you're like, ‘Oh, it's 4 a.m. What have I been doing for the last nine hours?' The idea of writing a letter has become ancient and that's only happened over the last five years. I think we've come farther in the last five years than we have in the last 50.”
Like many a young television actor before her, Bell is undergoing a requisite rite of passage, entering into movie stardom fleeing from supernatural forces and screaming her head off. Bell admits that she received piles of horror scripts auditioning to fill her “Mars” hiatus, but says that the Pulse script set itself apart.
“I thought it was smarter than a lot of the other ones I read,” she insists. “I thought that it was actually using something that is very real and very tangible to all of us, because everyone is always hooked up to their cell phone or always grabbing some sort of PDA or something, as opposed to just dealing with – the murderer is out there somewhere or the ghost is in the closet. It was a much different plotline than I was used to hearing and I liked to do something different.”
Rapturous critical acclaim and utter fan devotion haven't translated into mainstream success for “Veronica Mars,” which begins its third season this fall, transplanted from UPN to the new CW. Perhaps that's why Bell says that she doesn't necessarily have her pick of projects for her vacations.
“I don't think that really happens until much further down the line than I am,” she laughs. “I certainly had a chance at a lot of awesome scripts. I think I'm put into the category of more of a short list, which I'm very happy to be on.”
Bell has gone back to work on “Veronica Mars,” a gig that the actress has frequently admitted can get tiring. For the first season, Bell's character was in nearly every single scene, week in and week out, and since then she's only been cut a little slack.
“It's gotten a bit better, because they have a lot of new characters and a lot of characters have plotlines that don't necessarily completely involve Veronica,” she says. “It's still really hard. I still don't know that I'd recommend for anyone to be the main character on a one-hour drama ever unless they are planning on giving up their whole life. But they have made it easier for me to do stuff like this. Obviously, they are shooting today but there is a huge storyline that involves Enrico (Colantoni) in the first two episodes and he's shooting right now.”
She continues, “But, yeah, it is what it is. I'm Veronica Mars on ‘Veronica Mars.' I wasn't prepared for this the first year at all so I was just really caught off guard when my life was taken away from me and all of a sudden I was having to do all these requirements I didn't know were requirements. It's gotten a little easier, but it's still a one-hour drama and it's a tough ship.”
Pulse is currently in theaters. The third season of “Veronica Mars” premieres on The CW Oct. 3.
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