Tag Archives: ‘Evil Dead’

Interview: Groovy Bruce Campbell talks ‘Hail to the Chin’

With a career in film and television that spans more than 35 years, actor Bruce Campbell has been a mainstay with fans since his groovy debut as director Sam Raimi’s anti-hero Ashley J. “Ash” Williams in the 1981 horror classic “The Evil Dead.” Since then, he’s thrilled fans by reprising Ash in the sequels “Evil Dead 2” and “Army of Darkness,” and reprised the chain-saw handed, boomstick-slinging Deadite slayer in the outrageously entertaining STARZ horror series “Ash vs. Evil Dead. ”

But in between, Campbell has led a remarkable life as an actor and director on several other projects; and he’s also earned a stellar reputation on the pop culture convention circuit, where he’s greeted countless numbers of fans over the years with his trademark wit and undeniable charm. Basically, Campbell has proven despite his successes in the industry that he’s just an average Joe that has worked hard enough to maintain a living for nearly four decades in one of the most competitive businesses on the planet.

Needless to say, Campbell has amassed his fine share of unique behind-the-scenes stories along the way, which he first shared in his memoir “If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of B-Movie Actor” in 2001. But since Campbell’s career kept rocketing skyward after 2001, naturally he has accumulated more interesting tales, which led him to do a follow-up memoir “Hail to the Chin: Further Confessions of a B-Movie Actor” (St. Martin’s Press), new on store shelves and online Tuesday.

While often filled with humor, Campbell’s stories, like in the first “Chin” book (an ode to the actor’s square-jawed mug) is also deeply personal and revealing. It’s that sort of honestly in both his screen and personal appearances that fans have glommed on to, mainly because Campbell is so relatable to them.

While most actors give off the whiff of inaccessibility as they attend red carpet premieres, awards shows and other events generally not accessible to the public, Campbell is happy on the flip side to bring the show to the people who have kept him employed all these years. To Campbell, the barrier between stars and fans shouldn’t be so thick.

“I’m always happy to poke a hole in that. I don’t want people to put me up on a pedestal. I don’t want to be seen as anything special,” Campbell said in a phone conversation from New Jersey on Monday. “So, maybe talking about getting a DUI will bring me down to earth a little bit in some people’s minds, which is exactly what I want. Athletes shouldn’t be put up on pedestals, politicians, no one — because they’re all going to fall. We’re humans. We make stupid decisions.”

Thankfully, Campbell believes the real dumb decisions are behind him, because now they’re viewed in a completely different light.

“Nowadays, good God, with all the social media — all the stupid crap coming out of actors’ mouths is now immortalized on the internet, “Campbell observed. “If you have one bad night and someone photographs you? Oh, baby. And if they record your rant that normally wouldn’t be happening, you have to watch out. It’s a different ball game out there.”

Co-authored by Campbell’s longtime assistant, Craig Sanborn, “Hail to the Chin” not only chronicles some of the actor’s adventures on and off the set with his longtime wife, Ida, it tells several of the stories — sometimes pretty, sometimes not so much — of his work on dozens of projects.

Included are tales of his work on the cult classics “Bubba Ho-Tep” and “My Name is Bruce,” as well as reuniting with his “Evil Dead” director Sam Raimi on the box office blockbusters “Oz the Great and Powerful” and the “Spider-Man” trilogy. Campbell also recounts his work on such television series as “Burn Notice” and “Ash vs. Evil Dead,” among many others, and his interesting encounters at conventions.

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Whether he’s on the road filming, promoting his work or meeting with fans, Campbell has more than earned his reputation of being one of the hardest-working men in show business. The actor believes a lot of his attitude is rooted in the solid Midwestern work ethic he developed growing up in Michigan, along with the likes of Sam Raimi and his brother, Ted (who also frequently collaborates with Campbell).

“I don’t know any other way. We grew up in a town full of factory workers,” said Campbell, 59. “These are guys who didn’t even like their jobs and yet they worked at them. It was inspiring in a way to take that work ethic and put it towards something that we chose to do. It makes you want to work hard if you’re doing your own thing, and take responsibility for it, too.”

Campbell is no doubt working harder than ever, not only on by embarking on a three-month, 35-city book tour to promote “Hail to the Chin,” but the third season of “Ash vs. Evil Dead,” which is completed but awaiting a premiere date. Of the upcoming the upcoming season, Campbell said, “Season 3 is a piece of work. We’re hoping by the 10th episode that you’ll have to pick your jaw up off the floor.” He also said to “expect the unexpected.”

No matter how long it will be until more Ash, fans not only have “Hail to the Chin” to keep themselves busy in all-things Campbell, but several more offerings from NECA, the major provider of “Ash vs. Evil Dead” merchandise. On the slate for late November/early December is a full-scale replica of the Ashy Slashy puppet from Season 2, which Campbell tried on Monday (“It was perfect. It was exactly like we shot with,” he said.); and a before that, more action figures from “Evil Dead II” and “Ash vs. Evil Dead.”

Bruce Campbell and his Ashy Slashy Puppet in Ash vs Evil Dead Season 2

And while the “Evil Dead II” figures are a wonderful blast from the past, the one thing Campbell said he’s finding is that the new action figures for “Ash vs. Evil Dead” are reminders of just how long he’s been in the business.

“They’ve done a great job, and they’re some of the best action figures that I’ve ever had,” Campbell said. “But I was joking the other day, ‘You know you’re craggy when your action figure is craggy.’ The new action figures got all the wrinkles and the crags, and I was like, ‘Wow. Thanks for nailin’ it.’ You think that they’d cut you a break and make you look 15 years younger, but no, no, no.”

