Ash vs Evil Dead Press Conference with Bruce Campbell

1We loved the first season of Ash vs Evil Dead being that it contained all the barmy bloodshed, groovy gore and outrageous action we loved in Sam Raimi’s original movie. If you didn’t watch it shame on you and go do it now because Season 2 is coming and its going to be even better!

Set 30 years after the original movie Ash vs Evil Dead expanded on the sinister story of the Necronomicon introducing new heroes, new villains and best of all bringing back the legendary Bruce Campbell as Ash one of horror and cinema’s greatest anti-hero’s.

Wielding a chainsaw on one arm and his boom stick in the other and cracking wise on every Deadite he destroys after the epic battle ended Series 2 takes Ash on a trip down memory lane seeing him return to his home town and letting the fans finally find out all about his past.

It is safe to say we were ecstatic when we got an invite for the STARZ International Press Conference Call with Bruce Campbell to discuss the new series among other things along with a bunch of other reporters from across Europe and Canada. We spent at least 2 days fighting over who got to do it and after 17 rounds of rock, paper, spleen I finally won much to Zombie1’s dismay.

Campbell was as hilarious and insightful as you would imagine chatting for around 30 minutes about Ash vs Evil Dead series 1 and 2 and lots more including some spoilers! Below is the interview transcript in full including a question from yours truly (marked up so you don’t miss it!) I can now tick 1 item off my Horror Bucket List and let’s hope the next interview we get to meet in person.

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Question: Hello. I’m a big fan of you and the show. It’s very nice to talk to you. Please tell me after playing Ash in movies and now into two seasons of the series, don’t you feel a little bored of the character? Do you still like this guy?

Bruce Campbell: I’m not bored with the character at all. It’s becoming my favorite character I’ve ever played. So by doing, by expanding the character and getting to know him better is making him more and more interesting to me. So it’s just, it’s having the opposite effect. I’m becoming more and more interested in playing him rather than less and less interested. Because, you know, we didn’t even know that much about Ash before. He was really a two-dimensional character. So adding that third dimension is really what does it for me.

Question: Hello. Alexandre Poncet from France. You just said that it was a two-dimensional character before and now you’re just looking at it. And it’s interesting because it’s a caddish character, you know, by essence and was it difficult to find a way to dilute the character without losing the caddish effects?

Bruce Campbell: No. Ash will always be a buffoon and an idiot and make horrible mistakes, I hope. But you can still find more of a humanity where Ash will make decisions that are for the greater good sometimes so that he’ll risk life and limb to save somebody else’s life with no regard for his. So, Ash will slowly be morphing into a true hero, like a real hero. Right now, he’s a reluctant flawed hero. But I think over time, he will eventually become a better human and that’s what the whole point is.

5Question: Nazrie from France. We love you. And in the second season was there more about Ashley’s tasks and you’re playing the character of Ash for 15 years now. Did you participate in the writing of the evolution and background?

Bruce Campbell: To clarify, I’ve been playing Ash for 37 years. So, it’s a little more than 15.

Question Okay. Sorry

Bruce Campbell: That’s okay. The very first movie was 1979 and so, yes, it’s been a long time. I’m involved with the character a lot. I’m involved with the writing of the character and it’s important for writers and actors to get in sync with the character and I think we’ve started to do that. We’re going to continue to evolve Ash the myth. Because, you know, Ash is, even though he’s an idiot, he is written of in the Necronomicon. He is foretold in ancient books. So there is something mythical to Ash and we’ll continue to develop that.

Question: Hi. Tomás from Argentina. Exploring the character, I wanted to know what does the arrival of Ash’s father and the return of Cheryl mean for him and for the show?

Bruce Campbell: Having Ash’s father appear in the show now let’s you know where Ash came from. Some of Ash’s catch phrases you come to realize they’re not even his own. They were come up with by his father and he’s just sort of imitating his dad. It’s to show a little bit of the lineage, the family history. With the return of his sister Cheryl, that’s going to get really strange. And there’s another couple of Easter Eggs coming this season of returning characters that are beloved in the series. So stay tuned for that.

