Bruce Campbell has played Ashley J. Williams in the Evil Dead franchise for close to four decades. What a long, strange trip it has been. The question remains will the fans take the ride in Season 3?
“It is time to test the mettle of man.” – Vivian Johnson
Meeting the Challenge
I have covered Bruce Campbell at 1428 Elm rather extensively. Yes, prior to this Los Angeles encounter, I had interviewed him over the phone for Hail to the Chin but this time was decidedly different. In person, Campbell is a juggernaut.
As I entered the room, the actor was looking out at the terrace and framed in such a way for a moment it seemed like a throwback to a John Ford western. After saying hello, he turned around, looked at me and said, “Your challenge is to come up with different questions.”
Never one to be flustered or without words, I responded with “I’m ready.” So, now it’s time to discuss mythological journeys, bonds that are forged by blood and the future of the series with the man responsible for creating everyone’s reluctant hero, Ash Williams.
Waxing Dickensian and the Six Million Dollar Man
Bruce Campbell – Ash and Brock – Courtesy of STARZ
1428 Elm: The amazing Lee Majors is back. Let’s just say in a very Dickensian way. He takes you on a trip, so to speak. The two of you are very comfortable and believable as father and son. How did you develop that rapport?
Bruce Campbell: By hanging out. We went to wineries. Both of us had a good time in New Zealand. Lee is a very close to the vest guy. He is a private guy and an old school guy. It takes a while to relax.
Only because he has been so… the guy has had a crazy life. He’s had tabloids… in the 80s between him and Farrah (Fawcett), my God, you know they were everywhere. He had a really interesting life and career.
I think the guys that have been really successful like that for as long as they have… you develop a bit of a veneer. It’s a protective veneer but once you get to know somebody you can kind of let it down a little bit.
He’s like that. Lee’s an old school guy. You got to get to know him a little bit. It’s great. It helps. By the second season, he’s much more familiar now. Lee knows everybody.
He knows how everything works, he’s been to Auckland before. I’m sure it was strange at first. We thrust him into it and drown him in a bathtub.
We did all kinds of bad things to him. I’m just glad he saw the humor. That’s how we got him. It’s not Lee Majors stuff. Lee does faith-based movies now. So, this wasn’t going to be high on his list.
Bruce Campbell – Brock Williams – Courtesy of STARZ
BC (Cont): But when we approached him he said, “Let me see the first season.” You know he wanted to see what this show is. He said he laughed his ass off. Then he came back with a yes because he goes alright, I like this show.
1428 Elm: I grew up watching Lee as the Six Million Dollar Man and I also liked William Shatner too. Was there any truth to the rumor that you actually asked Shatner to be your Dad via Twitter? Or was it a joke because you two go back and forth on there?
BC: That wasn’t a serious thing but you know Shatner would have definitely been on the list. We wanted to give Ash some iconic Dad. You had your James Brolins, your Shatners your whatever but once Lee’s name came up, we were like, oh, yeah, yeah!
Because Ash is missing a hand, it’s got the bionic tie in…we even threw a line in when they first meet each other, “It’s a piece of crap made in China.” He was great. He fell right in. It’s great to have him back. Welcome back!
Bruce Campbell – Ash’s Final Test – Courtesy of STARZ
1428 Elm: As an experienced performer you know that characters usually have arcs. Can we expect any monumental changes in Ash this season? He is going on an internal journey as well as an external one to find out who he really is and his place in the world in which he has found himself.
BC: Well, you’re going to get to watch him doubt his place in all of this. You got these people the Knights of Sumeria coming after him who kneel before him and he’s like “Hey, get up. Don’t do that!”
He will severely doubt his ability to pull this off. Ash is going to freak out at one point. We’re going to get to watch him lose his s***. I think that’s just awesome.
He can’t jump on a magic carpet ride to get out of his problems. He can’t go, “Starfleet, beam me up!” Because he’s a guy if he runs out of gas, he runs out of gas. If he runs out of bullets, he runs out of bullets.
He can’t fly away. So, he’s going to have to face the ultimate test. He will feel really mortal and resentful. Like what the f***! I’m going broke here with this job do you realize that?
Bruce Campbell – Come Get Some – Courtesy of STARZ
BC (Cont): You don’t get it! This is a s****y job! I don’t want this job! We did a couple of sequences where Ash just loses his s***. It’s just awesome! It’s great to watch.
1428 Elm: But he gets it back…
BC: I don’t know. Does he?
1428 Elm: Well, that’s true!
BC: You know it may take a guy who’s completely unhinged on this final journey. Rational, sane men wouldn’t go after what he’s after. They wouldn’t take on what he has to take on.
1428 Elm: Sometimes you have to be a little bit crazy if it’s the end of the world.
BC: So, that’s kind of what it takes. It might take a hero that is a little crazy who is kind of losing it.
1428 Elm: One of the episodes that I remember from Season 1 was Ashes to Ashes. Where Evil Ash is talking to Amanda and he is saying, “What did I do to deserve this?” You get to see Ash have emotion. There is a depth of feeling there. He questions why he has the Necronomicon and why does he have to kill demons.
BC: There’s a lot more of that. He’s being called upon to do more and he’s like well, what’s the pay off ? Am I living with a thousand virgins in heaven after this?
Are you backing the truck up here? What’s happening? Are we talking cash? What’s my reward?
Groovy Gross Outs
Bruce Campbell – Sperm Fight – Courtesy of STARZ
1428 Elm: You have a lot of gross out scenes and Rob Tapert insisted on the whole colon escapade in the Morgue episode. This season you have a fight in a Cryobank involving a particular bodily fluid. Did you ever think why are we going here? Isn’t this a bit much?
BC: Well, it’s all a bit much but we can do it, so sometimes you do it because you can, just as a lark. But the real trick is to make sure that these sequences fall within a progression of your story. You have to work that out first.
Then you can have a scene in a sperm bank because Ash is going on a trail to figure out who else might have his seed, then it makes sense. We’re trying to be careful not to arbitrarily do stuff like that.
It gets too random. You still have to be pulled forward by the story. Then you can look back and go, “Wow! That was a crazy sequence!” Then you figure out where the story is going to take you next.
Season 4 Musings
Bruce Campbell – Daughter – Courtesy of STARZ
1428 Elm: I know you are aware of efforts to get a Season 4 renewal.
BC: Yeah, but its not like we’ve been cancelled. We haven’t been renewed. We’re in television limbo right now. Which is really standard procedure. That is why we are glad that we ended Season 3 the way that we did.
We don’t know. We don’t know if the corporate decision is to fish or cut bait at this point. Now they’re three seasons deep. Some would say they’re very pregnant. That corporation spent a good chunk of money.
Maybe they want to let it keep going to get that money back. You know what I mean? They always have to decide. Are we spending more because we think we’re going to get more later or is this it because we don’t think the future is any brighter.
Catch Ash vs Evil Dead on STARZ every Sunday at 9 p.m.
What do you think about Ash losing his s***? Will he save the world? Feel free to share your opinions in the comment section below. We want to hear from you.