Only one episode remains for Season 2 of the “unrestricted carnage and mayhem” that is Starz Channel’s “Ash vs Evil Dead,” but iHorror was able to chat with Bruce Campbell late Friday morning, two full days before the big unveiling on Sunday night.
And Campbell did not disappoint.
When it came to the possible resurrection of Pablo, Campbell noted that the remaining squad was still willing to do anything to save their boy and that Ash would have an entirely new approach to battle Baal.
Add time travel to the cabin and the return of Henrietta and there is much to settle over the course of what is sure to be 30 action-packed minutes.
Beyond Pablo’s fate, Campbell touched on being reunited with Ellen Sandweiss and Ted Raimi, his new book, the possibility of an Evil Dead 2 crossover and that “Second Coming” will come down to a man-to-man showdown.
So behold, a conversation with The King as an early Krampus gift from iHorror to our loyal readers. Because you deserve it. For being groovy.
iHorror: From Henrietta to Delta as DeLorean, nods to the original films have been off the charts this season, but none better than Ellen Sandweiss’ return as Ash’s sister Cheryl. What was it like having Evil Dead come full circle in a way?
Bruce Campbell: It’s great! It’s great. I love seeing my old friends. I love seeing the old characters, the old actors. We like it as much as the fans do, bringing these people back. Ellen’s an old, old friend. I lost my virginity to Ellen Sandweiss, a little trivia for you. It’s just awesome. These people have remained our friends over the years, Ted Raimi, as well, it was great getting him back as Henrietta. And now we’re going to have to battle that horrible beast again.
iH: Between the characters being so well-written and the fantastic performances of Ray Santiago and Dana DeLorenzo, have you felt like a proud papa so to speak seeing that Evil Dead fans, old and new, have taken to Pablo and Kelly the way that they have?
BC: I’m having it now! I am a proud papa. These guys have done great. When you hire an actor, you don’t know. They could be crazy, they could be idiots, they could be unstable — a lot of actors are. But these guys turned out. They had just enough experience to be able to handle it and they’ve embraced it, and then the fans have seen that they’ve embraced it so the fans have embraced them. And look, these are two good actors. Dana and Ray? They’re earning their money every single day, so yeah, I am a proud papa and I hope that this show will do well for them for the rest of their careers.
iH: Let’s talk Pablo. Episode 209 (“Home Again”) featured time travel to fix it so that Ash never found the Necronomicon and your wingman was never killed, but on top of that, a couple of times you’ve taken to Twitter to say things like “The fat lady ain’t sung yet” and “(Ash) will do anything to save his buddy Pablo.” Of course, you might just be messing with fans to keep them guessing, but give us a glimmer of hope that we haven’t seen the last of Pablito?
BC: Well, I don’t mess with people that way. I wouldn’t do it to be malicious. I would do it to just to make them stay tuned to see what’s going to happen. And believe me, we’re acutely aware of pissing audiences off. Dramatically, it’s important that you do stuff like that because it’s a way to test how audiences like your characters, to kill them. We knew that Ray was very popular and the fans really liked him, so we’re messing with his character, but again I would just say, don’t forget Ash and the team will do anything to get him back. Regardless of the risks or stupidity or whatever, Ash is an idiot, but he’s a loyal idiot.
iH: I’d read that some of the old school Star Wars people like Carrie Fisher had told The Force Awakens stars Daisy Ridley and John Boyega that they should prepare to have a stalker or two, which got me to thinking of the fervent fans of the Evil Dead. You have godlike status with your followers, so what advice did you offer Santiago and DeLorenzo for the first season, and even now with the show growing in popularity, so far as how to go about the business of day-to-day life being recognized and obsessed over?
BC: We did, yeah. We told them, but you can’t ever fully realize that until it happens to you. Dana has to be careful being a woman and Ray’s going to have the same issues as well. Who knows? He could get a male or female stalker. Look, we’re on the front lines, we’re in the entertainment business, it’s going to happen. I’ve been fortunate, I’ve only had one or two kind of assholes in my life that I had to work around, but not too bad. So yeah, we told them, but they’re going to have to find out for themselves.
iH: This is a staple of these interviews, and just my favorite question to ask. Whether it’s from this season or during promotion for Season 1 — what is the strangest request you’ve ever received from an “Ash vs Evil Dead” fan?
