After 30 some odd years, Bruce Campbell returns to play Ash Williams in Ash Vs The Evil Dead on Starz which just renewed the series before season one aired. He spoke to us reporters about the series.
What was it like to playing Ash again after so much time and is (Sam) still torturing you the way he did when you guys were growing up?
(Bruce Campbell): The answer is good and yes. I mean it’s great to get back to this character. It’s probably the most fun character there is to play. Now we can use all of our experience to barrier on this character again and flesh him out even more. And, yes, (Sam) is just as cruel as he always is.
But you guys are still having fun; yes?
(Bruce Campbell): Yes, pretty much.
Well done. How does it feel putting the chainsaw back on and slightly skin?
(Bruce Campbell): It reminded me of how much I hate fake blood. That hatred it runs deep. It runs really deep. It’s one of my least favorite things is adhesive, surgical adhesive and they had to use that for appliances, make up appliances and, yes, fake blood. Because it’s chronic. It gets everywhere.
And is there a connection between the Evil Dead 2013, I know you had a cameo in.
(Bruce Campbell): No connection whatsoever. That was a director who had a whim, who goes I have this great idea. It has nothing to do with anything but I want to do it. I was like, yes, whatever. So, no, no connection whatsoever.
I was wondering now you said in the past that the video games that had come out for Play Station were Evil Dead sequels and we should look at them that way. Will any of those story lines be referenced or did you use them for any personal reference inside your head?
(Bruce Campbell): I’m glad I’m not running for office because guys like you would dig up crap I said randomly 16 years ago. So that’s why I’m not a politician. Because to you I could say that was bologna I made up at the time. Okay. I lied. You got? I lied. So now we move onto the truth. And the truth is I’m glad we had something to finally show fans where I’m not put on the spot all the time to try to make crap up. You know I’m attracted to bombs. We got to clarify that. The bombs. The last three bombed, they were the most expensive. They were too expensive. They didn’t make any money. So people began to think we were lazy or we didn’t want to go back to it. I got news for you, pal, there’s no money in the bank for it. You’re not making anything if there’s no money. So it’s just the raw truth of it. Thankfully, the fans have stepped up through all the DVD reissues. There were 86 versions of Army of Darkness after that. It became an American movie classic, you know, on AMC. And so fans drove it. And they drove it at these personal appearances by tour since ’88. They haven’t let it go. So they finally got it. So regardless of what I said, when I said or how I said it, we’re here. And it’s a good day.
You’ve done so much with this character. What are you looking forward to doing with him now that you have all this experience and the opportunity to do it?
(Bruce Campbell): Well, you know, people have only seen four and a half hours worth of Ash. In this first season alone, we’re going to do five new hours of Ash. So I’m actually looking forward to finally seeing who Ash is going to interact with other people now. He has to be a leader. So it’s a slightly different story in that the character has to evolve. The story has to get bigger. And I’m looking forward to that so that I can take enough time to finally be with Ash. The other movies, you know, I had a week that went by without any dialogue. Like shooting, Evil Dead 2 got trapped in the cabin. So its Ash getting out in the wild, you know, getting into suburbia. So that’s the fun thing to do is interact with other people.
You just mentioned how much of a bomb Army of Darkness was. And I was curious because nothing from Army of Darkness was mentioned in the theme of Pablo explaining the Evil Dead to them. Is that intentional? Are you guys not going to reference any events to that movie in the series?
(Bruce Campbell): Correct.
(Travis Dale): Correct like you’re skipping it over it? It’s not cannon anymore. Or he’s not going to be going back to the other world?
(Bruce Campbell): Correct in that that’s not material that we can do legally so we’re not going to do it. It’s a whole complicated bunch of legal mambo jumbo that’s not even worth going into. The three movies were made by three different companies. So that should tell you call your uncle the lawyer and talk to him about it. He’ll laugh. He’ll go really three movies, three companies and you want to make a TV show. This should be fun. So it’s very complicated to put together. And I’m just really grateful that it all worked out. Here we are. But it means there are things we can include, things we can’t. But, you know, everything that Ash needed was in the first two movies anyway. Anything he ever used so it’s all good.
So we have shows like Softland that have gotten cancelled and then picked up by other shows or I mean by other stations and then the ratings have gone through the roof. And then you have shows like The Walking Dead that have got turned away by other stations and then picked up and then the ratings have gone through the roof. So how does STARZ think handle like this?
