Bruce Campbell, that’s a name every horror fan knows. The writer/actor/director/producer has been involved in so many iconic films and series. One of the jewels in his crown is The Evil Dead franchise in which he plays the unforgettable character Ashley “Ash” Williams.
His “Ash vs Evil Dead” series premiered back in 2015 on Starz, giving us three seasons of Ash, along with his deadite fighting sidekicks Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo) and Pablo (Ray Santiago) as well as the sometimes evil Ruby (Lucy Lawless).
Fans were heartbroken to learn earlier this year that “Ash vs Evil Dead” wouldn’t return for a fourth season. Soon Bruce announced that Ash had been permanently retired, leaving fans to wonder what was next for the one-of-a-kind, suave, badass.
When I had the opportunity to talk with Bruce I jumped at the chance (and with excitement) to find out what is next for our favorite leading man and ask a few questions that I’ve always wanted to know the answer to.
Horror Fuel: “Among other things, Ash is known for his one-liners, what is your favorite?
Bruce Campbell: “I don’t have one, I leave that up to the pundits. I kind of like one from Evil Dead 2, there’s a demon going ‘I’ll swallow your soul’, and goes ‘swallow this’ and he blows it up with a shotgun. That one I made up, I’m happy with that one. Ash is full of them. Ash vs Evil Dead gave us three new years’ worth of one-liners. I can’t remember half of them.”
Horror Fuel: “That is a great scene. I really enjoyed Ash vs Evil Dead.”
Horror Fuel: “Is it true that they used a dead chicken for some of the sound effects in Evil Dead?”
Bruce Campbell: “It was a dead, raw, store-bought chicken. They needed a fleshy sound. It wasn’t a live chicken that we killed. It left a smelly residual in the studio after a while because it was there for a couple of days. It got a little gnarly. That’s why I wrote a book about it to dispel any myths. In my first Chin Book, I wrote all about the Evil Dead and dispelled any rumors.
Horror Fuel: “Not long after the series ended you announced that you were retiring Ash, How do you feel about that decision now?”
Bruce Campbell: “I retired him so why would I feel bad about it? I feel great about it. It was time. No more dicking around. I don’t want to tease fans anymore. They’ve been teased and tormented for a long time. They wanted more Evil Dead, we gave them thirty episodes, fifteen more hours of the character. Basically, you know what it’s all I got. There is no more I can give the character physically, or mentally, or spiritually. I left it all on the table. The last season almost killed me, to tell the truth. These are difficult shows and movies to make. I’m sixty now. I’m like hey, let’s stop doing this before it gets embarrassing. Ash is supposed to have some physical skills and I’m already declining. Let’s get out before the wheelchair.”
Horror Fuel: “I respect that, I really do. Ash has always been a very physical character. He’s constantly fighting something. I respect that you retired him while he’s still on top.”
Bruce Campbell: “With actors, there is an expiration date. Their eyes go. You can’t hear anymore because of explosions. They’ve got random injuries. There is a perception I think that actors are carried around on a pillow.
Just look at Brandon Frazier, in an interview not long ago they were like ‘What happened to you?’ He was like, ‘What do you mean what happened to me? I got the shit beat out of me making these dumb action movies for years.’ He’s not a little guy, so when he bashed into stuff, that shit’s gonna leave a mark.
That was one of the motivations for retiring Ash. I think that we wrapped it up. We took care of the character. We brought him back fully fleshed him out, used our new skills when presenting that character to the world. Boom, now I can say I’m done. And I’m fully done.”
Horror Fuel: “I understand. He was such a physical character. He was never a character to just show up and just talk, there was always a fight.”
Bruce Campbell: “I would long for those days. In three years of Ash vs Evil Dead, there were probably two scenes where Ash just talked. Normally, when he talked boom, a demon would pop up. So, I’m longing for that type of gig, where I can sit in a room talking.”
Horror Fuel: “Besides Ash, what has been your favorite role to date?”
Bruce Campbell: “I have about a handful, Brisco, Autolycus in Hercules and Xena was fun, Bubba Ho-Tep was fun, a couple of random things. I’ve done some fun ones.”
Horror Fuel: “You’ve been great in so many roles. I loved you as Elvis in Bubba Ho-Tep. You do a mean Elvis impression. I know a lot of fans wonder if we’ll ever see a sequel to Bubba Ho-Tep.”
Bruce Campbell: “No. I’ve already told Don Coscarelli and Joe Lansdale no. I’m out. I’m done with that character too. I thought that the movie was very special. I didn’t care for subsequent scripts. I just pulled out of it. Just let that one be, it’s a little gem of a movie.”
Horror Fuel: “Sometimes sequels can be a bad thing.”
Bruce Campbell: “Sequels can ruin movies sometimes. All you remember is the shitty sequel.”
Horror Fuel: “Can you tell us anything about your role as Gary in the upcoming series Lodge 49?”
Bruce Campbell: “It’s a great part. I was finishing a book tour last year – it started in August and I did thirty-five cities, for my third book. At the end of a book tour you’re throwing up blood, you don’t know what your name is. I was going down to Florida for my last book signing in Tampa. Paul Giamatti contacts me and says ‘Dude you’ve got to play this part. I haven’t been talking to anybody else, I’m not auditioning anybody. You have to do it.” I wasn’t prepared to do anything except sleep for a week. I read the script and it was three episodes for this show Lodge 49. I was like ‘Oh shit. He’s right, I have to do this. So against my better judgment, I went back up to Atlanta. Hopefully, it came out nice. I don’t think my episodes come out until next year.”
