Ash vs Evil Dead exclusive: Bruce Campbell on Season 3 and what it’s like making grown men cry

Bruce Campbell on Ash vs Evil Dead Season 3
Ash has the world by a string — until he finds out he’s a dad

Ash has risen, or more specifically, he is set to rise to the occasion as Ash vs Evil Dead Season 3 bursts on to Starz with all sorts of new twists to the yarn — including Ash being a father!

Arielle Carver-O’Neill joins the cast as his long-lost daughter Brandy, the child kinda left behind but now claimed and under siege from the Evil Dead.

Ash is still is dealing with Ruby [Lucy Lawless, never deader] and the Deadites whose devious and diabolical designs on our planet have Ash up to his Tommy Bahamas in blood and guts.

Also back are Ray Santiago as Pablo Simon Bolivar, whose inner Brujo mojo is kicking in as he steps up in the battle against evil while Dana DeLorenzo plays Kelly Maxwell, who’s not only trying to put a lid on Ruby but she’s also stuck with Brandy-sitting as well.

New as well is Australian actor Lindsay Farris as Dalton, leader of the Knights of Sumeria who are trying to consign Ash to help them fight The Dark Ones. Bonus intel — Lee Majors is back as Ash’s father, Brock, with some post-mortem advice.

The poster for Ash vs Evil Dead Season 6 on Starz

We spoke to Bruce Campbell about Ash, kids, Oregon and grown men in Comic-Con outfits who blubber at the sight of him:

Monsters and Critics: You know, you’re the only actor — and I’ve been doing this a long time — where I’ve actually seen grown men almost cry when they get a chance to meet you at events and Comic-Con. What do you make of all that?

Bruce Campbell: Well, the weirdest thing about being an actor is sometimes watching the reactions of people. I forget sometimes. I’ll just walk around my small town in Oregon and nobody cares you know?

They’ll go, “Oh yeah, I think that guy is on a TV show. Yeah, okay. Well, he ain’t nothing special.” But every so often someone will look at me and go, “Oh, whoa!” And then they’ll get startled and I’ll forget what they’re getting startled about. I’m like, “What’s your problem?” Then they go, “Dude!” And then I go, “Oh, I see what’s happening.” I don’t know, I’ll forget sometimes. It’s fun to see but it is a little disturbing to see someone my age act like that.

I’m like, the guys in college, that’s cool. Some stoner kids or whatever, rock and roller guys, but a guy who’s like looking in the mirror…I’m like, “Calm down. Calm down.”

M&C: You’re into your third season with this fun show. How would you describe this genre? It really isn’t horror and it really isn’t a comedy. It’s like a hybrid. What would you call it?

Bruce: Splatstick.

M&C: I like that.

Bruce: We’ve fooled with that phrase starting about Evil Dead II because the co-writer of it Scott Spiegel was a huge Three Stooges fan. So we started to sort of inject gags in this stuff. We thought, “Well, why not? Horror comes in all shades.”

M&C: That’s a good way to put it. So, wow. Ash is a dad. Talk about that.

Bruce: That’s right. Yeah, and a crappy one at that.

M&C: So Arielle plays Brandy, Randy, or Mandy, you can’t remember her name in the teaser…

Bruce: Maisy, Sandy, yeah, whatever it is. We’re still getting to know each other.

Ray Santiago, Arielle Carver-O'Neill, Bruce Campbell, Dana DeLorenzo
The gang has a new addition to help fight the Evil Dead — Ash’s daughter Brandy

M&C: Tell us about this energetic new injection into your character. You were like the neighborhood guy and now you’ve got the daughter and yet you still have this underworld and time travel. And Lucy Lawless’s character, is she good, is she bad?

Bruce: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

M&C: She could be back as bad. Talk about the new season a little bit.

Bruce: Well, Ash as always is straddling many universes. This time it’s very down-home. He’s no longer the town pariah. He saved the town and now he’s gonna cash in on it in his own kind of idiotic way like a low-budget town hero would and like it has to in that universe — nothing ever stays the same.

This season Pablo will get into much more of the Brujo-ness. He is descended from a Brujo which has kind of one foot in the other world and one foot out. Pablo will begin to develop more of that, developing beyond a sidekick. He’ll actually become kind of indispensable in being able to read the mumbo jumbo and interpret signs and symbols and visions.