Question: Hi Bruce. I’m Andrea from Italy. I’m very curious about the second episode of Season 2 because there’s a particular scene involving you and the corpse inside a morgue and it’s literally fucking awesome. I want to know everything about the scene without spoiling too much for those who haven’t seen it. Who came up with the idea? Was it difficult to shoot? Who suggested the gory gags of this specific, awesome moment?8

Bruce Campbell: Well, the sequence was, of course, I think initially proposed by Ivan Raimi and then developed by the writing staff. Craig DiGregorio was there, our show runner. And it was highly encouraged by Rob Tapert, the producer. So the sequence as crazy as it is now, wasn’t as crazy. It kept getting added to because they were like, oh, wait a second. Let’s do this as well. Well, while we’re at it, let’s do that. And so filming it, as you could imagine, was a pain in the ass in more ways than one, a very challenging sequence but I’m glad that you mentioned it because just by the fact that you mentioned it, hopefully we will have succeeded in just creating a sequence that was memorable. That’s the whole goal I think with entertainment is trying to do things that are memorable in your work. So I’m glad you remember that scene.

Question: Hello. Marina Dupeyrat from France. First of all, I just want to say that my husband and I are really great fans of your show, your films, and thank you for everything. And this is my question, you played Ash many times for many years. Is this like another part of you? Do you sometimes think about what he’s truly said or done for some precise moments and kind of give us some examples of such a situation?

Bruce Campbell: Well, I think with Ash, Ash doesn’t have a lot of regrets because he makes so many mistakes. If he had regrets, he’d be regretting all the time. So, I think in the case of Ash, we want to make sure we just keep developing him and having something of a conscience so when he does make mistakes, hopefully he can acknowledge that and try and become better. But I think a lot of times in playing the character, there are some things after that fact that you look back and you could have done differently or whatever. But that’s the nice thing about television, eventually you’ll just do so much material that you’ll pretty much be able to cover anything that you wanted to do for that character. So I look forward to what they come up with.

Question: Hello, Bruce. I’m from Chile. The series allows us to explore more deeply into the original story. What new things did you discover this time about your character and the franchise? And if you had to re-watch the original movies to play the character again?

2Bruce Campbell: Oh no. I didn’t have to re-watch anything to bring Ash back. Thankfully Sam Raimi directed the first episode of the show and so that made it very easy because he reminded everybody of how we should be doing this. We’re going to find out, hopefully this season, that, you know, Ash had some regrets about his past and that he really did want to correct some of these things. That they really were bothering him. And, you know, we get to see what makes Ash sad, what bothers him, things that have always haunted him. He has to confront all of these literally skeletons in his closet from his past. And so that was fun to do this year, to go back and create his actual bedroom with all of the detail that’s in there, and you know, our crew did a great, great job dressing everything. They had to create Ash’s boyhood home, what would that look like. And I think it’s just great we can go to places we’ve never explored before. That’s the beauty of television.

Question:Hi. I’m Delphine from France. Speaking of the scene in the morgue, you had so much creative freedom on the show and you clearly have raised the bar in Season 2. Was there, at some point, any sign of concern from Starz?

Bruce Campbell: Starz is a great partner. They, I think, they really, truly understand that what the fans want is unrestricted content. And when it came time to decide who to partner with for the show, one of our biggest considerations was creative freedom and the ability to be offensive, honestly, if we wanted to be or the ability to say certain words or the ability to do certain things with certain characters that other shows wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole. So they’ve been really good to us and hopefully we can reward them with a successful show. And they’ve been tremendously supportive and I think they finally realized how much of a fan base there is and how strong the fan base is. And how grateful they are to have more “Evil Dead” in their lives. And so, hopefully everyone will be happy.

Question: Hi. Melissa Girimonte from Canada. I thought the casting of Lee Majors as Ash’s dad was inspired. What can you tell us about their relationship? I know in the first two episodes they kind of alluded to the fact that they may have been romantic rivals at times? So what can you share about their relationship?6

Bruce Campbell: It’s bad. It’s a bad relationship. It gets worse because they were happy, well not really happy, but they were fine not dealing with each other. And, you know, it happens in families all the time and it’s really tragic when it happens. But it makes it perfect sense that Ash, being sort of a flawed hero, to have a crappy relationship with his family. And that his dad, you know, Ash, the misperceptions of what Ash did caused his father problems because no one wanted to deal with him anymore. Because they basically thought his son was a serial killer. So a lot of that is going to come bubbling up and not really in a happy way. Yes, they’re competitors, which is why it’s so important to get Lee Majors because we wanted a guy who was known for being like a ladies man. And, you know, Lee is really good at that and he has a great sense of humor and we were lucky to get him. I don’t use the word luck very often, but we were lucky to get Lee Majors. Because I think he wound up really working well. It’s one thing to get a guy like that, but you know, do they fit the show, are they good, are they funny? And Lee’s everything. He’s everything we could have hoped for.