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Movie reviews: ‘Hands of Stone,’ ‘Don’t Breathe’ on KQRS

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Tim Lammers reviews  Edgar Ramirez and Robert De Niro’s Roberto Duran boxing drama “Hands of Stone,” as well as horror thriller “Don’t Breathe” on “The KQ Morning Show” with Tom Barnard and the crew. Tim, Tom and the crew also weigh in on other movie releases and their box office prospects Hear the segment starting 10-and-a-half minutes in.

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Interview: Bruce Campbell talks ‘Last Fan Standing,’ ‘Ash Vs. Evil Dead’

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By Tim Lammers

Bruce Campbell, one of biggest attractions at Wizard World’s fan conventions, is turning the spotlight on the people who’ve showed up to support his work over the years – and he couldn’t be more thrilled.

Campbell, the star of the classic “Evil Dead” movie trilogy and such hit shows as “Xena: Warrior Princess,” “Jack of All Trades” and “Burn Notice,” has yet another new gig: the host of the new ConTV.com trivia game show “Last Fan Standing.” Debuting Monday on the website and other mobile platforms, the show features four fans at different Wizard World conventions facing off against each other with their knowledge of movies and TV shows in the sci-fi, horror and fantasy genres. Through a process of elimination based on points earned, the last of the four contestants is deemed the “Last Fan Standing.”

Campbell is a very affable host during the show, and often takes the time to have fun with the contestants — not make fun of them.

“You have to appreciate their love of the genres. We’re just trying to give them a chance to shine,” Campbell told me in an interview Monday. “There’s a lot of introverts who come to these things. Inside they’re dying because they want to talk about things, and in some cases, they can’t. But with the show, we’re hauling them up on stage and people are clapping, and we’re giving them prizes and stuff like that. It’s a special time for people who don’t usually get in the spotlight. They spend their whole lives looking at people in the spotlight, so with the show, we’re turning the spotlight on them. I think they’re enjoying the hell out of it.”

Campbell, who said he’s appeared at “dozens upon dozens” conventions since 1998, noted that he doesn’t take his fans for granted, mainly because he wouldn’t be where he is today without them.

“Harrison Ford was just quoted as saying ‘I don’t get this whole fan thing,’ and I’m like, ‘Well, Harrison, maybe you should get this whole fan thing.’ People are obsessed about certain things. Once you get into sci-fi, horror or fantasy, fans can let their imaginations go wild,” Campbell said.

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Having witnessed their interactions with fans at convention appearances, Campbell said he’s been very impressed with the way cast members from that monstrous zombie

TV show on AMC conduct themselves with people.

“When Norman Reedus from ‘The Walking Dead’ goes to these Wizard World conventions, he is frickin’ Elvis Presley,” Campbell said. “People are bringing him stuff, and you look at his table when he’s done signing, and it looks like someone died or something. They bring him candles and gifts and strange oddities, and he’s a very gracious participant in these events. Not every actor likes being there.”

Campbell said the first season of “Last Fan Standing” shows were shot at Wizard World conventions in Louisiana and Oregon, and given the company’s ever-expanding in presence (Minneapolis, for example, was one of the cities to add a Comic-Con last year), the “Last Fan Standing” crew could very well be visiting more places in seasons to come.

“We were able to get a whole season done in two cities, because we found that it was more cost-effective to shoot more than one show per city,” Campbell said. “So if you’re dragging your crew out to do a show, you might as well do two shows a day. We did four shows in New Orleans and six in Portland and we were done. Now, granted, if the show is a success, I have five other events this year that I’m booked at, and the show could very easily go to any of those.”

Campbell said he loves how “Last Fan Standing” is shot, which bypasses all the formalities of other game shows.

“Fans walk through the doors and nobody is screened. We don’t do the crap that they do for all those other TV shows,” Campbell said. “Everyone gets a clicker and a voting device, and four people get weeded out of that crowd. Then I show up and they go at it.”

‘Dead’ again

Campbell told me he’s revved up to start filming his new STARZ TV series, “Ash Vs. Evil Dead,” starting this April in New Zealand. The series, based on his Ash character from his two “Evil Dead” movies and “Army of Darkness,” will find the wise-cracking, square-jawed anti-hero as a nomad living in a trailer park in the Midwest. Apart from the news of the addition of a couple younger co-stars who will play his sidekicks, Campbell couldn’t reveal too many details of the show – apart from the fact that Ash is reluctant to face the evil Deadites once again.

“When the evil rises to test the mettle of the average man every so often, Ash is our average man,” Campbell said. “It’s a journey he doesn’t want to undertake. It’s very much a Joseph Campbell’s hero’s story that we hope to carry over multiple years to finally flesh Ash’s character out. He’s never really been fleshed out. He’s only been in six hours of material. After this first season, you’re going to have 10 hours of brand-new Ash. He’s going to have to talk and things like that.”

While Campbell and “Evil Dead” co-creator and director Sam Raimi have been bugged for years to do a fourth “Dead” movie, the actor/producer said doing a TV show makes the most sense. The great thing for fans is in addition to Ash’s return, Raimi is directing the first episode of the series, set for debut later this year.

“We’ll be coming into fans’ living rooms every week with new stuff. I don’t know how they would want anything more than that,” Campbell said. “They’ll be getting 10 fresh hours a year of ‘Evil Dead.’ They never got that before. This is going to be a feast. They can gorge themselves on this show now.”

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