(Bruce Campbell): They had what we needed. They gave the budget we were looking for and they gave us the leeway we were looking for and they give us unrestricted content that those movies demand. So they were really — out of the suitors that we had — they were actually the only company that I’m aware out there that could give us that criteria and that did it. That sealed the deal right there. And, you know, look these guys are growing as a company.
I like being part of companies that are growing and expanding rather than shrinking and contracting. And they’re willing to stay on the cutting edge. And they want to do shows that people not only like but they like a lot. And I think we provided something like that for them and I think we’re attracted to them because this show can actually play around the world. Not all TVs can. We started overseas and in the UK and then spread over the world. It makes – I think we’re good partners. I think we’re good for each other.
Can you talk a little bit about the ways that we’re going to Ash fighting personal demons, you know, as well as literal ones within these series?
(Bruce Campbell): Well, if it was an hour show, we’d go into his past. Thank the heavens it’s a half hour show so we’re going to get into Ash and there will be enough about Ash that will make us want him to be our hero forever and ever for all times. And in order to do that, we have to humanize him a little bit. So I think we’ll start see more of a leader with Ash — a little more of actual hero qualities — and, you know, the jerk stuff will still be there. Pure Ash. I mean you’ll get that. But I mean this time around we’re going to hopefully see a likely improved Ash. We’ll see.
What are the modern day trends in horror do you wish to avoid in your show?
(Bruce Campbell): Torture Porn. Just because it’s a bore. I don’t care one way or another about it. I don’t want to rail too much about torture porn. It’s just low grade film making. I would just like to focus on a variety of horror. I want to mess with people’s minds. You want to startle them. You want to shock them. You want to disturb them. And you want to keep them on edge. Horror films are great. You can grab an audience by the scruff of their necks and force them to look at that screen. I think that’s really cool.
The huge variety of media and genres that you worked with from your responses it seems that it’s more where you can delve into, where you can extend your creativity and just goes. That seems to be what draws you. But is there any particular genre and or media that does draw you a little more or that you might be interested in working in further?
(Bruce Campbell): Interesting question. It’s funny. Yes, I go where the work is good. I had some people who represented me years ago who could not understand why I would go to Auckland, New Zealand into the southern hemisphere to work on the show Hercules and then on Xena and Jack of All Trades. They just couldn’t understand it. It was a syndicated show. There’s no network. They got no respect at all. No Emmys. No nothing. And I’m like you don’t get it. You’re not down there on the set with us. We can get away with murder. Murder. And we do. We take the script and we look at it and we see what we can do. We can work with the director, work with the other actors. If somebody has an idea, they do it. It’s the most creative set I’ve ever been on. And the last time I checked as actors, that’s what you’re looking for is creativity. You’re not looking for the Rolls Royce and, you know, the big fancy trailer. Those are supposed to be the byproducts of having fun and then getting good at what you do.
So, I’ll chase that to the end of the Earth which is one of the main reasons when I was going to be Auckland, New Zealand for this show – I mean I have crew members that I know down there that I’ve known for 20 years. These people are extremely gifted at what they do and it makes our job easy because they make it look good and we make it look easy.
And it’s only because now that I work with people that I know that make it so much better. You see them come out of their trailer, you’re cracking jokes, you punch them in the arm, you know, you’re messing with them when they’re on camera trying to get them to break up. You know there’ s a lot of work play involved. And that’s a big appeal to it too. But other than that, the comedy. The comedy can lift your spirits.
(Sam Raimi) explained at the Comic-Con panel that other than his deed, Ash hasn’t really grown in the last 30 years. But do you think during the course of this season, we’ll get to see an evolution of his character?
(Bruce Campbell): Yes. And thanks for asking that. Because you have to. Ash is going to be, you know, he’s always sort of a pronounced character and he’s always going to have his quirks. But, yes, he has to be a leader. The other people in this show around him have to see something in him to make them to follow him on this quest. They obviously because of what’s going to happen to them, they will have a personal stake in this well. So but, yes, Ash has to be a guy who you can actually sit down and reason with from time to time and try to convince him of something. Yes, there’s a lot of decision making to be done and he will have to involve other people against his will.
Special Thanks To Starz.
PODCAST: Emily Hampshire
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