The first two Evil Dead movies take place pretty much exclusively in a creepy cabin and its immediate surroundings — until the final scene of Evil Dead 2. That is when Ash is transported back to medieval times to kick ancient deadite ass, which he does in the final chapter of the trilogy, Army of Darkness.
So with the new television incarnation, Ash vs Evil Dead, set to debut Halloween night on Starz, it got us wondering: Could there possibly be some time travel on the TV version as well? We asked star Bruce Campbell about that and more. And we’ve got some exlcusive new photos as well.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So the tone of the Evil Dead films are all pretty different. What will the tone of the TV series be?
BRUCE CAMPBELL: I would say it’s going to be like itself. For the simple reason that all the movies are different, this is bound to be a little bit different also. It is a combination of horror and comedy. And every episode will have varying degrees of that. So we take the horror seriously, that’s for sure. But we had to tell Starz and remind them that, you know, these movies are not just straight horror — they’re a little weird. They’re not goofy. It’s not that sort of thing. But they will have a comedic edge to it.
We see you putting in dentures and a tightening up a mechanical girdle in the trailer. Is Ash’s age going to be a punch-line throughout?
Well, yeah. We’re not ignoring it. Even on set I refer to my other costars as the kids. We’re not dancing around it. We don’t have to break out the walker just yet, but Ash is definitely going to be a guy that is not really suited for the job.
Well, how sharp are his deadite-slaying skills? Has he lost a step?
I read an essay once how you should send the old guys into battle because they know what’s coming. If they get killed, they’ve already lived a long life, and they know what pain is. Ash is kind of like that. He’s the guy they actually need to send in there because he knows all their tricks. He’s clever in his own way and very resilient. So our team will definitely be challenged in every direction. Ash in is way over his head from the get-go.
What about the deadites? How familiar are they going to look, or are we going to see some new versions of those?
The answer is yes. You’re going to have new demons. Not necessarily a demon of the week, but you’ve got 10 opportunities for new creatures to fight with different levels of skills. Some are inanimate objects — as you saw from the trailer, Ash gets attacked by a doll. [Director Sam Raimi] always likes to mix it up. He likes to mix up the sorts of horror — whether it’s creepy horror or shocking horror or disgusting horror. You’re going to get all of that. So basically, the bottom line is: If you like horror, hopefully you’ll be satisfied. And if you’re okay with comedy, you’ll be good with that to. Because some people can’t take horror unless it’s got a little comedy — a little spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.
Some people need that release, with the laughter.
Yeah! I showed the first episode to my wife that Sam directed and I said, “Is this a show you would watch?” She goes, “Hell no! Not in a million years!” I’m like “What are you talking about?” She goes “I don’t like feeling nervous, anxious, scared, my stomach is upset now, I’m all jittery. Why? Why would I watch that? I’m already like that! Why would I need to aggravate it?”
Last time we spoke I asked you what it was like working with Sam again on this character and this world since he directed the first episode, but now I’m also curious as to what it was like working on an Evil Dead project with other directors and having other people come in that were not Sam behind the camera.
It was not easy. I’ll be honest with you — it was not easy. You sort of had a hangover after Sam left, because we had a good time, shot a nice, healthy pilot, and worked how Sam worked. Because Sam always takes little extra time. So when he was gone, the harshest reality of how fast we had to make the show — that hit. That hit home strong. And then I’m a canary in a coal mine on set. I’m the one who can say, “You know, guys, I don’t think this is how it should go,” or “Let’s try this or try that.” So everybody contributes all along the way. But definitely, being on set has been a challenge and I’m trying to never compare those other directors to Sam. We have a story to tell and we want them to just help tell it.
We know Sam’s 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88, the Classic, is returning for the series. Are there any other Easter eggs or callbacks to the original trilogy that longtime fans can expect to spot?
You just have got to pretty much look closely on your high-definition television set. There’s a lot of stuff in Ash’s trailer that is similar to what we had in the past movies. There’s references to things like Michigan State University and Faygo Redpop! The art department really went crazy making it s authentic as possible. I remember Sam and I walking through it and we were just blown away. So for the intense fan there’s a lot for them to look at. We’re also going to revisit — I have to be careful how I say this — but we’re going to revisit some things that are familiar, and the recreations are amazing.
What is the aesthetic of the show going to be? What is this world actually going to look like?
It takes place in the Evil Dead world. Which is why it’s kind of nice that we’re shooting this in New Zealand — their crews are very good at creating a world and by faking so much stuff they’re able to create an environment, an atmosphere. It’s not just going into a Denny’s diner and shooting, you know? Our diners look different. Our libraries look different. Our gas stations look different. Everything looks different and looks Evil Dead-ish, and it’s with a Michigan overtone. It’s the Midwest. So it’s funny that we’re going to the ends of the earth to shoot the Midwest.
We saw some time travel in the films. Any of that in the series at any point, or is this all set in present day?
I would just say just don’t be surprised if it does happen because it has happened. So I would say that would be on the table as well. Especially, once you get into a series, your stories have got to cover you for five freakin’ years, you know what I mean? We’re having the discussions with the writing team now where we’re like “Okay, season 2!”
Check out another exclusive picture of Ash vs Evil Dead below. And for more Evil Dead scoop, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.
To continue reading more about EW’s Fall TV Preview, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on newsstands now, or buy it here.
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