When you hear “Hail To The King” you may think Heisenberg or even Elvis Presley, but there is only one answer… Bruce Fucking Campbell! He is the one go-to actor that stays true to his craft and perfects many roles that can be viewed throughout film and TV over the past thirty years. I have had the opportunity to meet him numerous times at various Comic Cons and Horror conventions, but never had the chance to pick his brain one-on-one. As you could imagine when you talk to one of your biggest influences, it’s hard to keep your composure, and not look like a total she-bitch.
If you have been locked up the past year, then you probably haven’t heard of the return of Ash Williams on the Starz network in the new show, Ash Vs. Evil Dead. But if you are like me, you have been patiently awaiting the return of Ash and all those horrid and grotesque deadites. Ash is probably one of the most iconic characters in horror to this day and it’s a huge deal that a character of this caliber is returning in a ten-episode TV show.
I had the opportunity to view the first two episodes of Ash Vs. Evil Dead before the air date on Halloween and it was nothing short of groovyyyy. In fact, I watched both episodes a total of six times now and I find something more sensational about the show after each viewing. This is a series that doesn’t play it safe, and is splattered with gore and violence that goes straight for the jugular in the opening minutes of the pilot episode.
In the pilot episode, the audience are introduced to our favorite middle-aged, girdle wearing, and one-handed Ash Williams. Minutes within the pilot, the set and camera work are spot on with the original three films. It made me feel all warm and cozy inside. As we view Ash in his current palace of pleasure, the trailer, there is an overview of his current living situation and battle with living a normal life at ValueStop. No not S-Mart, but maybe he moved onto bigger and better things since 1992’s Army of Darkness and left those deadites in his past, or so you think.
Ash uses a newly re-fined rosewood hand made by Italian artisans, a clever pick up line he uses at the local bars to make up for the real story of the lost limb. With his witty charm, Mr. Williams reels in another local watering hole enthusiast, and starts to notice something different in the air… evil. From there he starts to recall the recent smoked induced night he had with the ole Necronomicon, and where shit really starts to hit the fan. Wherever Ash Williams goes, the evil is there waiting to slap him in the face behind every door. There are a few specific scenes where Ash and his co-workers, Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo) and Pablo (Ray Santiago) come face to face with the deadites, and it turns into a bloodbath that is comparable to any of the scenes from Evil Dead 2. What I mean there is nothing but blood splattering, flesh ripping, and limbs falling off that make you appreciate the mind of Sam Raimi. What I really enjoyed about the pilot episode is the use of these practical effects that give it that campy sensation we grew to love in the Evil Dead saga. Ash really hasn’t learned anything since 1981 but his boomstick and chainsaw are ready to go.
Episode two titled “El Hefe” has a meaning behind the name and picks up where the pilot episode left off. Kelly and Pablo, Ash’s two deadite ass kicking sidekicks, are starting to notice the true persona of Ash and why he is the person they see before them. With a few zombie show downs in the episode and some dead loved ones along the way, the trio continue on their voyage to stop the evil. On a side note, there is a side story involving a Michigan State Trooper, Amanda Fisher (Jill Marie Jones) and her hunt to find the answer to all the recent Necronomicon related deaths. But the one character I was really excited to see was Xena Warrior Princess herself, Lucy Lawless who plays Ruby, a mysterious woman that comes across Amanda Fisher in a Michigan diner. What her character is about, I have no idea, but I have a feeling she will come across Ash in the upcoming episodes and help get rid of the evil, once and for all. The episode leaves it open with a few questions that were not resolved, but you know in the coming episodes, there will be more demonic entities, blood trickling death scenes, and infamous one-liners that will make you say “hail to the king, baby.”
Today, I got the pleasure to talk to Bruce Campbell about producing and starring in the new Starz show, Ash Vs. Evil Dead, his previous Evil Dead films, and the craziness that has ensued over the past thirty years.
Nerdlocker (NL): Hi, Bruce. How are you today?
Bruce Campbell (BC): Good, sir. Thank you.
NL: Alright. So I have to ask, what was it like playing Ash again after so many years and is Sam still torturing you the way he did when you guys were growing up?
BC: 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 carry on this character again and flesh him out even more. And, yes, Sam is just as cruel as he always is.
NL: But you guys are still having fun; yes?
BC: Yes, pretty much.
NL: How did it feel putting the chainsaw back on?
BC: 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, the 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.
