During our recent webcam chat (watch above) Bruce Campbell readily admitted to still having fun playing Ash Williams 35 years after creating the role in the first “Evil Dead” film. “He’s so flawed, he’s an idiot, he makes lots of mistakes. It’s so great to play a hero like that!” In his new Starz comedy series “Ash vs. Evil Dead,” the actor reprises his iconic role from the beloved comedy horror franchise. The series opens with Ash accidentally unleashing another plague of evil demons (or “deadites”) hell-bent on destroying the human race. “He’s the chosen one, but he’s just an average man. He’s mythic, but he’s idiotic at the same time, and I think that’s kind of cool.”
“Ash vs. Evil Dead,” which was created by created by “Evil Dead” trilogy helmer Sam Raimi as well as Ivan Raimi and Tom Spezialy, has been a big success for Starz. Indeed the paycaster renewed it days before the first season premiere last fall. The show, which scores a jaw-dropping 98% rating at Rotten Tomatoes, is being campaigned in the comedy categories at the Emmys.
“It’s been really satisfying,” says Campbell about the critical acclaim. “Normally with ‘Evil Dead,’ fifty percent of the reviews were bad. They would say that Sam Raimi took every bad idea he had and put it into a low budget blender. Those were the reviews we would normally get. And they’d make fun of the cheesy lighting, the bad acting the cheap special effects.” Now he says, “we have two excellent directors of photography, we have award-winning effects guys, and the acting is hopefully better. We’re more experienced as filmmakers.”
He welcomes the opportunity to both thrill diehard fans and bring in new ones unfamiliar with the original material. “I did Ash once in the seventies, I did Ash once in the eighties, I did Ash once in the nineties and I missed a decade, so now we’re making up for it,” the actor explains. “It’s a great chance to really flesh out the character.” Campbell concedes there was a risk in bringing the material to TV. “We knew people were clamoring for more ‘Evil Dead,’ but we weren’t sure they’d accept it in this format, and thankfully they have.”
During our free-wheeling chat, Campbell also teases the second season. “We’re going to meet Ash’s dad, the great Lee Majors, and there are other spoilers that I probably shouldn’t tell you, but there are going to be some familiar characters that are going to be returning, so there’s a lot of Easter eggs.”
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