Late last week we at SciFiPulse were fortunate enough to be able to attend an exclusive phone conference hosted by Starz, which allowed us to quiz Bruce Campbell, Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert about the forthcoming ‘Evil Dead’ spin-off series titled ‘Ash Vs Evil Dead.’
Check out transcript of the chat below:
SFP: What can fans expect tonally from this new series. Will be more horror comedy like ‘Army Of Darkness’ or are you driving for a more hard edged horror element?
Sam Raimi: It’s a mix of both. We have elements of the Evil dead films, which have always — like you say — had very hard edged, intense horror designed to really frighten the audience. And no holds barred there. Starz has really taken the reins off of us and allowed us to go to town and thrill the audience, chill them, and scare the heck out of them.
But also, as you mentioned, there is a comedic element that is alive in this, and it’s the thing we found the audience has always liked the most about the Evil Dead movies. More and more, we seem to realize the thing that made them different was Bruce Campbell. And more and more we brought him to the forefront of the pictures.
First, he was just the guy that happened to star in the movie because he was the last survivor — and our best friend and the only actor I ever worked with. But then we started to realize gee, the audience really likes this guy and he’s the thing that actually makes it special.
And by the second one, it all became about him. And finally we delved into Bruce’s natural strength of — he’s got a lot of strengths, but — comedy is one of his real inner strengths as a performer. And I think the third one, Army of Darkness, really tried to capitalize on that. And the character that he had been creating over the first two, we tried to all take it a step further — my brother Ivan, Bruce, Robin, myself. Ivan was the co-writer of that one, Army of Darkness.
And this third one I think what we tried to do was go back to the horror of the first and second Evil Dead, but with the character of Ash that Bruce had created, over the second and third Evil Dead. So that’s really a combination of something we haven’t quite seen before.
SFP: Will this series live in the same universe as ‘Army of Darkness’ and ‘Evil Dead’? Like will we be seeing (F smart) and other locations fans of the movies are familiar with?
Rob Tapert: The answer to that question is it doesn’t really exist in the exact same universe. It’s a slightly altered universe. It takes place somewhere in an alternate universe after Evil Dead 2. That might seem like a confusing answer, but that’s the – I don’t want to spoil too much for the audience, but that’s the truest answer I can give you.
SFP: Will we be seeing similar locations? Can you answer that or no?
Rob Tapert: Similar, yes. We would be seeing similar locations, meaning it lives in a modern day world with Ash battling evil in this era, the modern day.
SFP: So does this series not count ‘Army Of Darkness’ then. Did those events not happen. Is that what you’re trying to say?
Rob Tapert: The Army of Darkness, does it exist? Well certainly Ash went through that experience, but we’re not really referencing it in terms of we’re not referencing specifics from that but he certainly has that in his memory.
Sam Raimi: We kind of want to take a politician’s stance on that. We neither want to deny nor confirm that. We want the audience to be open with no previous expectations coming into the show. We want them to have seen one or all of the Evil Deads and be completely up to date on everything they need to know. So we really kind of designed it to live outside to having to have seen any of the movies. But if you’ve seen one, two, or three of the movies, it should still very well for the viewer, we hope. That was the intention.
SFP: In past interviews you have all said that the character of Ash will be a little different to how he was in the last film. In reference to that are we also going to see a new spin on the Deadites? Or will they retain that pulp sort of reference used in the designs from the movies?
Rob Tapert: We certainly will play to what we once did with Deadites, even through the remake, but we’re trying to expand the universe on the story telling over the first ten episodes, we will encounter Deadites which are very different than other forces of evil out there.
And then we will take the audience – we’ll expose the audience to new entities that were not yet presented in the Evil Dead universe so that the audience is surprised.
Bruce Campbell: I would add that because you’re doing a TV show now and not a feature film, you actually have to structure everything differently. You have to structure the storytelling differently, and you have to create a much larger world, because the demands of the audience are much – it’s every week you’re now entertaining them. So you can’t have a – you have to have a multiplicity of stories and angles and tangents. So it’s going to be — I’d say — a much bigger story.
SFP: This question is specifically about Ash and where his head’s at. How is he still sane and how come he isn’t a complete basket case by this point?
Bruce Campbell: What makes you think he’s not? He is a basket case. We’re going to find, you know, Ash is potentially damaged goods and God forbid, this is our hero — which is what really appeals to me personally as an actor. You know, you have a lead guy who in Army of Darkness was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of people because he couldn’t remember three words.
This is a guy who has to save the entire world. So I’m excited to see what will happen.
Rob Tapert: Yes, he’s no finer or nobler or saner of a character than when we last saw him. In fact, if anything I think he’s digressed. He’s certainly aged quite a bit. And his courage hasn’t been whipped up to a frenzy, let’s put it that way. He’s kind of sunk into some of his lowest – all of our lowest instincts and stat’s where we find him.
And it’s from that low point that I think our hero will have to be born. That’s the start of our show.
SFP: The universe that we’re in — or rather, the world that we’re in, has it been continually beset by the Deadites between the 80s and now? Or has Ash just been licking his wounds the whole time and this is like an unpleasant blast from the past from him?
Sam Raimi: That’s it. He’s been – the Deadites have been fairly dormant over the last 20 to 30 years. And Ash has been kind of living a low life hiding out. And our story really begins when they come back and someone is needed to stand up against them.
Bruce Campbell: Greatness is forced upon him.