NL: Is there a connection between the 2013 Evil Dead? I know you had a cameo in it.
BC: 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.
NL: You said in the past that the video games that had come out for Playstation 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?
BC: 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 it? 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 to it. And they drove it at these personal appearances being on tour since 1988. 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.
NL: 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?
BC: 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.
NL: 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?
NL: 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?
BC: 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.
NL: So we have shows like Softland that have gotten cancelled and then picked up 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 handle things like this?
BC: 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 of 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 TV shows 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.
NL: As far as Easter Eggs go, should we be looking for more than just Oldsmobile’s, the ’73 Delta 88.
BC: Well, it’s not even like we’re hiding anything. You know we are bringing back all that stuff. The problem is, you know, it’s a lot of Michigan stuff mostly. It’s Michigan Easter Eggs. There’s Michigan State University, Camp Chappaqua, the place where Sam went to camp, Faygo Red pop, Coney Island, you know, like chili dogs that everybody eats in Michigan. And it takes place in Michigan. So, yes, there’s tons of Easter Eggs. There’s no question about it. You’ll see them in the show. We don’t hide them. The ’72 Delta 88 is the same car that’s been in all the movies. It’s the exact car. It’s not a different car which is pretty incredible. We had it put on a boat and shipped to New Zealand.
NL: Evil Dead was inspired in part by Sam Raimi’s interest in H.P. Lovecraft. You guys grew up together. Were you also a fan of Lovecraft?
BC: No, I didn’t give a rat’s ass about Lovecraft. I read lots of Spider-Man comics. I read a comic called Sad Sack. It was a silly, farmy comedy comic. So that was me. I didn’t really get into that. You know we didn’t get into horror until we decided to make our first feature film because horror was the only type of genre that you could make cheap movies and no one cared. Like you couldn’t make a cheap drama. That would be too low budget. No one would – drama’s had to have good photography and well-known actors and stuff. And horror films, you could still make drive-in movies back in those days. So that’s what we did. And horror, I appreciate now is one of the few genres that can wind the audience up and make them pay attention. I kind of like that. It’s one of the few genres that can be very manipulative there.
NL: I’ve always thought that Ash appeals to genre fans because he’s sort of a societal outcast but he has one really specific skill set, in his case fighting demons. Do you think that is why the horror fans embrace Ash?
BC: Yes, I think it’s the correct assessment. Plus the fact that he has no special skill. He is not trained. He was not part of any government agency. Nothing. So I think when you watch him you go that could be me. The guy that works at 7-11. I mean I could do that. Why not? I’m sick of over-trained heroes. I’m really bored with that. Guys that are just ripped to shreds and, you know, full of skills. That’s boring me. Give me the drive mechanic that picks up a weapon, you know. Now I’m interested. That’s my hero.
NL: In Ash Vs. Evil Dead, are there any advancements in special effects that you are grateful for that you did not have while shooting the film.
BC: Well, we tried to keep the blood real. Digital blood is not effective. We had that in a couple of cases in this pilot. You know, we’re not a big proponent of digitals. So the funny thing is we have better ways of delivering the blood but it doesn’t make any of it easier or better. It just makes them better at hitting me. Their aim is better now. The chance of getting it right on the first take is better now. We do a lot more testing. We’ve used anything from a seed spreader to a paint brush dipped in blood, you know, splattered it on us that way to a Hudson sprayer to a beer keg that converted to a pressurized, basically a blood sprayer and then we had a cannon. So the good news the systems are all better but it doesn’t make my life any easier. It makes it worse.
NL: There are a bunch of different directors on the series. Was there any difficulty for you to move away from working with Sam, especially given the familiarity you two have with the series?
BC: Yes, it’s heartbreaking. Because, you know, you’re used to the old man yelling at you. If somebody starts yelling at me, I’m like I’ll punch you in the face, man. So there’s definitely an adjustment. And look we found a great set. The guys were really happy with the directors that we had. I have no complaints. So it’s hard on everybody. It was me missing the old man and probably directors going, you know, what’s with this guy. Because we had to figure everything out. But, you know, I feel I’m the voice of Ash so I can be at least a constant influence on the character.
NL: Can you talk a little bit about the ways that we’re going to see Ash fighting personal demons, as well as literal ones within the series?
BC: 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 to 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.
NL: What are the modern day trends in horror that you want to avoid with your show?
BC: Torture forms. 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 forms. It’s just low grade filmmaking. 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.
