Bruce Campbell on ‘Ash vs. Evil Dead’, Puppets, & Returning to Mythology in Season 3

     August 23, 2017

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All of the blood and gore of the Starz/Lionsgate horror series Ash vs. Evil Dead Season 2 is now available on Blu-ray and DVD with a slew of fun extras, including audio commentaries, eight behind-the-scenes featurettes and a “Fatality Mash-Up.” The season saw Ash (Bruce Campbell) return to his hometown of Elk Grove, where he discovered that Ruby (Lucy Lawless) was also now a victim of evil and in need of help, and things were left in a way that should make Season 3 very interesting when it premieres.

During this 1-on-1 phone interview with Collider, actor Bruce Campbell talked about how much he enjoyed revisiting certain moments and characters from the Evil Dead franchise in Season 2, going back to the mythology for Season 3, keeping one of the Ash puppets, working with so much blood, his love/hate relationship with the car, playing such an irresponsible hero, how long he could see the series going for, and how cool it is that the show is being brought to life in a maze at Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios.

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Image via Starz

Collider: The first season of Ash vs. Evil Dead was so much fun because it was so great just to see this character again, but for Season 2, you really got to play with some of the Evil Dead franchise and past characters, relationships and family. What have you most enjoyed about getting to revisit those things in Season 2?

BRUCE CAMPBELL: Oh, going to Ash’s bedroom! It’s like seeing a teacher after school. You never knew what Ash’s deal was, for the first three movies. He’s sort of a college student in the first one, he’s like a Vietnam veteran in the second one, and he’s sort of the ugly American in the third one, but where does he live and what does he do? Now, we know where he lives, which is in Elk Grove. We bring his sister back and meet his dad, and we realize where Ash got some of his dickishness was from his bigot Cro-Magnon dad. It’s so funny that you realize maybe Ash stole some of his lines even. And to get the great Lee Majors, forget it! There was no other guy that I would have wanted to play Ash’s dad than Lee Majors. We even made a joke about Ash’s mechanical hand. That was great. It puts a personal spin on Ash. It fleshes the character out a little more to see his relationship, aka bad relationship, with his father, and it just makes him more human. If you don’t care about your hero when they fight a monster, then what? You’ve gotta be a little worried that your buddy Ash is gonna die. So, in the middle of him being smarmy and an idiot, he’s a son now. And we’re going to find out in Season 3 that he’s a father. These are the things that round out our character. In television, you have to do that. You have to grow and expand, and that’s been the most fun, taking two-dimensional Ash and trying to beat him into a third dimension.

Season 2 had a crazy amount of blood and gore. Where will Season 3 go with that? Do you feel like you have to top last season?

CAMPBELL: In Season 3, we were like, “Let’s get back to the myth.” I’d say 1/3 of it is humor, 1/3 of it is horror, and now 1/3 of it is mythology. Don’t forget there’s time travel in these movies, rifts that open up, netherworlds and parallel universes that exist. Season 3 is packed to the rafters and hopefully, when it ends, you’ll go, “Holy shit!” For Season 3, buckle up! Nobody is safe in Season 3.

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Image via Starz

You’ve said in the past that you see this show going for four or five seasons. Is that still the case? Have you had a discussion about just how long you’d like to keep doing this?

CAMPBELL: The irony is that not everybody gives as much of a crap about how many seasons of a show go anymore. I actually had a network say to us, “Four seasons is fine with us.” The shows get too expensive, you sometimes get viewer fatigue, not every show can make it four seasons, structurally or story wise, and actors go crazy, get injured sometimes and die sometimes. Who’s to say? Contractually, I’m in it to win it. This is something that we brought to Starz and we pushed to get done, so I’ll always be a champion of it, but we’re certainly understanding of the realities of new shows coming in. You’ve gotta make way for other stuff. Things turn over. So, we’re waiting to hear about Season 4. We don’t know yet. I’m waiting just like everybody.

I have to say that I personally loved the Ash puppet! How do you feel about the Ash puppet, and did you get to keep one of them?

CAMPBELL: I’ve got one of the little puppets, yeah. You’ve gotta have a puppet! That was one of my favorite episodes of the season, directed by Mark Beesley, who was new to the franchise, at that point. He had done some Xena episodes, years ago. I really liked the little puppet.

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Image via Starz

Because there is just so much blood on this show, what’s been the craziest blood mishap that you’ve had?

CAMPBELL: It’s not so much a mishap as you’ve gotta plan for it. They’ve been really good putting the blood at the end of the day, so they can hose us. It’s like a drop box, but there’s a slop box, which is a big plastic bin outside of my trailer. I’ll stand outside and put the blood in the box, and it just goes slop in the box. There’s a trail of towels to the shower, and you just hope the warm water will hold out while you’re getting the blood off. You look at the drain, and when the drain is done draining red, that’s when you can take a normal shower. For the first part of it, you’re just waiting for all of the red to stop. The trick is that you use shaving cream because the foaming action lifts it off your skin. Any scream queen or king, and any genre actor, should know that.

You’ve gotten to do some really fun, really cool things on this show, and I think this show has really surpassed the expectations of even the biggest fans of you and this character. What have you found yourself doing on this show that you never would have imagined that you’d be doing?

CAMPBELL: Getting weepy. Ash gets a little weepy in Season 3. He’s pushed to the max. Ash is overloaded and he kind of has a breakdown. It’s really fun to see. Even in Season 2, when Pablo is cut in half and wrapped in a garbage bag, Ash is spinning in circles, smoking angel dust and drinking right out of a bottle. Man, there’s just nothing better than playing that. That’s the hero I want to play.

Do you have a love/hate relationship with the car, or is it just a hate-filled one, at this point?

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Image via Starz

CAMPBELL: It’s both. It’s love, hate and weirdness. It’s creepy to open the door and hear that same buzzer sound that the car made. This is the same car that Mrs. Raimi dropped me and Sam off in, to see A Clockwork Orange playing at the theater in the ‘70s. This car goes back 40 years. It’s the actual car. It is a complete piece of shit that has been rebuilt 78 times. It has the same door sound and the same squeak of the vinyl. The touch and the feel of it becomes too real, being in that fucking car. Now, it’s been through three seasons of a show and it’s gritty in there. It’s truly a shithole to shoot in. It leaks, it makes noises and it rattles. You have to shut the door seven times to get it to work.

Television