The Chin battles Deadites once more with chainsaw and... man- girdle?!
Bruce Campbell does jaw jaw – involving his chin, of course.
Few genre stars have won the kind of fan love that Bruce Campbell has enjoyed throughout his career. Since creating the role of the fearless, cluess Ashley “Ash” J Williams in the original Evil Dead, he’s brought his charisma, wit and physical prowess to countless projects – not to mention the legendary jawline that inspired the title of his 2009 memoir If Chins Could Kill – Confessions Of A B Movie Actor. Now he’s back in his signature role, reactivating his longtime collaboration with director Sam Raimi and producer Rob Tapert, in TV’s Ash Vs Evil Dead. The new show also teams him with fellow Xena veteran Lucy Lawless in a horror comedy that continues the saga he began in 1981, while introducing it to a new generation of gorehounds. As he tells SFX after wrapping production on the first season, playing the heroic but idiotic Ash is as much fun as ever… In the years since Army Of Darkness, did you have any ideas as to what you’d like to see Ash do on a return?
No, no. I actually had to put him in a little box and put him up on the shelf, because there wasn’t much of a likelihood that he’d ever come back. So there’s no point in torturing yourself about what you could and couldn’t do. But now that he’s back, I’ve been enjoying playing the character again very much. It’s very familiar territory. It’s a very loose playing field. Ash can get away with a bunch of weird shit, and I like that as a leading guy. Is that why an older Ash can still entertain audiences? Other franchise icons, like Indiana Jones and The Terminator, received mixed reactions from fans when they returned after long absences...
That’s always a risk. But we’re not hiding the fact that Ash is a middle- aged guy now. The guy’s got dentures and wears a handmade man- girdle. So this is not your typical hero. This is a guy who could barely keep his shit together 24 years ago when we did Army Of Darkness. He was barely qualified then. Now he’s completely unqualified. He really would just rather hang out at bars late at night, picking up chicks and lying about how he lost his hand. But now because of his own stupidity he’s forced back into saving the world at the worst time ever… I love the fact that Ash isn’t trained in anything. That’s why people can relate to him. The original films didn’t use CG. Will the show continue their aesthetic?
Oh for sure. I lopped off some creature’s head not long ago and I doused the entire crew with blood. I didn’t get hardly any on me. But when pressurised blood is flowing through a tube and you’re cutting into it, you really don’t know where it’s gonna go. That’s the awesome part. Digital blood, they know exactly where it goes. Bullshit. How does the gore level in Ash Vs Evil Dead compare with the movies?
This is an unrated TV series. The first two Evil Deads were unrated. That’s really the way these movies function best. Army Of Darkness had to be compromised because contractually we had to deliver an R- rated movie. This is nothin’, man. The blood’s gonna flow. It’s gonna be carnage and mayhem on parade. We can do whatever we want. The pairing of you and Lucy Lawless looks like a match made in geek heaven.
Yeah, it is heaven. I’ve been around a while and Lucy’s been around a while, and we met on Xena when she was first coming out. You would think it’s her first day on set whenever she walks on. She’s the most unaffected person on the set. Sheena Easton, the singer, was a guest star on Brisco County Jr, the show I did 20 years ago, and she turned to the cameraman and said, “I can only be photographed on this side.” He laughed in her face [ laughs]. He said, “Sheena, I’m gonna make you look good from every side.” We don’t have time for that horseshit here. We’re making television. Lucy understands the pace and the grind of it. That’s who you want to surround yourself with. Do you find it strange that at this point in your career you’re generating more hours of Ash than ever before?
Oh, it’s daunting. Being number one on the call sheet, there’s a lot of actors who would happily knock me out in a back alley and take my place for that type of privilege, to star in a TV show. But about halfway through the shoot you go, “Oh, I’m such an idiot. Why did I say yes to this?” Just because of the grind of it… It took 12 years to generate four and a half hours worth of material. In four months, we’ve generated five hours of material. So it’s coming. People are gonna get their Ash, they’re gonna get their Evil Dead, they’re gonna get their Sam Raimi on. And god bless the fans. I’m here because of them. There’s no other reason.