Exploiting our collective fear of the dark, David F. Sandberg’s debut feature Lights Out introduces a creepy new villain who goes by the name Diana, and if you had any trouble sleeping after the film, it’s damn sure because of her. Bathed in darkness throughout much of the movie, with only her piercing eyes illuminated, Diana is a horror villain who quite literally exists only in the dark, appearing when the lights are turned off and vanishing back into thin air when they’re turned on.
With her wild hair and impossibly long fingers, Diana cuts a silhouette that is, in and of itself, scarier than most movie monsters could ever wish to be, but it’s the unnerving performance of the actress tasked with bringing her to life that may have ensured the character goes on to become a franchise-starting horror icon. And setting her apart from recent female villains like the titular Mama, the Insidious franchise’s “Bride in Black,” and the four-armed Myrtu from this year’s The Other Side of the Door, Diana was actually played, in a refreshing twist, by a female performer.
That’s a new one, eh?!
“I didn’t have to really act as much because the girl dressed up as Diana was petrifying to look at,” Lights Out star Teresa Palmer recently told Variety, praising Alicia Vela-Bailey’s performance. “She had a whole black suit on, crazy hair — so strange and surreal, but I loved having her there. I certainly have that silhouette of her imprinted in my mind. She’s a classic horror film woman, it’s very scary.”
“I think people at Comic-Con will be dressed up as Diana next year,” added co-star Maria Bello, in the same interview. “Just the way she moved her hands and shoulders I think created an entire beast. I think her creature will transcend time and will be like a Freddy Krueger or a Jason.”
Born in California but raised in Hawaii, Alicia Vela-Bailey was already an accomplished gymnast and dancer at a very young age, and her career in film began with her working as Kristanna Loken’s stunt double in 2005’s BloodRayne. Soon thereafter, she doubled for Milla Jovovich in Ultraviolet, and in the past 10 years alone, she has done stunt work for 50 different television and film projects. The horror films on Vela-Bailey’s resume include The Ruins, The Fourth Kind, Piranha 3D, and Underworld: Awakening, and she has doubled for top Hollywood actresses including Charlize Theron, Jennifer Lawrence, Zoe Saldana, Nicole Kidman, Anne Hathaway, and Shalene Woodley.
Most recently, Vela-Bailey was Gal Gadot’s stunt double on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and she again dons the red, blue and gold for next year’s hotly-anticipated Wonder Woman film. Yes, the same woman who played Diana in Lights Out is essentially playing Wonder Woman, which we can’t help but smile about. Next year, Vela-Bailey will once again play Kate Beckinsale’s double in Underworld: Blood Wars, and in the film she will also appear on screen as a “Safehouse Lycan.”
As an actress, Alicia Vela-Bailey notably appeared in Avatar, as several Navi characters, and in both Hostel: Part 3 and The Purge, playing “Japanese Cyberpunk Woman” in the former and the masked “Female Freak” in the latter. She will have a starring role in next year’s Annabelle 2 as “Evil Mrs. Mullins,” the film re-teaming her with Lights Out director David F. Sandberg.
High profile stunt-woman? Check. Horror icon? She’s damn sure on her way.
Check out some photos of Alicia Vela-Bailey, on and off set, below!