It’s been a fun season for Ray. He’s gone through the tortures of the damned as well in his own physical way and then Kelly is going to be pretty busy with Ruby because yeah, Ruby’s pulling the bad guy trigger this season and Ruby needs to be dealt with once and for all. That’s it.

Kelly’s a big part of that, so Kelly is developing her own badassery. Ash’s mythology will be explored more. A lot of it will actually come to a head this season. We’re hoping that this is a…I mean, without overstating it, this is a “things will never be the same” season.

M&C: Interesting.

Bruce: Yeah, because you gotta…every once in a while you gotta throw a grenade into the room, you know?

And this is one of those cases. We have to always…as dutiful producers and trying to be loyal to the fans, don’t bone them at the end of a season. Make ’em happy. Make ’em satisfied. So regardless of what happens with the future of our show the fans will be well taken care of.

Because I’ve had a show canceled in the off-season. It’s a disturbing thing to happen. You don’t get to wrap it up. You don’t get to do anything.

The Adventures of Brisco County Jr had one…it ended on a two-parter. At the end, our characters were shot dead at a firing squad and it fades out.

Well, the show was canceled and some people didn’t air the very last episode, which was us waking up. We’d been hit by rubber bullets. It was all a plan of this crazy professor and everything was fine. But people would come up to me and go, “Man, that was a depressing way to end that show.”

I’m like what are you talking about? They’re like, “Didn’t you die at the end of that series?” I’m like, “No.” So you can’t control what happens. So we made sure that fans will be cool. It’s a cool ending.

M&C: Do you miss your character Sam from Burn Notice?

Bruce: Well, I did seven seasons of that and that’s 111 episodes. We tied Miami Vice exactly. I don’t miss the grind of doing episodic television, I don’t miss that at all. That’s gonna soon be in my rearview mirror, that type of gig. It’s a time-consuming thing, and Miami is just about a million degrees. I haven’t been back there since.

I tend to not get too nostalgic about characters but I’m glad that Sam has become a respected part of the oeuvre. It was a character that I could sink my teeth into over a long period of time and that’s lucky for an actor. Mostly we’ll get a gig that’ll last a couple weeks, 10 weeks.

But to seven seasons and to be able to work with a character, work with the writers and be part of the situation and to watch it evolve is really cool, really cool.

M&C: Yeah, and you had such great chemistry with the cast.

Bruce: That was good. Those are things that either work or they don’t. Sometimes you can see actors really trying to get along but once they call “Cut” they’re walking in different directions. That happens all the time. In this case, it was good. I think there was chemistry between all of us and over seven seasons your chemistry’s gonna change too.

Like you’ll get tighter with some actors and then further apart from other actors but it doesn’t hurt the scenes that you have to do with them sometimes. I think it all worked out pretty good.

I have a good collection of Tommy Bahama shirts now which I wore before the show. People are like, “Why do you keep wearing those Sam Axe shirts?” I’m like, “I’ve always worn Tommy Bahama.”

M&C: They’re gonna love that when they read this interview. Who’s the unsung hero in the crew on Ash vs Evil Dead? It’s such an effects-heavy show, physical. Who in your opinion is the unsung crew person or department?

Bruce: Oh, they could line up. My stunt guy, Raicho Vasilev — actors hate talking about their stunt guys, I don’t understand that. This guy saves my life every season. I met him in Bulgaria directing the modern classic, Man with the Screaming Brain.

Raicho was my stunt coordinator and I didn’t see him for years after that. He went off to work on Spartacus and other shows. Loop back around, I ran into him in New Zealand again, and they were like, “How about if Raicho doubles you?”

I’m like, “Yeah!” He’s an incredibly athletic stunt guy who’s got a big fat resume and he lives in Bulgaria with his family. We drag him away every year and I hear these loud crashes across the set and I look over and he’ll go limping away.

I’ll go, “Raicho, how’d it go?” He looks back and he shouts back, “F*** this sh**, boss!” I got the “boss” at the end of it though, so it’s okay. He’s still being very respectful. When he says that I know it was a good stunt.

So Raicho’s great. The people that clean up the blood are the unsung heroes. It’s sticky, horrible, awful, awful stuff. They have blood carts that come in. It’s like a Hazmat team. Our sound guys are unsung heroes…

M&C: That much blood?

Bruce: Oh, well I think in the opening scene of one of the seasons Dana asked the effects guys and she got 20 gallons just herself in the one scene.

Yeah, it’s a high, high gallons count but I have zero sympathies for any actor. None. I’m just…I’ve gotten more blood on my face than probably any actor in cinematic history.

