Bruce Campbell doesn't just play a president on TV (he starred as Ronald Reagan in Fargo), his iconic character Ashely Williams is also running for President of the United States for real. Though, Ash may be far too busy dealing with the Deadites who have overtaken his home town of Elk Grove in Ash Vs. Evil Dead Season 2 to concentrate on the White House. Not to mention, Bruce himself is far too busy creating, acting in and promoting the Starz returning series to focus on anything outside of making this the best horror show on TV at this current moment in time.
Ash Vs Evil Dead Season 2 is set to premiere Sunday, October 2. The first season is now available on Blu-ray, DVD and VOD. The show is the long-awaited follow-up to the classic horror film franchise The Evil Dead, and it brings Ash back in for the fight of his life. To celebrate both the release of Season 1 for the home market, and the upcoming new episodes, we chatted with star Bruce Campbell about what we can expect in these all-new episodes, how rough Season 1 was on him physically, and the fact that a guest star will be called in if Ashley Williams actually does win the vote for president. The way things are going, let's face it, Ashley Williams might be our only hope!
In Season 1, we discover that Ash is still a stock boy and aging lothario. He's also still a chainsaw-handed monster hunter who has spent the last 30 years avoiding responsibility, maturity and the terrors of the Evil Dead. When a Deadite plague threatens to destroy all of mankind, Ash is finally forced to face his demons, personal and literal. Destiny, it turns out, has no plans to release the unlikely hero from its Evil grip. After waging a seemingly endless battle that takes him back to the cabin where it all began, Ash makes a deal with Ruby and is no longer in need of saving the world. But in Season 2 that all changes.
In the first Season 2 episode, the party in Jacksonville, Florida is over when Ash, Pablo, and Kelly are summoned by Ruby back to Ash's hometown to form an unlikely alliance. Ash's dad Brock, and the local pub rats give a chilly welcome to the man who's come to save them from evil. The townsfolk all believe that Ash murdered his friends and sister in that infamous cabin, earning him the nickname Ashy Slashy. Now, Ash must make things right.
The second season of the STARZ Original series Ash vs Evil Dead will be 10 half-hour episodes. The cast is led by Bruce Campbell in the role of Ash Williams; Lucy Lawless as Ruby, who now possesses the powerful Necronomicon; Ray Santiago as Pablo Simon Bolivar, Ash's loyal sidekick dealing with the trauma he suffered in the cabin; and Dana DeLorenzo as Kelly Maxwell, who, grief-stricken after the death of her parents, plots revenge against The Evil Dead. Lee Majors will play the role of Brock Williams, Ash's father, and Ted Raimi will play the role of Ash's childhood best friend, Chet Kaminski.
Sam Raimi serves as executive producer with Rob Tapert, Bruce Campbell and Ivan Raimi, along with Craig DiGregorio who serves as executive producer/show-runner. Aaron Lam and Moira Grant serve as producers. Here is our conversation with Bruce Campbell about what we can expect to see this season and well into the future. We also learn where Army of Darkness fits into the scheme of things, and the likelihood of whether or not we'll ever see Jane Levy's Mia again.
How did you decided that Lee Majors should be Ash's dad? That seems like a pretty perfect choice.
Bruce Campbell: We were looking for him. We wanted him. People asked, 'Who do you want as Ash's dad?' And I would always say, 'Lee Majors!' What, are you crazy? It's so simple. He's the Six Million Dollar Man. Ash is half bionic, himself. And don't kid yourself if there aren't a couple of winks in there.
Ash is half bionic. He's been sailing by on the use of his Chainsaw hand for a couple of decades now. Is there going to come another point where he suffers a major injury, or gets some kind of new bionic upgrade? Is there another major disfigurement in Ash's future?
Bruce Campbell: Well, I think the actual contingent of me suffering...Well, YEAH! I blew a hamstring for this damn show in Season 2. I've got your suffering. The character of Ash has always been tormented. And this season is all about how many more ways can we torment him? I think you will be satisfied at the new levels of torment. Ash is certainly mentally suffering this season. There is one point that comes in this new Season that I am literally calling 'Ash Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest'. Horror comes in many colors. So this year we are doing psychological horror on top of everything else.
How did you pull your hamstring?
Bruce Campbell: Fighting! Fighting, fighting, fighting...The last two episodes is nothing but fighting, so, you know! That's the old geezer now. I pull a hamstring. I need to stretch more, I guess. It's nothing too out of the usual.
Last season you were hitting the walls and floor and ceiling pretty hard. They were throwing you around quite a bit. And there are some scenes were it looks like it couldn't be anyone but you. Where's your stuntman for all of this?
Bruce Campbell: Make no mistake. I have a very busy stunt guy named Raicho Vasilev. He is from Bulgaria. I met him during The Man With the Screaming Brain. He is a very busy, very good stunt guy. But, you know, I have kept pretty physical over the years. And I do more than the average actor. Look, I'm not going throw myself down the stairs. Breaking your neck is gong to stop the show. That is the mantra. Don't do anything that is going to stop the show. But, you know, we had to do a sequence where...It was a whole sequence with a car, that is causing all kinds of problems. It requires Ash to be hit by the car. I thought, 'This sequence is going to be a lot better if it's just me.' So we let it hit me. So we did stuff like that this season, much to my dismay. After I did it, I realized it was a bad idea. But it will make for a fun shot.
