Tag Archives: Sam Raimi

Interview: Dana DeLorenzo talks ‘Ash vs. Evil Dead’ Season 3

With renewed efforts in the entertainment industry for the search of great women roles in film and television, the powers-that-be needn’t look any further for an example of greatness than in a series that’s had fans buzzing since 2015. It’s in the STARZ horror comedy “Ash vs. Evil Dead,” where the effervescent Dana DeLorenzo fully realizes the potential of Kelly Maxwell – an electronics store trainee-turned-no-nonsense, F-bomb slinging demon hunter — who aids the lovably flawed antihero Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) in his fight against gnarly, netherworldly beings known as “Deadites.”

While Kelly was initially billed as one of Ash’s sidekicks (along with Ray Santiago’s Pablo Bolivar), the character has easily asserted herself as a force to be reckoned with in the first two seasons of “Ash vs. Evil Dead,” where she’s gotten just as drenched with blood, guts and goop as Campbell via devices appropriately dubbed “blood canons.” The great thing is, if you’ve loved everything Kelly has stood for so far in the first two seasons of the series, you’ll find out in Season 3, which premieres this Sunday on STARZ, that she’s only getting started.

In a recent phone conversation from Los Angeles, DeLorenzo said that while it’s a thrill to have such a memorable role in the series, it’s even better to know that the role is in a genre known to stereotypically portray females as sex objects and/or victims — where “women fell into the horror movie trope of being the girl running naked through the woods and being the damsel in distress.”

Dana DeLorenzo in "Ash vs. Evil Dead 3" (photo: STARZ)

The tricky part about how things play out in “Ash vs. Evil Dead” is that the character of Ash — who first appeared in “Evil Dead” in 1981 and was back for “Evil Dead 2” in 1987 and “Army of Darkness” in 1992 — continues to be a bad-Ash in the series, even though times have changed considerably for the aging lothario. Basically, Ash is a 1980s and ’90s character living in 2018, and Kelly isn’t having anything of it.

“What we love about Ash Williams are his great flaws. He’s ignorant. He has antiquated views about a lot of things, including women. What I love is how ‘Ash vs. Evil Dead’ had the foresight to keep Ash Williams as Ash Williams and not apologize for who he is, yet put him toe-to-toe with a strong female character like Kelly who was going to call his ass out and not let him get away with it. It still gives Ash the opportunity to say those spectacular one-liners that only Bruce Campbell can do, yet it lets Kelly hold her own and allows her to be the voice of the audience. I love that in the very first scene of the series where we meet Kelly, Ash is being Ash and is immediately hitting on her. She’s looking at him like, ‘Are you kidding me, dude?’ and then ‘thump!’ she just throws his ass down on the counter. I love that scene.”

Interview: Groovy Bruce Campbell Talks ‘Hail to The Chin’
Interview: Bruce Campbell Talks ‘Ash vs. Evil Dead’ Season 2

As refreshing as that first scene is, DeLorenzo is thrilled that there’s much more to Kelly than her toughness. Apart from the character’s physicality and her keen ability to handle any weapon she can get her hands on to dispatch her Deadite foes, DeLorenzo feels fortunate that Kelly can display real human emotions, too.

“While it’s nice to play a badass female that kicks ass, what I like most about Kelly is that she’s flawed and vulnerable. She’s not afraid to show her fear. You can see when she’s afraid — she’s not just gritting her teeth like Annie Oakley — you can see these vulnerable moments with her,” DeLorenzo said. “But I think what makes her a true warrior is that she pushes through that fear. She has the courage to dive into the deep end, because that’s when we root for the underdogs. That’s what we want to see, to go into a situation when you’re most afraid and take the leap. I love that most about her, that she’s multi-layered, and that she’s got a bit of a mouth on her. That’s pretty fun to play.”

Without question, part of the reason Kelly resonates so much with fans is her willingness to say exactly what she thinks, which oftentimes includes her authoritative use of F-bombs and mother F-bombs. The bonus for the audience is, since DeLorenzo has such a command on the delivery of those curse words, her prolific use of the F-bomb and its variations easily ranks her alongside Jack Nicholson and Samuel L. Jackson in the pantheon of the all-time great screen swearers. When Kelly curses, the audience listens –sometimes laughing out loud and other times pumping their fists — because it’s so (insert F-bomb here) entertaining.

DeLorenzo said it was a conscious decision by Campbell and Tapert to have Kelly the character swear the most on the show, mainly because she was able to give those curse words some extra meaning.

“It was in Season 2, after we had a whole season under our belts, when Bruce and Rob both said, ‘I really think that only character that should really swear is Kelly,” DeLorenzo recalled, gleefully. “Swearing can be something done for just a cheap shot — swearing for the sake of swearing — but they very much enjoy the way the lines are written and the creative ways that Kelly can swear, so I’m happy to take on the role of the sailor.”