NL: So what’s been the biggest differences in filming Ash for a television series versus filming him in the motion picture world?
BC: Speed is the number one only because you’re on a TV base. And TV is a very efficient median. You get in, you get out. You do it. And I love TV. I love the pace of it because nothing gets stale. Making the other Evil Dead movies, they were great and very informative and very educational for all of us but they are tedious as hell. I think movies are tedious. So bring your big, thick book to work in a big Hollywood movie. But the TV pace will never let you get that bored. You know by lunchtime you’ve given little Billy his medicine back, kissed the girl and killed the bad guy.
NL: One of the things I noticed is that Ash is very different between when he’s actually fighting and when he’s just being Ash. He goes from kind of bumbling, lovable kind of thing to badass. Tell me what that’s about.
BC: It’s about contrast. You know I think with your characters you’ve got to do that. There’s Mickey Mantle at the plate and Mickey Mantle out to drink with the boys. I don’t know. I think its kind of like that with characters – I heard a note from a director to an actor. This is related to me by a friend. And the director said I want you to be a different character in every scene. And the actor was astounding. What are you crazy? I’m only playing one character. His point was that there was so much depth to humans and each individual. So in order to come close to the complexity to the most boring average person, you’d have to play each scene as a completely different character to even start to see the glimpses of all the sides of a person or even a character. So even though I’m doing a cheesy horror series there is still some art to it.
NL: It seems that this might be more of a road series, a little bit maybe around Michigan or maybe beyond that too if you can comment on that.
BC: Well, part of that depends on how the story evolves. The first season I think is definitely putting the genie in a bottle. After that, you got to see what roots take hold. So I think there might be some information that’s gleaned that might take it in whatever direction it goes. So I don’t know that it’s necessarily going to be a road series. But it’s definitely going to be a slightly nomadic situation with the car, with the trailer. Yes, they are able to roll because they kind of have to roll.
NL: The tone of the pilot is spot on. It really nails the original three films. I was wondering how much work you did on getting back to that tone.
BC: We don’t. What we do is, we do whatever entertains us on the set. And that’s really the bottom line. The tone meetings I think come after Sam leaves the directors and talks about it. But Sam and I never talk about films. He’s the one that’s like, you know, if you put the star of your show in a man girdle while playing sequence of the show. That takes balls for a director — a writer or director — to create that or do that with his character so, I challenge other directors. I’m like, I bet you can’t be as daring as Sam as far as messing with the character and really showing their flaws — their naked flaws.
NL: You have worked the gamut in regards to projects in the entertainment industry. 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?
BC: 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 in 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 makes 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.
NL: What was it like being reunited with Lucy Lawless and what has her presence added to this show?
BC: She’s a badass. She’s a great addition to the show. She can step in and do anything we need her to do which is spectacular. She’s a great actress with an incredible amount of versatility. She can do comedy which is great and she can kick ass. So we’re lucky, lucky, lucky. So I think you can look forward to her having an increasingly expanding role in this show and that’s critical to me because I’ve always loved Lucy. She was great when I worked with her on Xena and knowing that she was going to be available. She wasn’t available right away during this first season. So when she was, I was like her husband’s (Rob Tapert) my partner. I said Rob, you better sit down with your wife at dinner and you better lock this in. So, yes, it’s important to get her back. We’re really happy. Lucky.
NL: I was wondering if there’s going to be any Michigan spoilers, if you will. If there’s going to be any really great ones like Flint or Detroit?
BC: Well, I hope so. I hope that Michigan references will never end. Because if you’re setting your show in Michigan, we’re definitely going to have that. I want Ferndale. I want Royal Oak in there where I was born. But don’t – you’re going to see a whole lot of references in the show. I hold my hand like the map where I’m trying to talk to some guy about where something is. So, yes, it’s all Michigan all the time.
NL: Have you had any desire to write or direct an episode of the series?
BC: No, this is really Sam’s baby and I’m sort of the Burn Notice territory as a director, also which gives me a great position with the star because I didn’t get in any kind of authoritative figure with them. I’m a fair director when I direct. I kind of want what I want. And, no, this works great. I have so much to do with Ash, I don’t really have any desire for that.
NL: 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?
BC: 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 do because of what’s going to happen to them, they will have a personal stake in this well. 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.
NL: I got the chance to watch the pilot episode and, holy shit, it was glorious. How do you think the fans will react and was it complicated to get back in the mindset of Ash?
