Interview with “Ash vs The Evil Dead” star Bruce Campbell

I was fortunate enough to be included in a conference call interview with Bruce Campbell the other day, and I’ve got the highlights for you here! But before I get to that:

The night before the interview, I watched the Ash vs. The Evil Dead pilot (it premieres October 31 on Starz), and I loved it. If you’re a fan of the movies, you won’t be disappointed. That’s all I’ll say about it right now — I don’t want to spoil any part of the experience for you.

Here are a few things I learned in the interview:

Ash is still in possession of the Necronomicon. Bruce Campbell said the show wouldn’t really get into why, but added: “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.”

Bruce Campbell loves the fact that Ash has no special skills: “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.”

Ash will become a leader: “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.”

He continued: “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.”

Sam Raimi was a Lovecraft fan, but Bruce Campbell wasn’t (I asked him about this): “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. 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 – dramas 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 wound 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.”

There will continue to be a balance between humor and horror: “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.”

He was once approached by New Line about doing an “Ash vs. Jason vs. Freddy” movie: “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.”

The show will expand on the Evil Dead mythology: “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.”

Bruce Campbell is doing this for the fans. He thanked all of us at the end of the call, and said: “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.”

Watch Ash vs. The Evil Dead on Halloween, on the Starz channel!

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