Not toying around

One particularly memorable time where DeLorenzo got creative with her use of the F-bomb was in Season 2, where Kelly got into a verbal battle and physical throwdown with a demonic hand puppet named “Ashy Slashy” (think one of the puppets from Broadway’s “Avenue Q,” except that it looks like Ash Williams). The scene was such a hit that collectibles company NECA made a full-scale replica of Ashy Slashy, which DeLorenzo can’t wait to get her hands on … maybe.

“I was at first thinking, ‘Do I really want that thing my house?’ I’m sure I will be tormented by it,” DeLorenzo said with a laugh. “I honestly feel like I’ll have to chain the little brat down.”

For those who were knocked out by the Kelly-Ashy Slashy battle in Season 2, DeLorenzo promises there’s a scene in episode 6 this season that rivals it. This time, though, it involves Ruby (Lucy Lawless) — the villain of Season 1 who becomes allies with Ash, Kelly and Pablo in Season 2, only to return to the dark side for Season 3. The stakes are raised this season because Ruby is going after Brandy (Arielle Carver-O’Neill), the teenage daughter Ash never knew he had.

'Ash vs. Evil Dead' (photo: Starz)

“I stay relatively clean in the first five episodes, unlike the bar scene in the opening episode of Season 2, where I had 26 gallons of blood on me,” DeLorenzo cracked. “This whole season for Kelly is about forging her own path. She finally gets an opportunity in episode 6 — a small window — to potentially end the battle with evil once and for all and goes toe-to-toe with Ruby. But since Kelly has this pent-up rage after being painted in this bloody corner for the first five episodes and having her hands tied, she goes ballistic. It’s reminiscent of the Deadite deli slicer scene from Season 1.”

Anybody who can recall that magnificently manic scene (or countless others) well knows that DeLorenzo has an incredible passion for her work, and it shows everywhere, whether it’s on-screen, off-screen at conventions with fans or in phone calls to talk about the show. DeLorenzo is in the unique position to help build upon one of the best horror comedy franchises of all time, and that’s something she’s never lost sight of. Even casual fans don’t have to look hard at one episode of “Ash vs. Evil Dead” to see DeLorenzo gives her all to the series.

“I’m exceptionally passionate as well all the people who are involved in the show, from the crew to the stunt people to the writers, it truly is a passion project and a bloody love letter to the fans,” DeLorenzo said, humbly. “For me, not a day goes by where I don’t think about how I finally got that little streak of luck after so many beatdowns for so long while chasing the dream. I was working at a bar when I got the audition for this job. In fact, I almost couldn’t go to it because I was working at the bar until 2 a.m. and I had to learn my lines driving in the car as I was on the way the audition.”

But lucky for fans, DeLorenzo made that audition and they’ve embraced her and the indelible character of Kelly — something DeLorenzo is reminded of in and around the course of making “Ash vs. Evil Dead,” if not every day.

“It’s great to meet with fans and talk with people like you who share our excitement and are entertained by our over-the-top silliness and gore,” DeLorenzo enthused. “I mean, what more could you want? Give me a blood cannon in the face any day.”

Copyright 2017 DirectConversations.com

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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.

Bruce Campbell 2

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 o

f 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.”

Copyright 2017 DirectConversations.com.

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Interview: Groovy Bruce Campbell talks ‘Ash vs. Evil Dead’ Season 2

ash-3Back in the old days of the “Evil Dead” movies and “Army of Darkness, writer-director Sam Raimi used to take great pleasure in playfully torturing Bruce Campbell in any way possible, filming several exhaustive slapstick-infused scenes that would do the Three Stooges proud.

Of course, putting Campbell through the physical ringer wasn’t enough, so Raimi would proceed to drench his longtime friend with gallons of fake blood, always striving for the most repugnant result possible.

Fast-forward to 2015, where Campbell decided it was time for his character, Ashley J. “Ash” Williams, to share in the glory gory. For his outrageously entertaining  STARZ series “Ash vs. Evil Dead,” the groovy actor recruited a couple of sidekick deadite hunters, Pablo and Kelly (Ray Santiago and Dana DeLorenzo), and a ambiguous nemesis, Ruby (Lucy Lawless), effectively ending his days of being the only goop-drenched punching bag.

And as Santiago, DeLorenzo and Lawless found out, Season 1 was only the beginning.

“Wait until you see Season 2,” Campbell teased in a recent phone conversation. “Pablo is going to have a really rough time, Kelly is going to be getting buckets of blood on her, and even the great Lucy Lawless is going to get slimed multiple times this season … nobody got off easy this year. I have a torn hamstring to prove it.”

