Interview: Bruce Campbell Says Season 3 of ‘Ash vs. Evil Dead’ Raises the Stakes
The home video release of Ash vs. Evil Dead, Season 2 is just around the corner. In celebration of that fact, we got to speak with the cast of the show who let us in on their characters’ respective journeys during this season and in the season to come. Warning: There is a slight spoiler warning for those of you who have yet to catch up on Ash vs. Evil Dead, for some reason.
In Season 2, Ash and the gang are forced to leave Jacksonville and travel to Ash’s home town of Elk Grove, Michigan where its citizens have run him out after the events of Evil Dead 2. There, he confronts Ruby, only to find that she too is now a victim of evil and in need of Ash’s help. The former enemies become reluctant allies as Elk Grove soon becomes the nucleus of evil.
In this article, Bruce Campbell talks about what Ash has gone through up until now, and what will motivate him in the next in season.
Legion of Leia: After years and years of receiving persecution from the people of Elk Grove, how do you feel about Ash being the town hero now?
Bruce Campbell: I would say that it’s great…but short lived. [Laughing] In Season 3, he takes over his dad’s hardware store, and he’s just the town hero. But, y’know, as it kind of went at the beginning of Season 2, so goes Season 3. It’s gonna go down the shooter, I can guarantee that. And it when it goes down, it’s gonna go down bad.
LoL: Oh no….
BC: Yeah. Don’t let the confetti fool you. [Laughs] But! You know, he had to save the world and convince the whole town that he’s not “Ashy Slashy.” That was a tough thing for him to shoulder for that season; he had to save his home town. That’s part of the hero journey.
LoL: Now that the town knows that supernatural evil exists, what does that spell for the rest of the country? The world, even.
BC: It’s gonna get big in Season 3. It’s going well beyond Elk Grove. In fact, it will expand to wherever you think it might go. The cat’s gonna get out of the bag, I guess you can say. Some big shit’s gotta go down. Season 3 is big on the side of evil, and so the good guys’ gotta get big, too. They gotta get as big as they’re gonna get. It’s the ultimate good versus evil.
The toll is taken. Not everyone is gonna get to the other side.
LoL: Oh no!
BC: [Season 3] is a rough season.
LoL: Do you mean that the show is going to get darker with more serious tones than comedy?
BC: It’s funny when people ask that question; I never know if it’s a loaded question or not. Would you personally prefer a darker episode, or would you prefer more comedy? The answer is: We always try to do both. I don’t want it to get too dark. I’m just not interested in that as a human being. [Sam Raimi] and our other partners sometimes don’t want to get too light, either. We do want the horror to be real, but the rest of it — in my feeling — all bets are off. And there’s a third element we try to bring in — the mythology.
LoL: Maybe you can clear this up a little. Was Kelly originally supposed to be Ash’s secret daughter before it supposedly got nixed?
BC: I think that was mostly rumor, wasn’t that?
LoL: Y’know, I have no idea at this point. [Laughter]
BC: Honestly, to be fair, not what I would call a terrible idea. But, in Season 3, you’ll actually get the real thing.
LoL: Then in what direction is Kelly going to go? Season 2 started showing that she might become an even bigger badass.
BC: She is becoming more of a badass! She’ll be joined by this like-minded group that will join in on the big fight. That’s going to add a new dynamic for her. And our buddy, Pablo, is going to get his brujo on. The brujo powers that he got from his uncle are going to start manifesting. He was a little conflicted, at first, in Season 2. There was a lot of physiological stuff that he endured. Now, he’s got visions; he can see and interpret. He’s knocking on the door from being a full-on shaman now.
BC: And good ol’ Lucy Lawless is carrying on being untrustworthy Ruby. In Season 3, she’s really going to show her shitty side. She has to be dealt with, I’ll just put it to you that way. She will not disappoint.
LoL: Awesome. Speaking of awesome…Lee Majors as your dad. Bravo.
BC: Yeah, that’s a walk-away home run right there. I was like, “If we get Lee Majors, everything else in the universe will make sense.” They say “Never meet your heroes,” but Lee did not disappoint. Old school, classic guy.
I’d be like, “Lee do you need anything?” He’d just sitting around on the set all day and say [imitates Lee Majors with a low grumbly voice] “No, I’m good.”
“You want me to get you some water? I just drowned you in the bath tub.”[in Lee Majors’ voice] “No, I’m good.”
He’s a great guy. In Season 3, I got more screen time with him as a ghost!
BC: Yeah, the father comes back, but not necessarily in a helpful way.
LoL: Does that mean we’ll get to learn the secret he’s been trying to tell Ash?
BC: Yeah. There is an answer. It’ll be a part of the myth.