BC: No, it’s not complicated to get back in the mindset of Ash. It’s difficult to get out of the bed the morning after you do a fight scene. My recuperative powers aren’t as strong. What was the first part of your question? Oh, fan reaction. Well, you know, we did it for them so I hope they like it. It’s got everything they’ve always demanded. So this time it’s maybe done a little classier.
NL: Are there already talks about a season two because I just want more and more.
BC: Well, the only hints that I would say that production has to prepare for the next season. Meaning you have to send the leases on warehouses and you have to get a writer’s room going. So there are things that are taking place that would indicate that. But there’s been no official announcement. But we haven’t been stopped from doing the necessary press for another season. How’s that for you?
NL: Ash is no longer just by himself in the cabin. He has a pair of friends and companions in Ray and Dana’s characters. I was just wondering what it’s like to kind of share the blood splatter this time around?
BC: I like it because now I only get a third of it. Now, they get part of it. Spread the love, man. Spread the blood around. And it was great to see them all being initiated. That was a wonderful experience to see the true horror and shock on their faces when they see that stuff. They just nail them. Right in your face. The reactions on each face. You could tell his expression was totally pissed. And it’s great because it works perfectly for the scene. Because when they first get hit with the blood, none of us have to act because we’re all like, oh my God, because you act just like you would.
NL: It’s interesting that the franchise has evolved through the comics and the games and the fan fiction and that it has definitely evolved the character of Ash. Was there any of that discussed before going into the series that the expectations from fans might be a little bit different?
BC: No, I don’t think the fan’s expectations have changed from the basics. We will always give them the basic which is carnage, mayhem, some good one-liners, an unusual hero. I think part of the attraction that fans will continue to like is that he’s a good guy. He might be an idiot but he’s a good guy and he’s always going to try to do the right thing against ridiculous odds.
NL: I wanted to talk about the scale of the rest of season one. Because in Evil Dead, you guys are all trapped in a cabin. This time you’re out in sort of the free world. It seems to be hinting the Deadites are going to be a more global or at least national scale. Can you talk a little bit about the overall threats?
BC: Well, I don’t think it’s one of these situations where it’s like World War Z or something like that. No, I think this is something more like local regional at least for right now. But it’s definitely a threat and it’s definitely coming from one area. It’s definitely near where Ash was.
NL: So the first episode captured that great balance of horror and comedy from the films. I was wondering if you’re going to keep with that balance or if we’re going to see more episodes that are more horror centric and more serious or ones that are more completely slap sticky or is the balance going to be more maintained?
BC: I think we’re going to keep a pretty good balance. It’s a horror show where we do take the horror seriously. So a fan of only horror I don’t think will be insulted by our approach of horror. We take it very seriously and hopefully we’ll give them some good stuff to freak out about. The comedy for me let’s everybody know that wink this is ultimately entertainment. For me, it takes the creepiness out a little bit because it’s still over the top. But it becomes nothing that you can see on the six o’clock news. That’s what has always appealed to me about this approach.
NL: Over the years I imagine you’ve probably been approached by any number of writers with all kinds of ideas for Ash and the Evil Dead. For years, there was the Ash versus Freddy versus Jason rumor floating around. Can you talk about maybe a few of the things some of the more crazy ideas that people pitched you about the Evil Dead that you’re probably much happier to have done this TV show instead of?
BC: Oh, yes. I mean this TV show – look the good news here is none of us are tormented about doing some bastardized version of the show or the movie. This is going to be as true to form as possible with the kind of man the whole approach. As far as other projects, the one was a conversation with New Line about doing Ash versus Jason versus Freddy. And I was interested because I wanted to kill them both but we were informed that no one is killing anybody and we would only have control over what happens to the Ash character. We couldn’t control the story. We couldn’t control what Ash does to anybody else. I’m like this sounds really not creative. So I’m so glad that we’re back to this again because we can finally do it right.
NL: In the Army of Darkness uncut version you’ve got a love scene where it’s very passionate and the silk sheets and all that. And then this Ash gives a woman a piece of Ash in the bathroom. How awkward was it for you to shoot that scene?
BC: Awkward? Sex scenes are always awkward. I don’t dig them. But it works either comedic or story effect. In this case, we used it trigger a story point so I didn’t have a problem with it, because it wasn’t completely random. It was actually leading up to something.
