Monster-Mania: Bruce Campbell & Ted Raimi on their worst auditions ever

Ted Raimi, James Franco, Bruce Campbell (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Ted Raimi, James Franco, Bruce Campbell (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images) /

Bruce Campbell and Ted Raimi were two of the big draws at Monster-Mania last weekend in Hunt Valley, Maryland. During their hilarious Q & A session, the pair revealed their worst auditions ever.

Bruce Campbell and Ted Raimi are two of the hardest working actors in show business. Together, the pair have accumulated 80 years of experience in filmdom. That kind of longevity in a very fickle environment where you are only as good as your last picture is to be commended.

Recently, the long-time friends appeared together at Monster-Mania in Hunt Valley, MD. During their lively panel discussion with fans, an interesting question arose from the audience. Campbell and Raimi were asked to recall their worst auditions ever.

As any thespian knows, you aren’t going to nail every casting session. Sometimes, you won’t even receive a call back. Bruce and Ted are no longer in positions where reading for a role is a must but back in the day, they dealt with the audition phenomenon like every other working performer.

Of course, as you can imagine, their recollections of horrible meetings that they had in the past was hysterical. In the 1990’s, Ted used to do quite a bit of commercial work. His particular memory centered around a certain restaurant chain and a rather unusual request.

Ted Raimi Does the Funky Chicken

According to Ted Raimi, his story begins when he was waiting to audition for a commercial and he was noticing that the actors and actresses exiting from different rooms were sobbing. He assumed they didn’t get the part. Instead of people looking depressed, in his words, they looked like they were “assaulted by a bull.”

Now, the spot was for Church’s Fried Chicken. When it was Raimi’s turn, he entered the room. Once inside, he was confronted with four very bored looking executives.

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One of the suits put a cassette into a player and this atrocious bluegrass music filled the air. Ted had no idea what was going on until one of the executives told him that he needed to dance like a chicken. On a side note, we wish footage of this audition existed!

The actor proceeded to boogie like barnyard fowl for a minute while they watched him which was extremely disconcerting. Finally, he was told, “Thanks, we’ll call you.” Upon exiting, he acted the same way as the other thespians before him as if he had also been assaulted by a bull. Apparently, Raimi didn’t get a call back for his efforts.

Bruce Campbell is the King of Ice Breakers

Bruce Campbell is not immune to the occasional bad audition as well. He also regaled the audience with his particular tale of casting hell. Ed Zwick who was one of the creatives behind the hit 80’s television show, Thirtysomething, and the director behind the Oscar winning film, Glory with Denzel Washington and Matthew Broderick, took a “general meeting” with Campbell.

Basically, the meeting is a type of deal where the actor or actress sits down and makes small talk with the director so they can get a “feel” for whether or not that particular performer would fit the role they might have in mind or if they would get along with others in the cast.

Unfortunately for Bruce, Ed Zwick was in the studio working on mixing the sound for his picture, The Siege with Bruce Willis and Annette Bening. Now, the idea was for Zwick to take this meeting when he was through working on a sequence.

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So, until the director could find a free moment, Campbell was stuck watching him work. Now, for those of you that know the actor’s background, he was heavily involved with mixing the sound for The Evil Dead trilogy. While he was waiting, Bruce decided to crack a couple of sound jokes as an ice breaker.

According to the actor, this is what he said to the director after introducing himself:

"“Hey, listen at 700 feet and 10 frames, I thought you could bring that cricket sound up just a little bit. Give a little something to the scene? You know, a little razzle dazzle?”"

Next thing Campbell knows he is in the parking lot just in time to take a phone call from his manager. Who in Bruce’s words talked like “Thurston Howell III on Gilligan’s Island.

“Just got a call from Zwick’s office. Their question was, ‘What the hell was that?’”  From what Campbell was able to determine, after he walked out of the door Ed Zwick looked at his casting person and said, “This is why I don’t do general meetings.”

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Interesting fact, the director has never had another general meeting and according to Bruce, neither has he… coincidence or not? You be the judge.

Have you met Bruce Campbell or Ted Raimi? Tell us your experiences in the comment section.