LoL: The filming for Season 3 finish, in what, June?
BC: Yup! We all came crawling away, spewing out blood.
LoL: Ooooh, speaking of blood — How many…gallons of blood do you estimate you go through in an episode?
BC: The effects guys have a tally. They have one gag alone in Season 2 where they used 20 gallons. For one shot. They really have it down to a science. They have nozzles and pressure tubes — we always march them outside to a wall with an outline of a human and they shoot it at the “human” so we know A) the force [of the blood that is shooting out]. Sometimes, you get this shit in your face, and like “Oh god! I’m blind!” It really hits you. Get shot with a shotgun, that shit’s gonna splat. The Kiwi craftsmen [Editor’s Note: Ash vs. Evil Dead is shot in New Zealand] on the crew are just spectacular. We have all kinds of crazy blood rigs. Every season [chuckles] is just some new hell.
LoL: So can you tell us what the general plot of Season 3 is? How much can you reveal?
BC: The mythology is going to start taking over. By the end of [Season 3], everything you know is now different. It’ll be a pretty spectacular ending.
It’s all basically coming to a head. The thing with Ruby, she was sort of the gatekeeper, and now it’s kind of like–um–a cat watching the mice. There are some changes in the dynamics. It’s all going to get bigger.
Here’s what it is: The evil is going to test the mettle of the average man. That’s where Ash comes in. This is his mythology. He’s not a superhero. He’s one of the most average people. He’s lousy in temperament, he’s out of shape, he’s sometimes smart and sometimes not, he’s not the best hero to test. But that’s part of the mythology — Can an average human defend his world from an invading evil? Can his inherent goodness overcome an obstacle physically greater than him?
LoL: So Season 3 will put an emphasis on Ash being the Chosen One.
BC: Yeah, and what does it mean. Because of his family, it’s going to take on a new dynamic. These demons are like the mafia. If you can’t get to the guy, get to his family. There’s a lot of other implications for the other people in his life. It’s getting more personal, and more prophetic at the same time.
LoL: Will 2013’s Evil Dead ever tie into Ash vs. Evil Dead, or has that always been complete rumor?
BC: That movie was always meant to stand on its own. Fede Álvarez wanted to make his own, he didn’t want to make it zany, you know… Look, the first Evil Dead was a melodrama. Let’s not kid ourselves. It got some laughs because there was some over-the-top stuff. No actors were told to play it in with any sort of wry humor in any way. We weren’t that sophisticated. Evil Dead 2 is kind of “slash-tick” — a little horror, a little comedy. Army of Darkness is kind of “splat-stick.” It’s horror and comedy.
When it came time to remake it, Fede’s pitch was that he was doing more of an homage to the first one. Some people were like, “We liked it.” It made $97 million, so somebody watched it. And if you didn’t know the Evil Dead movies, you would actually look at that and go “That’s a cool. creepy movie.” Because it is.
That guy Fede is a talented son of a bitch. He went on to make even more success with Don’t Breathe. We’re gonna see a lot more of that guy. I’m proud of [Evil Dead, 2013], but I understand why people would think that there’s a missing component — whether it’s directed by [Sami Raimi] or whether the Ash character’s in it, or whether there was humor. But, I give Fede credit. He did his own thing and he stuck to it. He’s a damn good director.
LoL: I watched it at a friend’s house from underneath the safety of a pillow fort that I had made. As a stand alone movie, I thought it was great. Scary as hell for me, but great.
BC: Yeah. I you compare it to the other movies, I get why you would favor one versus the other. I finally heard from some people who were like, “I didn’t know much about the Evil Dead movies, then I saw that and it scared the shit out of me.” Yeah, it’s a creepy movie.
LoL: Final question. What was the most pain in the ass scene to shoot during Season 2, and what was your favorite?
BC: Most pain in the ass scene was actually up the ass, you could say. [Laughs] Yeah, Ash going up the cadaver’s butt was probably the height, or the bottom, of the season. Most of it’s fun, but the blood is annoying. I was doing FaceTime with my wife and I had another bloody face. She goes, Y’know what it is? You have ‘poopy diaper syndrome.'” And I’m like, “What is that?”
“You have the equivalent of sitting in a poopy diaper all day long.”
I’m like…”Yeah, that makes sense.” So that’s the only part that’s annoying. The rest of it — the creative part, our ability to do what we want, no content restrictions by STARZ — that’s all the great part. The physical aspect of it is the only downside, but that will pass. I look back at it now and go, “Oh! That was fine!” I tend to forget everything that was horrible. [Laughs]
The home entertainment release of Ash vs Evil Dead: Season 2 will be available Tuesday, August 22, 2017 on Blu-ray and DVD for $43.99 and $34.98, respectively.