NL: What do you think makes Ash so prolific to audiences.
BC: Because he’s just like you. We make our own problems every time. Everything that we complain about is something we can solve. So that’s why I think Ash is universal because it’s like looking into the mirror.
NL: What I really noticed was in that scene with the doll was very much like almost the scene with your hand from Evil Dead 2. I was wondering how it was acting with, you know, that was going to be CG rather than, you know, in Evil Dead you actually had a hand, messing around, you were holding it, hitting it and all that kind of stuff because it was, you know, your hand. What was the difference there?
BC: Well, everything. You have a physical thing and something ethereal in another case. It’s all acting so it doesn’t really matter whether you’re fighting with your actual hand or fake hand. It’s all fake. So the level of fakery doesn’t go up or down. It’s all fake. Like where does the music come. Whenever I get something about logic question I go, where does the music come from in the movies? There’s never any answer.
NL: I wanted to talk about one of my favorite things in some of Sam’s other films and that’s your cameos. They are usually the funniest parts of the films. I’m just wondering if we can expect Sam to make any cameos throughout the season?
BC: Oh, cameos from (Sam)? Oh my God, I don’t think so. (Sam) is more like (Howard Hughes) these days. (Sam) is Oz the great and powerful, you know, hiding behind the curtains. He just wants to work his magic back in a mysterious way.
NL: I really like the supporting the cast. How long did it take to find them, specifically Ray?
BC: You never know. You never know until you audition. So as executive producer, I pick my battles in what I get involved in. And one of them is casting because I know I’m going to be stuck on a set with those people. So we went through a lot of rigorous stuff. We had to make sure these people were healthy and rigorous and had a lot of patience and could deal with a lot of special effects — a lot of just difficult, uncomfortable filmmaking. So Ray I thought we got fortunate with. He’s got a spectacular way about him. He’s got a great mug and sweet guy. And so I think my hope is to go to conventions and with those guys and watch them get swamped. That would be the greatest joy of mine is to watch Dana and Ray and Jill Marie Jones go to these conventions and be tormented. It would make me very happy.
NL: I’m really glad you mentioned working as an executive producer on Ash versus Evil Dead. What are some of the challenges, as well as benefits, of assuming multiple roles on a project.
BC: Well, the challenge is it just takes up more of your life. But the benefits are you can control more of what your output is and try to make it something you’re happy about. And sometimes it’s just you don’t really have any input. I was in this position on Burn Notice and I knew they never really had to listen to me. So when I made suggestions they were always happy, they were very friendly. And I would send them to the executive producer knowing that I didn’t expect anything. In this case, it’s a little more, it goes beyond suggestion. You know it’s more like, let’s do this and do that. But I have two great partners in Rob Tapert and Sam Raimi and we never really hit an impasse because we have three people. If anyone ever wants a partnership, go in with three people. You’ll never hit an impasse.
NL: The show is only a half hour show. Why isn’t it an hour long drama?
BC: Because then it would be boring. And not what we wanted and not a comedy. A half hour is the only format that gives us the pace that we need and the tone that we need and I think it’s perfect for a modern audience. I don’t know if we need a ponderant Ash. We need a quick witted fast moving Ash.
NL: You’ve been with Ash on and off for several years now. What personally would you like to change about his character on the series from which we see on the movies as he grows, evolves and change?
BC: Well, I don’t want to get too ethereal about it. There’s not a whole lot I want to change. He’s just becoming more of a leader. More of a guy that’s going to, you know, inspire people and you know he’s going to be like a teacher, educator, kind of mentor tormentor. So there will be a little more of that. You know kind of an Ash figure to some of the characters in the film between Dana and Ray. You’re going to have a little bit of that, like an uncle father type. So that’s what I’m looking forward to.
NL: What has the fan reaction been like since you’ve been promoting Ash versus the Evil Dead?
BC: They’re like, it’s about time. I mean they’re really, they’re not angry but they’re like okay, finally. I think they’re really resolved. They’re like okay. I think they feel like they’ve marched. Their years of tormenting us have finally paid off. And I think they’re actually satisfied that it’s as close to the real thing as you’re going to get of putting the original elements back together again.
NL: As the show starts off, you’re in a trailer just as you were in My Name is Bruce. What’s the deal with the trailer?
BC: Well, that’s your own parallel. One is a movie and one is just Ash. But trailers are typifying at least in people’s minds low budget situations. And that was the goal there. So I wouldn’t draw too much into it.