In Season 1 you guys have some great looking monsters. I know you're a producer as well as an actor on the show. How much input do you have on bringing some of this stuff to life. Do you go down the line giving your opinion on everything. Or do you just come to set, and see this stuff for the first time?
Bruce Campbell: You know what? Here is what it is. We all have different light bulbs. I care about my actors. So, who's gong to play my dad? Lee Majors! Got it! Can we get this person? I wanted Lucy Lawless. So I'm all, 'Come on, Rob, get Lucy!' I'm very involved in that aspect. I'm very involved in what comes out of Ash's mouth. Obviously. The overarching story is very important to me. I know that we have these special effects guys who are just top rated. And Rob Tapert is very under-appreciated as a creative director. Rob does a lot of hands-on creative decisions as we're getting dumped with blood on the set. We all have to divide and conquer and do different things at different times. We all read the scripts, and that is an important time to weight in. We try not to weigh in too late. If you wait until the guy comes to set, that's too late. We know better. We make comments when it's affective, not destructive. This is TV baby! You've got to keep rolling.
Speaking about the overall story arch, in this season we get to meet Ash's family and his hometown. You said before this got started that you had a five year plan. How do you take what you are doing now in this season into seasons 3 and 4 and 5?
Bruce Campbell: Look, we do have a plan. If you don't know where you are going, you don't know whether an episode fits within that structure. Everyone should learn from Babylon 5. That guy came in and said, 'I have five years planned out. This is my entire plan.' He did it, he sold it, and he stuck to it. And people loved it. Every writer in that room knew where that show was going. We are trying to do that. We don't yet know every teeny tiny thing, but we certainly know where we're going. And we have to plan, 'What if people like it?' How will we get them to continue to like it? You have to come up with stuff. So, there is a writer we've brought aboard that I'm very excited about that I'm not sure we can announce yet. That I'm very happy to have him on season three. Because he's a big picture thinker. Which is something I really like. But this new season is cool, too. Ash goes home. He has to go to his hometown. And they don't like him. They all think he is a serial killer. They think he is John Wayne Gacey. It ruined his dad's business. There is one episode where Ash has to reestablish himself with the whole town, he also has to save the world and kill the Deadites. The deal he made with Ruby at the end of Season 1 was obviously a shitty deal. Ash did what he could at the time. He made decisions that were good at the time. But now he has to deal with it. It's cool. I love going back, character-wise it's really good. This is good for Ash. People are going to see him differently. He's become too much like a teacher you are seeing after school. You have to get used to Ash in all scenarios.
Is Sam Raimi coming back to direct any of the episodes in Season 2 or Season 3?
Bruce Campbell: We're not going to get him in the upcoming seasons. He is mister big shot. He has other opportunities. What was important was that Sam directed the initial pilot in Season 1. He set the bar and the tone and everything else. He's been instrumental, too. He's been there reading scripts and overseeing the episodes. So, he knows if he needs to jump in, he'll jump in. But the whole idea is that the TV show, it's unrealistic for him to stay that involved.
Now what about Fede Alvarez? There had been some talk that he may step in and direct an episode...
Bruce Campbell: Never say never. But let's not forget, Fede has already done Evil Dead. He's a very individualistic director, and you'll see by his new movie Don't Breathe, that Fede on his own has a whole different taste, and a different take on horror. He may never want to come back to this universe. And I would totally understand. Would he be a good guy to bring back? Hell yeah! The stuff I've seen from his new movie, he is a very talented director. If we can't get Fede, we'll be looking for guys like him. We've developed our own stable. We've just had some very good directors in Season 2 that we are definitely going to bring back.
Now, how do you guys plan to tie in Army of Darkness and the legacy of Mia into what you have going forward into Season 3, 4 and 5? Will we see this world collide with Army of Darkness and what was set up in the remake?
Bruce Campbell: You're getting way ahead of yourself. I wouldn't overplay that Army of Darkness thing. Rob Tapert mentioned one thing about that. It means there are elements of Army of Darkness at play. We're not going to mention characters' names, or anything like that. But we will use time travel. Time travel was already ours. We had that from Evil Dead 2. And beyond. If you have a book and a chainsaw, and a shotgun, and an axe, you pretty much have the Evil Dead series in a nutshell. So, if we pick stuff from Army of Darkness, it's going to be elements that already exist. You know what I'm saying? I wouldn't overstate that. And the two universes may never blend together. But it is intriguing to think that they could. I think Jane Levy is a great actress. She was great to work with. And I'd love to again. Just don't get so far ahead of yourself. This show is taking a lot of our time, and we don't really have time to do anything else between making and promoting the show. We're really concentrating on just this TV show. But, by the way, if the show is successful, then yeah...You'll get sequels and spin-offs and board games. Whatever you want. You're going to get it. But the focus right now is to make sure that people get this show, and it's the show that they want, so that we can keep giving it to them.
If you're so busy with the show, how are you going to deal with the fact that everyone is going to write you in as president?
Bruce Campbell: I can always get me some guest stars. That's easy. That's fine. If Fargo calls, I'll be there. I can still do that other fun stuff.
I'm talking about the real presidency. Not playing Ronald Reagan. You have a campaigning right now where Ash is running for president. And the way things are, I'd certainly vote for Ash.
Bruce Campbell: Oh, that's right! Ash is actually running for president! You know what? If Ash is asked...He will serve! He will serve this country proudly!