Who is Bruce Campbell? Seriously, this was a question I had to answer for my mother! Bruce Campbell is the King of the B-Actors, a true modern renaissance man. His IMDb page lists over a hundred credits. He’s a producer and director, as well as the author of a New York Times bestseller. But to fans around the world, the answer to the above question is simple: he’s Ash Williams, the chainsaw-handed lothario from the Evil Dead franchise. He’s also my favorite actor, someone I proudly waited 4 hours to meet at a horror convention, and whom I got to interview last year while on vacation with my family inside of Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando. That interview occurred over the phone in the quietest place I could find in a theme park known for loud attractions. A year later, lightning struck a second time. I was privileged to get to interview Mr. Bruce Campbell this month, and had time to discuss his upcoming book, as well as upcoming Season 3 of the Starz hit series Ash vs Evil Dead.
Check out the interview here below.
Geeks of Doom: Hi Bruce, how are you?
Bruce Campbell: Good sir, how are you?
Geeks of Doom: I’m great. I got to speak with you last summer and also at Comic-Con in NY.
Bruce Campbell: I remember both times distinctly.
Geeks of Doom: I’m sure you remember each of your interviewers.
Bruce Campbell: Very distinct.
Geeks of Doom: I wanted to start with your new book, Hail to the Chin. I just re-read If Chins Could Kill last night to prep for the interview, and this upcoming book is billed as a sequel.
Bruce Campbell: Yes, it’s a direct sequel.
Geeks of Doom: Your first book was very linear, from childhood up to 2002. What was it like reliving these last 15 years?
Bruce Campbell: I think that’s why I wrote it, I looked back and said, “Whoa a lot of stuff went down these 15 years.” Now this is part of a trilogy mind you, the final one is going to be The Final Confessions of a B-Movie Actor, and that will cover the next 15 years. I’ll be almost 75 at that point, hang up the chainsaw, sit in the rocking chair, and write the final book. So that’s coming. But in the meantime, the last 15 years were great – going to visit troops in Iraq, making movies in Bulgaria, you know, a lot of crazy stuff.
Geeks of Doom: What would you consider professionally your biggest highlight of that 15-year period? You directed your first film, The Man with the Screaming Brain, Burn Notice, or returning to Ash?
Bruce Campbell: There were things that popped out, there were highlights. I thought Bubba Ho-Tep (2002) was a very fun experience, and that turned into a sort of companion classic genre flick, which I’m very glad. That and Burn Notice was a 7-year hit show for USA. I’ve been a part of television hits and failures, and it’s just great to be a part of a hit show. The fun there was just not being on something that sucked. I thought it was a decent show. I mean we did as many episodes as Miami Vice by the end of the day, so it was a great long-term employment experience. It really gets you down with the whole television vibe. I like the pace of television.
Geeks of Doom: I read the chapter of your new book that’s available online, and you brought up your experience of going to Iraq. What does it mean to you, a confessed B-actor, that these troops, some who’ve given so much, were so excited to see you?
Bruce Campbell: Well, B-actor doesn’t mean bad, it just means a little more genre. I probably have more genre movies in my background than most actors, but some of my favorite movies are B-movies. But hey, most movies today are B-movies. You get bitten by a radioactive spider, guess what, that’s a B-movie. You get dressed up like a bat to defend Gotham, you’re in a B-movie. But anyways, I’m just happy the troops dig me. Because people like an escape, some of them need an escape, and B-movies can very often be that because they’re not like real life. Real life can be hard, and you can see that shit on the 6:00 news. I think that’s why genre movies like horror, sci-fi, and fantasy are so popular.
Geeks of Doom: Of course, I’m a huge fan of yours and I’m in a Bruce Campbell Fan Club group on Facebook that has over 50,000 members. I asked them to send me their questions and I’d ask one, so here’s one from Pepper Kaminski: You’ve been an actor, director, writer, producer. What is left for Bruce Campbell to do that you’ve never done or always wanted to do?
Bruce Campbell: Believe it or not, most actors aspire to make really big movies. I aspire to make really teeny ones. I’m going to go back to my mountain in Oregon, and make teeny little movies in the state of Oregon, and tour with them. I’ll probably write more books, probably start the next book this Fall. I’m gonna keep it simple. I’m getting off the hamster wheel a little more. When you work on bigger shows and bigger movies they have more restrictions. They tell you where to shoot and you don’t have a lot of choices. So I’m gonna get back to doing more living where I live.
Geeks of Doom: The book, Hail to the Chin, is coming out on August 15th and you have a book tour coming up.
Bruce Campbell: That’s right, 35 cities across this beautiful country of ours.
Geeks of Doom: I’ll be there in Ridgewood, New Jersey, on Monday the 14th to meet you live and in person. You did a tour for your first book, what do you most look forward to on these tours and what do you least look forward to?
