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Happy Halloween everyone! Today marks the day that Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell will once again be bringing the Evil Dead back to life. Ash picking up his chainsaw and boomstick will be a special time for a lot of fans. The Starz series ASH VS EVIL DEAD looks to carry on the traditions of what we know and love about Evil Dead. Daily Dead spoke with Bruce Campbell about the upcoming show as well as many other things.
Will there be a connection between ASH VS EVIL DEAD and Fede Alvarez's 2013 EVIL DEAD film?
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."
On Ash "getting out in the wild" in the series:
Bruce Campbell: "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 how 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. Evil Dead 2 got trapped in the cabin. So it's Ash getting out in the wild, you know, getting into suburbia. So that's the fun thing to do is interact with other people."
On not being able to reference ARMY OF DARKNESS in the series:
Bruce Campbell: "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 mumbo jumbo that's not even worth going into. The three movies were made by three different companies. 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."
On EVIL DEAD Easter eggs fans can keep an eye out for:
Bruce Campbell: "Well, it's not even like we're hiding anything. We are bringing back all that stuff. It's a lot of Michigan stuff, mostly. It's Michigan Easter eggs. There's Michigan State University, Camp Chappaqua, the place where [Sam Raimi] 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."
On whether or not he shared Sam Raimi's passion for H.P. Lovecraft in his formative years:
Bruce Campbell: "No, I didn't give a rat's ass about Lovecraft. I read lots of Spiderman 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. 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.
You couldn't make a cheap drama. That would be too low-budget. Drama has to have good photography and well-known actors. 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 and 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."
On the widespread appeal of Ash:
Bruce Campbell: "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.
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 full of skills. That's boring me. Give me the mechanic that picks up a weapon. Now I'm interested. That's my hero."
On working with practical effects on the series:
Bruce Campbell: "We tried to keep the blood real. Digital blood is not effective. We had that in a couple of cases in this pilot. 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, splattered it on us that way to a Hudson sprayer to a beer keg that converted to basically a pressurized 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."
On the transition to working with directors in the world of EVIL DEAD other than Sam Raimi post the series pilot:
Bruce Campbell: "Yes, it's heartbreaking, because 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, "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."
On the different paces of ASH VS EVIL DEAD and the EVIL DEAD films:
Bruce Campbell: "TV is a very efficient medium. 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. 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. By lunchtime you've given little Billy his medicine back, kissed the girl and killed the bad guy."
On Ash's versatility:
Bruce Campbell: "It's about contrast. 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 heard a note from a director to an actor. This is relayed to me by a friend. And the director said, "I want you to be a different character in every scene." And the actor was astounded. "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."
On returning to New Zealand to shoot ASH VS EVIL DEAD:
Bruce Campbell: "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 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 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."
On Ash being a leader:
Bruce Campbell: "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 follow him on this quest. 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."
On sharing the blood splatter with co-stars Ray Santiago and Dana DeLorenzo:
Bruce Campbell: "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 [Ray's] 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."
On how widespread the Deadite threat is in the series:
Bruce Campbell: "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 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."
On the FREDDY VS JASON VS ASH idea that was pitched years ago:
Bruce Campbell: "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."
On Ash being more of a mentor this time around:
Bruce Campbell: "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 inspire people and 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 [DeLorenzo's character, Kelly] and [Ray's character, Pablo]. You’re going to have a little bit of that, like an uncle/father type. So that's what I'm looking forward to."
On what Horror movie he likes to watch around Halloween:
Bruce Campbell: "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."
On the types of creatures Ash will encounter:
Bruce Campbell: "It's not like we're going to have a creature of the week, but Ash is going to meet 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."
The 10 episode half-hour series ASH VS EVIL DEAD will debut tonight, Halloween night on Starz. ASH VS EVIL DEAD has already been greenlit for a second season.