Horror Fuel: “We’ll be watching.”
Bruce Campbell: “It’s such a great part.”
Horror Fuel: “Sam Raimi is working on a project with short films. Will you be involved?”
Bruce Campbell: “I don’t know. Sam and I had a fun little excursion recently, but I don’t know. I don’t have any plans to do that but never say never. Sam’s my homie. It’s always fun to be in his stuff.”
Horror Fuel: “You mentioned your books a few minutes ago, any chance we will get another one?”
Bruce Campbell: “I’m working on a new deal with my publisher right now. I’m going to tour and hopefully do twenty cities in 2020 for the new book.”
Horror Fuel: “By any chance can you reveal the title?”
Bruce Campbell: “I can, but I won’t. Things like that can change, then people go ‘[changes voice] What happened to that book Flight of the Pheonix?” No, now it’s named Death Wish 3000. Sometimes titles change.”
Horror Fuel: ” Oh, okay. [laughter] I can’t wait to check it out.”
Bruce Campbell: “It’s part of the new chapter in my life. The new non-Ash chapter of my life, more homegrown material, I want to write new stuff. Over the years I’ve developed a lot of stuff. A dozen different projects, books, movies, TV shows. The other day my wife was like ‘If we don’t start doing this now when are we going to do it? You’re sixty, you’re old.’ That’s the thought behind that.
As far as writing, it’s the most gratifying work I’ve ever done, more than movies. You make a million-dollar movie there is a lot of opinions and ideas. Make a really expensive movie there are even more people with opinions, and ideas, and demands. The creative process gets horribly worn down. In the book world, I’ve got one guy, my editor, who reads stuff and gives me feedback. That’s it, one guy. I like that world. The last book I put out, good or bad, it’s a bestseller. We got to number eight. It’s the book I wanted to put out about ninety-eight percent. You make a movie, you’re lucky to get thirty percent of the shit that you like before somebody gets it. A lot of the time in a movie, if you’re a director, you turn it over to the producer and you never see it again. They could cut it into a musical if they want to. People talk about how creative movies are, they’re okay, but being creatively satisfying, nah. They are not that creatively satisfying because they go through so many processes of approval because they cost so much money. It’s much more of a pure artistic experience with writing, I’ll tell you that.”
Horror Fuel: “What type of writing will you be doing? Will there be more books like your previous ones?”
Bruce Campbell: “There will be everything, fiction, nonfiction. It’s fun to mix it up. Then there are movies, I’ve got a couple of scripts, some for TV shows too. Act three has begun.”
Horror Fuel: “I can’t wait to see your third act. If they are anything like your first two they’ll be epic. Are you working on any other roles right now?”
Bruce Campbell: “There’s plenty of stuff. Right now I’m working on Tangled, the Disney cartoon. They are doing a TV show. I’m playing the king.”
Horror Fuel: “Hail to the King, baby.”
Bruce Campbell: “It’s fun to do voice stuff. There’s an Evil Dead video game coming too. There will be more of that. There are things that are there and that will happen, but aren’t worth talking about yet.
In the meantime, I’m doing my game show Last Fan Standing. We’ve got about half a dozen events coming up, everywhere from Berkeley, California to Denver. I’m doing this game show for geeks, Last Fan Standing. I’m in the game show phase of my career now [laughter]. It’s keeping me busy and I’m still doing conventions as well.”
Horror Fuel: That sounds fun. What’s your next stop and where can fans find your convention schedule?”
Bruce Campbell: “Horror Hound, but I have a website. Anybody can always go there.”
Horror Fuel: “If you could go back and give your younger self some advice, what would it be?”
Bruce Campbell: “I don’t take advice and I try not to give advice because it’s so meaningless. Even if I did tell my younger self I think I still would have done my own damn thing anyway. The film business is so topsy-turvy. It’s a strange world. There’s no advice that really holds any water. The best advice I would tell any actor is that no one is going to do anything for you.
Thank god for Twitter. Thank god for Facebook. That’s your way of saying hey to the world. Think you got talent? Make a video and put it on YouTube, start your own YouTube channel. There’s really no excuse for people to not get their stuff seen. Back in my day, before social media, how the hell would they know who you are? If it wasn’t in newspapers or magazines no one would see it when I started. Now you can go into your backyard and make a dumb movie and put it on YouTube or Twitter. It’s easier now for people to sell their wares. But you know what, at the end of the day, show me a lazy person and I’ll show you someone who is going to fail. It’s that simple. If you’re a lazy actor don’t come crying to me. There are always ways that you can get out there. You want to act? Call your local community theater and find out when they are doing Little Abner and go audition. How hard is that? It’s not that big of a deal.
On social media, there are certain topics that you just don’t touch. These days you can lose half your fans with just one Tweet. These days you can lose your whole career with just one Tweet. You have to be careful man. Don’t be drunk Tweeting or Ambien Tweeting. There’s your advice, beware of social media.”
Horror Fuel: “That makes a lot of sense. We’ve seen a lot of people in the news lately who have gotten in trouble over Tweets. ”
While you’re waiting for Bruce Campbell’s next film, series or book, be sure to check out the long list of his past work, including his books which are best described as “groovy”.
Follow Bruce on Facebook and Twitter. Stay up to date on all of his projects and to learn more about “Last Fan Standing” please visit his official website, where you can also find the schedule of his upcoming appearances and so much more. Meet the legend himself at the Fandemic Comic-Con running September 14th through the 16th in Houston, Texas (get your tickets HERE).
Don’t miss Bruce in “Lodge 49” premiering on AMC on August 6, 2018.