Love Horror: Oh hi it’s Alex Humphrey from Love Horror in the UK. I wanted to say congratulations on wining the Best Actor on Television at the Saturn Awards and at the Fangoria Chainsaw Awards, which is obviously made for Ash. There’s not really anyone else that could have won that award.

Bruce Campbell: I know. Right?

Love Horror: Yes, they just made for you, obviously. You give a massively physical performance in both series. Not only with the all the fight scenes but in the physical comedy as well. How do you prepare for all of that and do you enjoy doing all those action scenes?

Bruce Campbell: Stretch. You stretch, that’s what you do. And it’s never enough! I pulled my hamstring this year. I pulled part of my hamstring and then, of course, the last two weeks of shooting, what did we have to do? Fight. Nothing but fight scenes. So, yes, physically it’s a nightmare doing the show. But the story demands it. Ash as a character is tormented and basically suffers the torment of the dance. And so you have to do that, whether we like it or not. We have a sequence where, you know, even Ash’s difficulties with his own car, the classic. And so at one moment, I get hit by my own car and so I let him hit me. I thought, how’s this going to work? So we went over it and they described the shots they wanted to do. And I’m like, well, based on that shot, shouldn’t it be me kind of going over the hood and splatting on the windshield? They were like, well, yes. I’m like, well, then let’s do that. So we figured out a way to do it, which I regretted because once you do it from one angle, you have to do it for like three or four angles. So, yes, that was a long shooting day. So it’s like that. There’s no other way around it. You know, physical therapy is my best friend right now as I rehab between seasons.

Question: Hi. It’s Manuela from Italy. There is no censorship in the show. If you could please comment.

Bruce Campbell: Yes. I believe if I understood you correctly. I believe one of the appeals of the show is that it does not have restricted content. That you could potentially when you turn that show on, anything could happen. And I think that’s what gives the fans, I would say, a sense of excitement. And that’s to the unknown that with no holds barred, what will happen? And the answer’s usually, it’s pretty bad. So we’re glad to be able to offer that to the viewers because so many things are restricted. If Ash was made on any other network, if it was on American cable or American broadcast, this show would be butchered. It wouldn’t be anything like it is now. So we’re very grateful that we wound up on Starz. It’s the perfect home
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Question: Hi. I’m Lorenza from Italy. As a producer, you are also producer of the show. What say do you really have in the second season if there is something you really care about or something you really don’t want to have to do in the show?

Bruce Campbell: Why those, you know, I could say no to those things, I suppose being a producer. But I’d still have to look at it as a viewer and I ask myself, would the viewers want to see a crazy, ridiculous sequence like that? And the answer is, I think yes. And so sometimes you have to allow them to shove your head up a cadaver’s butt. There’s no other way around that playing the part of Ash. Some very disagreeable things are going to happen to you. But I think the other actors got it pretty bad this year. Lucy [Lawless] had a particular problem with, it was like a snot. Like one of the creatures kind of like barfed up a whole wad of very snotty, gross, liquidy sticky material and it was, she thought it was worse than the blood. And the character Kelly [Dana DeLorenzo], the one sequence they told her that they had used about 25 gallons – I don’t what that means in liters, probably, you know, I’d say 15 liters of blood just for one shot to cover her with blood. So she’s been completely covered. Ray Santiago who plays Pablo, he has a very difficult season this year also, in Season 2, because he’s going to be becoming more familiar with the underworld and with the strange things that relate to the Book of the Dead. So he’s going to be suffering some of the torment of the dammed himself. It’s a very challenging, it was very challenging for everybody this season. So we just hope it’s fun for the viewers, because it’s not necessarily fun for us.

Question: Hello. I’m Judit from Hungary. Can you tell us more about the, will we know more about the origin of Ash? When he’s in the book?

Bruce Campbell: Yes. I think as every season goes by, we will learn more of that. Because Ash is foretold. He’s not just a normal character. He is a character that has some mythology related to him and I think every year we’ll find more and more about what his relationship is and why he was foretold and what his purpose is. What his greater purpose is, which, you know, we have to reveal slowly, I think. You don’t want to give it all away, but I think it’s safe to say that Ash is more than just a regular idiot.

Question: Hello. Hi. I’m Valentina from Italy. I want to know if you, like your character, are getting older, are you mad about that?3

Bruce Campbell: Well, as an actor we have the unique ability to be able to look back and see ourselves in our physical prime. You know, from 20, 30 years ago. So sort of the beauty and the horror of being an actor. I probably feel about the same as Ash about getting older. It hurts more, it’s harder to memorize lines, I can’t stand on my feet as well. You know, sometimes your back gives out. You know, it’s just, the physical, because this show’s a very physical show and everybody puts in long, hard days of filming and they’re not getting any easier. So this was a definite reminder of my own mortality, for sure.