Bruce Campbell: The tour itself is exciting. The concept of going to 35 cities is always exciting. Some of the cities you go to you go, “Great, I’m back in this cool city, the people are really friendly,” and some cities you go “Oh yeah, I remember this city, the people are nasty,” so you go through the highs and lows of it. The highs of course are that you get to meet people. It’s a very personal experience, they’re buying a book that you wrote, it’s not a movie that I made for a big studio, so it’s a little more of a direct contact. Books are a little more personal. In the book I talk a little more about my personal life to some extent. So the interactions are great. Most fans are very well behaved, very cooky, lots of tattoos, but the grind is really the only bad part of touring. The first book I did 55 cities over 5 months, and I’d come out to the parking lot and I’d forget what color the rental car was because I got it the night before when it was dark. I had no clue where I parked it in the lot, so I’m standing there hitting the alarm button on the remote trying to find the car. Or the elevator door would open and you say, “Wait, that’s not the lobby I remember.” It all became a big blur. I sort of understand why rock stars would smash up their motel rooms, not that I did. The trudging, that’s the only down side. Because sometimes you want to tour slower, but those damn publishers, they got the whip on ya, they want to get you out quick.
Geeks of Doom: OK, that’s great, like I said, I’ll be there next week, can’t wait. Let’s talk about Ash vs Evil Dead. Season 3 is completed right? Because there is a lot of nervousness from fans. Starz has yet to promote it for the Fall or set a start date for Season 3. Can you give us the story on what’s going with Season 3?
Bruce Campbell: Well we finished Season 3 and it’s sort of a whopper, a jaw dropper. We’re pretty damn excited about it, it was a very exhausting season. We get much more into the mythology this season, so there’s a lot of cool new stuff. New characters, new dimensions, we find out that Ash may have a daughter. There’s big implications there. And as far as Starz, here’s the truth: two giant companies merged, Starz and Lionsgate. Now, it’s a year later and decisions have to be made about their future. Everyone involved has to decide what to do now. The trick is, do you go ahead again in the Fall like traditionally? Or do you get out of that field, there’s a lot of sports, a lot of football, and all the crap. Do you dump into a better timeslot? I don’t know, I’m not the expert. But that’s what they’re trained to do. But they haven’t announced because they’re still deciding what’s best. As far as any other rumors beyond that there’s really nothing to freak out about. They haven’t announced a Season 4, but they haven’t seen the finished episodes because a lot of times that has a lot of influence. We hope episodes 9 and 10 of this season are going to basically blow their heads off. And they’ll say “we can’t NOT make the next season.” We tried to make it as compelling as possible. Creatively fulfilling, tying up a bunch of story ends, but also being compelling enough for them to want to see more of it next season. So that’s it, we’re waiting. I’m waiting like everyone is waiting.
Geeks of Doom: When I spoke to you last year and asked about then upcoming Season 2, your direct quote to me was, “unparalleled audacity.” I was at NYCC where you screened Episode 2, with the infamous scene of you going… up the butt, and I swear the guy next to me wretched and then almost passed out on me.
Bruce Campbell: I bet the other guy next to you was laughing his ass off.
Geeks of Doom: Last season on Ash vs Evil Dead, you acted alongside a legendary Lee Majors and reunited with Ellen Sandweiss from the original Evil Dead film. Do you have more surprises and guest stars lined up for Season 3?
Bruce Campbell: Season 3 there’s going to be some stuff that comes to a head for some of these characters, and all the lead characters are basically going to go through hell and back. Don’t forget the time travel aspect which is always a possibility. But the mythology is going to be key here, finding out why this guy who lives in a trailer home was prophesied in an ancient book. And it’s actually him, not some bullshit myth, it’s really him. But what is it then? What is about this guy who’s so average, he’s below average, why him? That’s what we’re getting into, which I think is great. Plus, he has to entertain the notions of being a father.
Geeks of Doom: I mean the mythology is what drew so many fans into it, with the Necronomicon and everything.
Bruce Campbell: Yeah, so we continue that and expand it. He meets other people who are of like mind this season.
Geeks of Doom: I’ve asked you this question before, but I feel I have to ask again: Any thoughts on a musical episode, since the Evil Dead musical was so successful?
Bruce Campbell: Nah, just go see the musical. You don’t do a musical episode until you’re about six seasons in, that’s when you start to run out of ideas.
Geeks of Doom: That’s true. My last question, actually a two-parter, but short and simple. First, will you and the cast of Ash vs Evil Dead be back at NYCC this Fall; and second, have you or will you be directing any episodes of Ash, something I know you’ve done on the shows you’ve appeared on before?
Bruce Campbell: I will be at New York Comic-Con. I don’t know who’s coming with me, I hope everybody comes. We’re coming to the big bad city for that. As far as directing, I don’t think so, the show is too exhausting. I think if I had to direct as well, my head would explode. I’ll leave that to other capable people.
Geeks of Doom: Thank you so much for your time, I really appreciate it.
Bruce Campbell: Bye sir, you be good.
And just like that, my 15 minutes were up. While I stammered through some of my questions, and couldn’t hide my inner fanboy, Bruce Campbell did not disappoint. He is exactly how’d you expect him to be: sarcastic, charismatic, and a straight shooter. Hail to the Chin, second part of his “Chin Trilogy,” is out in bookstores everywhere on August 15th. His 35-city book tour starts Monday, August 14th in Ridgewood, NJ and runs through November. Ash vs Evil Dead Season 2 comes out on Blu-Ray and DVD on Tuesday, August 22nd, and Season 3 is awaiting a start date on Starz.
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