The Joe Lansdale interview – The Hemingway of East Texas – Part 2

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Bruce Campbell is the New Buster Keaton – Courtesy of STARZ

Bruce Campbell is the New Buster Keaton

JL (Cont.): I would like to do something with a little more meat than that particular script. I’m not someone who feels that everything has to be serious. If I did something with Bruce, I would want to do something as far away from the Evil Dead as possible.

Perhaps something like Bubba Ho-Tep but not Bubba or something straight. I don’t know but I believe that he is a great actor. People misunderstand that because they think that what he is doing isn’t.

I think he has a lot of what Buster Keaton had. The way he moves, the way he impacts things but he has that moment where just with a look he can give you a feeling of melancholy or joy. He gives you more than what the scene is implying with the dialogue and movement.

Prequel to the Shady Rest Retirement Home

Prequel to the Shady Rest Retirement Home – Courtesy of IDW Publishing

1428 Elm: Did you have the idea for Bubba Ho-Tep and the Cosmic Blood-Suckers before Bubba Ho-Tep?

JL: What had happened was Don, Bruce and I had talked about doing something. At one point they thought they were doing the prequel. Bruce was younger then and he was going to play the younger Elvis because he always looks younger than he is by a lot.

As time went on that didn’t happen. But it planted that seed. I was the one that kept telling them let’s not do any sequels to Bubba Ho-Tep, it’s a bad idea. You’ll never catch that lightning in a bottle or that depth again.

I was against it for a long time and Bruce and Don wanted to do it. Then Bruce was against it. It went back and forth. I guess Bruce decided he didn’t need it.

Story wise I thought a prequel might be fun so I was playing around with it one day and it just took off. Is it as good as Bubba Ho-Tep? No, it’s not. Because that was dealing with something else.

Is it fun? Yeah! It is! It has its moments where it is a bit more insightful than it appears to be on the surface. The comic book version is coming out now.

No Reboots or Remakes

No Reboots or Remakes – Don Coscarelli – Bruce Campbell – Courtesy of Michael Caulfield and Wire Image

1428 Elm: It is so refreshing to hear someone that doesn’t want to go back to the well.  

JL:  I will never touch Bubba again unless it is in the comic series. I think what happened is Bruce and Don were so adamant at one time about doing something with it. Bruce wanted me to do the script. He said, “I’ll do it if Joe does the script.”

I never did do that script. Don wanted to do a low budget movie and mine and Bruce’s careers had kind of moved on where we couldn’t afford to go back and do it for less. Unless we had this big window and neither of us had that big window. I think a lot of things just got in the way.

I heard there was talk of Bubba the TV series with Bruce. That would be great if that would happen and more power to Don. I hope it does.

Bubba Ho-Tep and the Cosmic Blood-Suckers

Bubba Ho-Tep and the Cosmic Blood Suckers – All issues – Courtesy of Josh Jabcuga and IDW

1428 Elm: I like how you had President Nixon call on Elvis just like Elvis called on Nixon to become a DEA officer. Which when you think of it was kind of ironic. Why did Nixon think the King could rescue the world from the alien threat?

JL: Exactly! I know a lot about Elvis Presley. I have seen documentaries about all his positives and negatives. He just showed up at the White House and they let him in. Nixon gave him that special award.

What was weird is Elvis was stoned out of his mind when he got it! In his mind it was different because he was taking medication. He must have known exactly what he was doing.

1428 Elm: I know that you enjoy comics, did you envision this particular venture as being ripe for a comic book series adaptation?

JL: No, no. I didn’t at all. When it was mentioned, they came to me with the idea, I thought it was a good one.

The Complexity of Elvis

The Complexity of Elvis – Courtesy of Fanpop

1428 Elm: How does the younger Elvis vary from the elder more pensive one?

JL: I think he was right at that age of getting out of being that happy go lucky Elvis. He came back from the army, his mother just died, it’s about that transition in life.

You try to live the best possible life that you can when you’re young but age sometimes gives you wisdom and greater experience. You’re more relaxed. Hopefully, you have relationships that are more solid by then.

Elvis is on that fence. He didn’t have those solid things the way that he wanted. There were people around him that he kept and he probably loved them and they loved him but a lot of them were sucking off of him.

They were with him so long they were almost like kept people. It’s a midlife crisis of a sort.

Tale of a Younger Sire

Joshua Jabcuga 5 – Courtesy of his blogspot

1428 Elm: What did you enjoy about your collaboration with Josh Jabcuga? Did Tadd Galusha capture your vision of how the characters would look?

JL: I just got the scripts and Josh did a really good job. I had a few notes here and there. They’re going to correct some things that I feel weren’t quite there in the first issue by putting them in later which will work beautifully.

I am very happy with it and I think the artwork is wonderful. It has that kind of bright color and excitement like a science fiction or horror film when I was a kid so I am very pleased.

They did three versions of the first issue cover. One of them was Tim Truman who is a great artist and a friend of mine and it is the same cover that was on the book. Tim has done a lot of illustrations on my books like the Jonah Hex comics.

The Possibility of Another Bubba Ho-Tep?

bubba_and_the_cosmic_blood_suckers_by_joe_r_lansdale courtesy of Subterranean Press

1428 Elm: Are you open to a film adaptation of this if it should arise? Who would you cast as the younger Elvis?

JL: If a film adaptation came along it would have to be up to Don. He owns the film rights. I own the book rights. Do I have anybody in mind? No, I haven’t thought about it.

Like Bruce used to say, at least if he played the old Elvis again nobody could gripe with what the old Elvis would look like because he didn’t age. So, Bruce would be the old Elvis.

For the young Elvis, he was like the god Apollo. When he was at his peak, he was beautiful. He had something about him that is really hard for people to duplicate.

1428 Elm: It is so easy to just to do an impersonation of Elvis rather than a characterization.

JL: Right. You know what was wonderful about Bruce is he was able to dig down into the character of Elvis. He could extrapolate what would it be like if Elvis lived past his prime? What would it be like if he woke up in a rest home?

The idea that Elvis would like to escape his life and start over- Bruce was able to bring all of that to the character. I keep coming back to this but it is one of the most underrated performances. I think it is Oscar worthy.

It was just brilliant what he was able to do with that. For someone to play the younger Elvis, you have to find somebody who understands what it is like to be poor and to have those particular roots. They don’t have to talk like Elvis or even look like Elvis.