I’m gonna go out on a big limb here and say that. So when an actor goes, “Oh, it’s sticky.” I’m like, “You know nothing. You know nothing.” I’m the last guy that they go…no one will come to me and go, “Bruce, I’m cold and shivery.” No one will do that because they know what my answer is gonna be.

M&C: I know you really can’t tell me too many spoilers or anything but Ash always comes up with great lines — what’s your favorite line spit out this season so far?

Bruce: Oh, favorites are hard to pick because sometimes you forget ’em. We’re right in the middle of shooting and we’ll just throw crap out. That’s the nice thing about this show is we get a little bit of leeway there.

I threw one in they used in the promos. Ash comes up to Ruby and he says, “Be careful. Never get between a papa bear and his cub.” You know, because you always hear about the mama bear, like you go hiking, don’t get between a mama bear and its cub. It’s like what about the papa bear? Don’t mess with him either. A father and his daughter?

So I have a daughter that is very similar, is older than Arielle but very similar in demeanor and looks and everything. So doing certain scenes with her it was very difficult. It was able to sort of spur in me, the actor channeling Ash, sort of emotions that he hadn’t had before.

It was great. We had a couple of scenes we had to do and it was actually difficult to do.Things that I had to tell her to do or go do something or…you always have to leave each other behind at various points during these adventures.

I think there are some just great moments that are unusual for this show. I will just say that.

M&C: Very cool. Hey, you mentioned you live in Oregon and you’re from…?

Bruce: Yeah. I’m from Michigan.

M&C: I just jettisoned Los Angeles for Idaho…

Bruce: Hey man, I jettisoned that [LA]…coming up this year it’s 20 years I’ve been living in Oregon.

M&C: How do you feel living away? You like living away from the Hollywood craziness and everything? You’re working so much …

Bruce: Oh, I can never get far enough away from the Hollywood craziness. I have no issue with LA. I have no issue with the business but I don’t like the “Look at me, look at me” kind of stuff. Show up at this place.

You know, I had a manager who would be like, “Hey, show up at this premiere.” None of it meant anything and none if it had anything to do with the actual process of motion pictures.

I found in Los Angeles not that many people like movies. A lot of the people who run the studios these are business guys. These are bean counters. You know, you put ’em in a room and they don’t know what to say to an actor and actors don’t know what to say to executives. They’re very awkward meetings a lot of these things.

It’s a weird scenario. I love living in Oregon. My rancher from across the street the day I moved in comes up, “Hey, I understand you’re a cowboy on a TV show.” I said, “Yes, sir. I was.”

He goes, “Well, this Saturday I’m running 100 head of cattle up the road. Why don’t you get your ass on a horse to help me out?” I said, “Are you serious?” He goes, “Yeah.” I said, “You got a horse?” He goes, “Yeah.”

So he rides away and next Saturday I say, “What time you want me there?” “8:00” So I’m there at 8:00, get on a horse, and I met all my neighbors in one day and we were all helping with this cattle drive. Moving them down the road to another pasture.

It was easy work. The cattle knew where to go. It wasn’t like this was ride the high range. But I went, “Wow. This is so different.” I met more neighbors in one day herding cattle near my property than three years at the last house where I lived in Los Angeles.

M&C: I love that story.

Bruce: And these people are, they’re from all over. There literally is a former rocket scientist, there’s a merchant marine, ex-Ford executives, then you got the left wingers. We got hippies. We got the grow-ops now.

My favorite is there’s a massive weed grow-op right across the street from the most right-wing guy in the valley and there’s nothing he can do about it.

The one thing we all have in common is that we like where we live. We like doing our own thing and we kind of like to be left alone. That’s what we have in common.

Because we have everything in our valley. We have left wings, right, senator crazy, posse comitatus, hippie commune, we got it all. A guy came down my valley flying an ultralight the other day and I’m like, “Oh, the pot growers. They’re all making money.” They can buy these stupid toys.

We go to the nicest restaurant in town, it’s four guys at the table all with dreads buying the most expensive bottle of wine in the restaurant. I’m like, “Oh, must be in season.”

M&C: Hey man, the robots are taking over so a human being’s gotta do what a human being’s gotta do, Ash.

Bruce: That’s right. That’s right.

Ash vs Evil Dead Season 3 premieres Sunday, February 25 at 9pm ET/PT on Starz.

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