Ash Williams Evil Dead II Sixth Scale Figure

Fresh off the Blu-ray premiere of Season 1 (Anchor Bay Entertainment), Season 2 of “Ash vs. Evil Dead,” which premieres Sunday on STARZ, finds Ash’s dream life in Jacksonville, Florida, interrupted by a deadite attack. It seems the Book of the Dead is too much for Ruby to handle, and they need to travel to Ash’s hometown of Elk Grove, Michigan, where Ash, Pablo and Kelly need to help get their enemy out of a hellish jam.

Also in Elk Grove is the newest “Ash vs. Evil Dead” cast member, Lee Majors, who plays Ash’s dad. Like Raimi and Campbell — who were born in the same hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan — the “Six Million Dollar Man” and “Fall Guy” icon is a native of the Wolverine State. Campbell said he takes pride in his Midwestern upbringing and work ethic, and Majors recognizes that.

“Believe it or not I think that’s why Lee Majors likes us,” Campbell enthused. “Lee has a great work ethic, too, that’s why he never leaves the set. He’s one of those guys who says, ‘I’m fine over here, just give me a chair.’ He doesn’t play any games. He was amazed that we (Campbell, Raimi and Rob Tapert) are still partners. It’s coming up on 37 years after we did the first ‘Evil Dead.’ I’ll walk into the office and there’s Rob Tapert, same guy. It makes working a lot easier. These shows are really difficult to do, and it helps to look across the table and see the guy you’ve known for years and years.”

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Needless to say, Campbell is thrilled that Majors is playing Ash’s dad. It only takes a mere glimpse at the veteran actor in “Ash vs. Evil Dead” to see he’s got the same square-jawed looks and “I don’t give a damn” swagger of his chainsaw-wielding, boomstick-carrying son.

“He’s absolutely perfect as Ash’s dad,” Campbell said. “He’s an ass grabber. Bigot. Socially unacceptable. He’s just perfect. He’s the guy we wanted from the start.”

Raimi, unfortunately, will not be directing any episodes for Season 2, Campbell said. Raimi, who went on to direct the Tobey Maguire “Spider-Man” trilogy, as well as such other hits as “A Simple Plan,” “Drag Me to Hell” and “Oz the Great and Powerful,” is instead staying behind-the-scenes as one of the show’s creators and executive producers.

Campbell said he was just happy that Raimi was available to help the production kick the show off in style last year.

“We were lucky to get Sam for that. He came down off the mountain top to help us out, and now he has to go back on top of the mountain,” Campbell said. “He’s a big movie director and his schedule doesn’t allow it, but he’s a great voice from above and he’s keeping his eye on the show, and that’s what matters to us. Plus, he gave us the street cred. He directed the pilot and set the bar very high and the tone for the other directors. He was glad to be able to do that.”

STARZNot just for laughs

While “Ash vs. Evil De

ad” has its share of high comedy, Campbell said the idea of scaring audience members is not lost on the production. Episode 1 of Season 2 is proof of that, as Ruby’s evil spawn return — and they’re all grown up.

“The one thing that we do serious on ‘Evil Dead’ and the one rule that we enforce is, ‘Evil is scary. Evil is not funny,'” Campbell said. “Evil can be malicious, which is thereby secondary funny, but primarily, evil’s main goal is to mess with your head and kill you slowly if they can.”

MORE: Bruce Campbell talks Ash’s presidential run

While Season 2 has yet to officially get underway, Campbell said he wants to be back in “Ash vs. Evil Dead,” too, and not just for another season.

“I’m going for five. I’ll take five seasons,” Campbell said. “Five will give fans everything they need – pretty much the equivalent of multiple movies. That way, we can get all the character development out of it, and look, never say never — maybe we could turn around and go make another (‘Evil Dead’) movie. Success begets success. I have a bold theory that Season 2 is where this show is going to stick. I’m lobbying STARZ for Season 3 and 4 pickup to give the fans a vote of confidence so they can know that there will be a stream of shows coming. We’ve got your back. We’re going to give you what you demanded.”

NECA

One good sign that there’s a big enough fan base is the demand for merchandise tied into the show. New Jersey-based collectibles company NECA is getting ready to release “Ash vs. Evil Dead” 7-inch action figures — including Hero Ash, Value Stop Ash, and the evil entity Eligos – and Campbell couldn’t be more thrilled. In the past, the company has produced other “Evil Dead” merchandise, and also has a 7-inch “Ultimate Ash” on the way.

“People still like stuff to hold in their hands in this digital age,” Campbell said. “They like something they can shove on my tables at conventions and say, ‘Sign my Ash figure.’ I’ve signed a lot of myself.”

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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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