Question: Hello. This is Andrew Powell from Canada. I actually have a question for Ash. That okay?

Bruce Campbell: Sure. Why not?

Question: What’s the greatest thing that you’ve done with your life so far?

Bruce Campbell: Got laid a lot.

Question: Are there things that maybe you feel you’ve accomplished so far?

Bruce Campbell: Yes. Some chick was drunk once and I took her home and didn’t try and have sex with her. I think that was pretty noble.

Question: Hi. Elodie from France. You mentioned that Lee Majors has joined the show as Ash’s father. I wanted to know, how did you convince a man like him to join such a crazy show?

Bruce Campbell: Well, we approached him with great supplication and we asked him if he would be interested and much to his credit, he said, well, let me just look at the show. Let me see your first season. And we showed that to him and this horror category isn’t really, I don’t think it’s his bag. It’s not really his genre that he likes. But he found it to be really funny and he says he laughed all the way through it and that’s what convinced him. So thankfully, it’s the comedic elements that are what attracted him to this. And so I don’t care what got him, we were happy to have him.

4Question: Hi. This is William Mullaly from Dubai UAE. So, you talk about how the fans are while you’re doing this and it’s the fans that drove this over the years. But the cult has obviously grown and changed and there are new generations that have entered it. So how different are the fans that you interact with now then the ones that have originally helped keep “Evil Dead” in the public consciousness back in the ‘90s and ‘80s?

Bruce Campbell: I would say that the fans are very similar. They are people who tend to be a little more socially uncomfortable who have rich inner lives. And so they can kind of live vicariously through Ash. And I think like any fan of any genre or something that, you know, you want to take people on a vicarious ride. And I think Ash is something that the average viewer can relate to because he has no special skills. He’s not CIA or FBI, he’s not an ex anything. He’s just kind of an idiot with an attitude. And so I think it’s really what has carried him through all this and I’m not sure if I wrapped up your point succinctly. But, I’ll leave it at that

Question: Hello. Olivier from France. I was wondering how involved is Sam Raimi today with the show? Did he come on the set and does he contribute to the storyline sometimes?

Bruce Campbell: Sam is sort of the Grand Poobah who looks at the big picture and it’s important that somebody does that. So, yes, Sam watches episodes and, you know, he’ll comment on directors and storylines. So, yes, he’s involved as much as a big director can be. He’s got plenty of other projects going so we’re happy to have him whenever we can get him.

Question: Hi. This is Jan from Germany. The success of “Ash” back in the day didn’t start in America. It started actually in the UK, so are there any plans of bringing “Ash” and the plot of the franchise ever to Europe?

56656Bruce Campbell: That’s a funny question. We’re always grateful to Mother England for spawning “Evil Dead.” I mean, they were the first ones to embrace it. So, but that only played out only behind the scenes. Unfortunately for Ash, he’s quintessentially American, as a character. I think you could potentially do that and you could show it, well don’t forget, Ash does do time travel. So, I guess I would end it by saying, never say never. You know, maybe like “Army of Darkness,” maybe Ash winds up being the, you know, a Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. You know, who knows.

Question: Hi. I’m Boris from Italy. I want to know, in your opinion, why is this character Ash so much loved by the audience? What is the secret of this character?

Bruce Campbell: I think the secret of Ash is that he has no secrets. He’s just like your neighbor. He’s just like the guy down the street. He doesn’t have special skills. He’s not, he doesn’t have kryptonite. You know, he doesn’t, he can’t fly, he can’t see through walls. There are no super powers. And I think the viewer audience can relate to that. I know for a fact when I watch a movie and, you know, super hero movies are so popular now. They’re everywhere. But it’s much harder for me to invest in a super hero because they are not flawed enough for me. I need to have my characters to be, you know, flawed and real. And even my heroes and so I’ve really enjoyed playing Ash because he’s not written like a normal hero. And I would think that would be appealing to writers to not write the guy like everybody else. And that’s what it certainly appeals to me so I think that’s what it is. That’s when audiences watch Ash, they just think like they’re watching a regular guy trying to save the world.

Series two of Ash vs Evil Dead will be available from 3rd October for Virgin Media TV customers to watch through its TV on demand service and available to all Mix TV, Fun TV and Full House TV customers, as well as existing M+ and above subscribers. Virgin TV customers can still catch up on the first series of Ash vs Evil Dead, available as a full binge-worthy boxset.

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