Exclusive: Bruce Campbell talks Ash vs Evil Dead Seasons 1 & 2!
Ash vs Evil Dead scored big when its 10-episode first season debuted on Starz last Halloween. With those episodes now available to own on Blu-ray/DVD, we took some time out to have a groovy 1-on-1 discussion with Ash Williams himself, Bruce Campbell, about his triumphant return to the character, whether the show has finally gotten fans off his back, as well as what’s in store for Season 2, which is set to debut on October 2!
ComingSoon.net: I remember talking to you back in 2013 when you were wearing your producer’s hat for the remake, basically acting as the brand ambassador. Now, you are full on Ash again. Does it feel good? Have you been enjoying this whole revitalization of the character?
Bruce Campbell: I think you could say that I am officially now back to being the face of this, but yeah, rather than, as you say, an ambassador. Now my mug is back. You know what? It feels really cool. It feels amazing that we’ve had a crowd full of support that has created this opportunity. It was all the animals who never shut up about it. The only challenge is actually doing it. That’s the only downside, is trying to pull it off. I pulled the hamstring again this year and the old man’s only got so much gas left in the tank, but we’ll give it everything we’ve got. It’s a crazy season. Season 2 is off the hook.
CS: Are you done filming Season 2? Is the filming complete or are you in the middle of it?
Campbell: No, we’re done. We’re done shooting.
CS: So now you’ve done two full seasons as Ash, whereas before, you had basically 30 days for each movie to sort of live in the character. You’ve now two full seasons of a show.
Campbell: Go back. Are you saying 30 days, that each of those movies was a 30-day shoot?
CS: Or whatever it was, you know? I’m sure it wasn’t that exact number.
Campbell: Try 100 days each. That’s it. I just need to correct you because it’s a huge difference.
CS: Oh wow.
Campbell: Those movies took a long time to make.
CS: I had no idea. But yeah, comparatively to doing two full seasons in the character, do you feel like it’s almost like a Broadway show, like now you really know the character at the end of two seasons?
Campbell: Yeah, very much so. You can browbeat the writers and make them kind of come around to the Ash way of speaking. And you know, that’s fine. It’s as it should be and it’s really fun playing the character for that long of a period of time because the good news is, unlike a Broadway show, where you’re putting on the same show every night, for us, we have all new episodes, so that keeps us interested, too.
CS: You guys have definitely pushed the gore element, but was there ever anything in either the writing stage or the editing stage that you decided to leave out, not because it was necessarily too violent, but because it wasn’t in the spirit of the “Evil Dead”?
Campbell: We did that for every reason. One, we don’t have the rights to it. Two, we don’t think it works for that story. Three, it’s too expensive. Four, it’s too outrageous. Five, it’s the wrong tone. You know what I mean? So the scripts have to go through a vetting process, and then we shoot them, and even when you shoot them, you’re still vetting. You’re still changing. It’s not fixed. I look at this process as being completely fluid from the time Joe Blow enters the first keystroke to the time the mixer puts the fade out on the soundtrack. That’s how we worked.
CS: That seems like the natural process of any show, though I don’t look at this as any other show. I feel like this is, as you said, the result of a lot of haranguing and borderline abuse that you’ve gotten at Q&A’s over the years.
Campbell: Yeah, yeah.
CS: Has that shifted now? Are fans sated or are they still bugging you?
Campbell: No, they’re good. This has helped tremendously. They’re 90 percent off my back now because that actually bugs them. “Hey, it’s Ash. Do you want to watch?” It gets better. You know, I have to put the shoe on the foot now. Like, you can’t complain anymore. You’ve got Starz Mobile. You get it on whatever, it could be on Netflix before you know it, Amazon, Hulu. It’ll be all over. So yeah, it’s great that they love it, and they have a pipeline now. I’ve maintained that a television show will give the fans way more hours than any movie. In 12 years, we only did four-and-a-half hours worth of programming. In two seasons, we’ve got, whatever, 10 new hours. So I think that’s the output that fans want. They want more. They don’t want less. They want more. And TV’s going to do it. And the great thing about Starz is, it allows us to have unrestricted content. And the fans, I don’t think they realize how lucky they are, because if this was anywhere else, including any other highfalutin cable, this thing would be cut to shreds.
Campbell: This is untouched by censors of any kind.
CS: Pure, uncut Colombian Ash.
Campbell: We are, absolutely, yeah. And it’s pharmaceutical grade.
CS: Has the success of the show almost shown a reversal, where instead of hearing from fans, “Oh, we want another movie, we want another movie,” are you starting to hear from executives? Are studios poking and seeing, “Hey, is there a way we can expand this brand to do more movies, etc?”
Campbell: Well, because there’s been a franchise juggernaut, these things sort of fell off the charts one at a time. There’s never really ever been a clamoring for stuff, except for more movies. But now, I think Starz is getting involved in that. We’re finally selling it around the world because that’s where “Evil Dead” started. It didn’t start in the United States. It started in England. So I want to see how the rest of the world responds, because that’s where this all started.
CS: I know you’ve promised a ton of gore in the new season, but what is Ash’s arc this season? Or does he have one?
Campbell: He goes home and he has to deal with the mess he made three years ago. He has to make good with the town that he basically left in shambles and fight the evil dead.
Campbell: And save the town. That’s a hell of an assignment. He has to deal with his father and his old pal Chet and his ex-girlfriend and sh*t like that, old nemeses, boyhood nemeses, you know, all the sh*t you run into when you go back home, plus deadites.
CS: So when it rains, it pours.
Campbell: So it’s cool. I know everybody talks about gore, but for all the talk about the gore, this season actually has a, I would say, substantially more character development. You’re going to spend a lot more time with your pal Ash and find out what makes him tick, and his friends are on a crazy journey this year, too. Kelly’s being schooled by Ruby. It’ll be interesting.
Ash vs Evil Dead Season 1 is out on Blu-ray now, while Season 2 debuts on Starz October 2.[Gallery not found]