NL: Is this season self-contained in case there’s not a second season?
BC: Well, every show that’s designed as a TV show has to be designed for multiple seasons. It will feel contained. I think you will feel very satisfied by the end of the season but there’s no question about it. It’s designed for more.
NL: I was pleased to see that Ash still has the Necronomicon in his possession after all he’s been through. Will we find out why he had it?
BC: As far as the Necronomicon, I wouldn’t get too much into why Ash did or didn’t have the book. I think it’s an Ash thing not to do anything, to chuck it away. He tried to burn it and it didn’t work anyway.
NL: Ash versus the Evil Dead has the perfect feel for Halloween. Are there any favorite horror movies that you like to watch around this time of year?
BC: I like the original Exorcist. The very first one done by (William Friedkin). It’s just so well done. It’s a professionally made movie but it’s really, really disturbing. And Linda Blair is just off the charts great.
NL: After completing your first film, did you guys expect to get this big?
BC: Well, no one can expect anything to happen. The film industry, the entertainment industry. It’s always, you never know what’s going to happen next. So, no — no one had any idea. We didn’t think we were going to finish the stupid movie. It took at least three years to finish the movie.
NL: Why make the show now instead of like ten years ago?
BC: Well, because I think TV finally caught up to us. TV, until you had these premium services where they were not worried about content, our show wouldn’t have worked. It wouldn’t work as a TV show. This show would not work on cable. And this show would totally not work on broadcast. The only way it worked under these circumstances which are now. Plus we realized economically making a $200 million feature was not the answer here. If you want to entertain people continuously with Ash, it’s got to be in a form of a TV show.
NL: Speaking of the Necronomicon, it just seems like with the show you have the opportunity to expand upon the mythology of it and to kind of expand what kind of creatures Ash will face. Is that going to happen in season one?
BC: Well, absolutely. You know it’s not like we’re going to have a creature of the week but Ash is going to need many new demons and entities and forces he had not encountered before. That’s the cool thing of doing a weekly TV show. You can hit him with a bunch of demons.
NL: What do you think the recipe is for the perfect Evil Dead episode?
BC: Well the recipe is the right mix. It’s like baking a cake. You know if you use baking powder instead of baking soda, it’s a disaster. So in our case if our floor gets a little dark, we can lighten with a little humor. And if we get a little loopy, we can hit it with some horror, you know? But pace and a sense of fun is also very important too.
NL: If you could expand on another character that you’ve played, Briscoe, Ace, Boomer, Fantail for example, who would that be?
BC: I would expand Briscoe for sure. Because you know every actor wants to be a cowboy. That was a great year. It was one pretty much solid year of being a cowboy and promoting and doing this stuff. If I never did it again, I’d be okay with it because it was a very fulfilling year, very hard working year. But I wouldn’t mind going back to that. He was a good character. He was really fun. It’s probably the closest to an actual good guy like a real heroic type who hopefully, you know, was smart enough to be interesting.
NL: Looking at the first episode we see Ash trolling for some last call ass and just happened to grab some magnum condoms. Was that your personal contribution to the beginning of the episode?
BC: No, mine was that he was going to take two condoms. He goes to take one condom, he thinks about it and he goes, no, I think I might need two. It might be a two condom night. The magnum is what it is.
NL: Are you like Ash in every day life?
BC: Oh, dear God. Every actor is going to have a little of something of them in any character they play. Any actor says they crawl inside their role and disappear they’re not telling the truth. I think what you do is with a character you take the worst sides of yourself and you amplify them or you take the best sides of yourself and you amplify them or you kind of mix it all around. Yes, there’s going to be a little bit of Ash in me and a little bit of me in him. No way to get around it.
NL: It raises the stakes when there is something for the hero to lose. Is Ash going to have a significant love interest in the series or is he going to be satisfied with having two condom sex with strangers?
BC: You’re going to see. Ash considers himself an aging Lazarus. He’s not giving up on that. You’re going to see a little something-something from the old man.
Bruce’s final words…..
Thank you very much for for your time and attention. We appreciate it. We need your support. Some of our fans. Some of you don’t know anything about that series. Hopefully, you can find out and enjoy it. This is for the fans. It’s for the fans.
I am giving Ash vs. Evil Dead a 5 out of 5 Nerd Skulls.
Check out the trailer below:
Ash vs. Evil Dead is currently playing on Starz.
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