BC: I sign a lot of boobies. I don’t know, I get gifts sometimes and a woman gave me some poetry that she wrote that was the most offensive material I think I’ve ever laid eyes on. After about the first paragraph I threw it out ’cause I’m like “Really?” Because you are associated with that world, you must love the underworld, you must love darkness, you must love evil. I don’t think they realize that I don’t watch horror movies, I’m not a horror guy. Horror is not my favorite genre, and I think they’d be surprised at a lot of that. I can’t quote horror movies. My favorite movie is not a horror movie, but by association sometimes fans think that you’re just like them, and that’s fine.
iH: What can you tell us about the new book, Hail to the Chin: Further Confession of a B Movie Actor? Did the idea come about with the emergence and success of “Ash vs Evil Dead” or had it been bouncing around for a while?
BC: It was kicking around. I was thinking of doing it because it’s actually been 15 years since the first book because that was 2001. There have been a lot of crazy things happening, a lot of travel, a lot of ridiculous stories working in Colombia and Bulgaria and there’s just no shortage of things to tell on the low-budget side of film-making. And what’s nice about this new book is that I end it on the “Ash vs Evil Dead” chapter.
It’s the whole concept of crawling back into the womb, which I’ve basically been trying to crawl back into the womb ever since we made the first Evil Dead. Because ironically, that is the only project that I ever worked on where we legally had 100 percent creative control according to the paperwork with our investors. They had no creative input into that project whatsoever. So people always say “Where’s the director’s cut of Evil Dead?” There was no director’s cut. There’s only one cut and that’s the director’s cut. Ever since then, we made our second movie Crimewave, and the studio came in, took the project over, re-cut the film, they did it with Army of Darkness, it happens a lot. Studios, if they put up the money, they’re the ones who have all the creative control and then directors can fight for it back-and-forth, but essentially that’s what it represents. Doing “Ash vs Evil Dead” is really crawling back into the womb of where it all began, back into a very comfortable spot.
iH: How ‘bout Evil Dead 2 with Fede Alvarez. Is that going to happen and will there be any crossover with original characters or “Ash vs Evil Dead?”
BC: Anything could happen. This is a resurgence and when things resurge like this anything could go together. The remake made a lot of money and so there’s definitely interest in making another one, but Fede just made a shit-ton of money with Don’t Breathe, so with how the business works, Fede doesn’t need us. Fede works best, I feel, in an unbridled environment because if you see (Don’t Breathe), it’s really special, he did a really great job, he’s a very special talent. So we may hook up with Fede again, we may cross Ash over with the Jane Levy character. Two years ago you ask me this question and I’d go “I don’t know,” but if the TV show is a success and stays on for X amount of years, success begets success and we’d probably be able to make another feature film.
iH: When we spoke with DeLorenzo in August she said there would be an action in Season 2 that could not be undone and Raimi told us that there would be a great reveal with his character that the fans would enjoy. Now, there’s only one episode to go, but that brings us to you. Baal (Joel Tobeck) is back, it looks like Ruby (Lucy Lawless) might be leaning toward the dark side once again and we talked about Pablo, so as The King of the franchise, certainly you have something you can share that will keep fans squirming in their seats until Sunday night?
BC: Can Ash defeat Baal? That’s the question. Because what Ash does this time, he’s like “Hey man, don’t dazzle me with your bullshit. Put your hands up and fight like a man, with no powers.” It’s going to boil down to which physical man can win. No powers, because Ash doesn’t have any powers, he never has. Baal has the superpowers, but Ash is like “Bullshit, let’s see what you got,” and that’s what I like.
It’s not like Batman v Superman where no one’s really going to get hurt ever, this is two guys where every punch they feel the pain. That was very important to me when we were shooting that sequence, that I want this superhero to feel pain. I want this bad guy to feel pain because bad, super evil people don’t feel pain and that was important to me, that he feels pain just as much as Ash does. So I think that people will really dig that fight because it’s a whole different type of a fight. It’s not lightning bolts shooting out of the guy’s fingers sending Ash through a wall, it’s just two guys fighting and I really dig that.