SFP: Is it Ash’s fault that the Deadites come back?
Sam Raimi: Of course.
SFP: Bruce. In the past you have said in interviews that that Sam and Rob’s involvement was of particular paramount importance to you. I wonder would you have even entertained the idea of being involved with the series if neither of them were on board?
Bruce Campbell: No I would not, not in any way. I wouldn’t have touched it with a ten foot pole. Sam is our leader. He’s our fearless leader. All these movies have sprouted from his very ripe brain. And it just – and Sam’s the best director I’ve ever worked with. I’m just going to say that.
I know that him being involved, it was mandatory that he is involved in this thing and we’re going to get him as long as we can get him. We’ll get him as often as we can get him. And the other directors are just going to have to suck it up and try and chase after what he’s going to deliver in this pilot, which we’ve been shooting.
So no, this is mandatory. And, you know, I’m going to be in touch with Sam even on the episodes that he’s not directing because I’ve never been directed by anyone else as this character. So thank God he’s doing the pilot so we can get reacquainted with the approach to this character. Because when he’s off doing post on this pilot, you know, we’ll have to grope in the dark without him. But he will be consulted quite heavily, I would suspect.
Sam Raimi: Bruce is being very kind, but the truth is in directing Bruce as Ash, my only job is in recognizing growing up with Bruce throughout all these 40-some years, all his lowest, weakest, most cowardly, brashest, loudmouth moments, and reminding him who he really is.
Bruce Campbell: Yes.
Sam Raimi: And I – and then Bruce says, “That’s right. I know who I am.” And Bruce really – the funniest thing is he is Ash and my job is to remind him — and he doesn’t need that much reminding, is the scary part. And he even has – the truth is, he’s got the heroic side, to him just as much. So he’s got it all. And sometimes he pulls upon his best parts and sometimes he pulls upon his weakest parts, and that’s what his performance really is — it’s getting in touch with himself in, you know, this fantastic world. It’s really funny. It’s a very funny process working with Bruce.
He makes me laugh my head off, because he’s not afraid to show — maybe because I know him so well — not afraid to show me the worst parts of himself. And when he does that, I really feel like we’ve got Ash nailed.
And coming up, we’ll get into the, you know, I don’t want to spoil it. I think you know where it’s headed, but I don’t want to spoil the climax of the first episode. But he’s also going to have to pull upon the best parts of himself. I’ll tell you in a later interview if he’s still got that part.
Bruce Campbell: That remains to be seen.
SFP: Ash has been notoriously unlucky in love. Will the series find him meeting that special someone? Will that be something we are likely to see happen on the series?
Sam Raimi: I think you’re right – but I think those girls that he’s been in love with have been slightly more unlucky than him.
Bruce, what do you think about your love stories?
Bruce Campbell: Well, Ash is, you know, there is a bit of arrested development there, so he’s going to have some struggles. Because there are bigger issues. We’re talking life and death. So if there’s some romantic aspects, I would be very careful going out on a date with Ash, personally, because people who get close to him usually wind up dead.
SFP: With this being made for television. Is Ash’s bad luck with women or their demise for knowing him something that is automatically thrown into the series?
Bruce Campbell: Well, I don’t know that we automatically do anything. We want to make sure it’s part of the inherent story. But because it’s a TV concept now and a much bigger world then you bet he’s going to run into a number of characters over the multiple seasons that this will play out.
So yes, that will sort of an evolving thing too, but that’ll be a fun aspect to bring in, that – and Ash doesn’t always have a lot of time for that, you know? There’s usually creatures breaking down his door or trying to tear his head off. So you know, I think that’s an aspect that we’re going to look into and also have fun with.
SFP: In other interviews you have hinted that we could see some time travel happen on the series. Is that still likely to be the case?
Sam Raimi: Well right now, the first season it seems like it takes place in the here and now. And with Ash 30 years later — what he’s become and what he again has to face. But it’s certainly an element of the Necronomicon that some of the passages not only call forth demons, but portals in time and space. Perhaps by the end of this season — because we haven’t really discussed episodes nine and ten too much — or the second season, if the story took us there, we know it’s part of the Evil Dead universe and always a possibility.
But right now, it’s not in the work that we’re doing.
SFP: Is the series going to be a few different stories where a person can kind of drop into the middle of a season and keep up with that is happening. Or is it likely to have a big story arch threaded throughout the whole series?
Rob Tapert: You know, it is a serialized storytelling, since it’s on premium cable, so there’s an overarching plot. But each episode is still a self-contained story. The characters themselves are on a bigger journey, and therefore those who turn in every week will be rewarded, but the casual viewer can come in and out and kind of get what’s going on.
It’s not as dense as other stories. And one of the reasons we decided we wanted to do a half hour is we thought that this was going to be hard to maintain the breakneck pace that the movies often had, but that really was the right format in the world of television for this particular project.
So it’s – I think that anybody can kind of join in, but those who love it will be able to kind of see where it’s heading and have hopes and expectations of outcomes, so.
Sam Raimi: I really appreciate that Starz let us keep this half hour idea. That’s what makes it really cool to me is that we can really fire on all cylinders and really be outrageous and fast-paced and non-stop without a lot of secondary character exposition that sometimes you find in these hour shows. They have to pad them out.
But Starz took this unusual approach of ours, embraced it, and they’ve been nothing but supportive.
SFP: Does this show kind of cancel out any hope for the fans of the Evil Dead remake that there might be a sequel to that?
Sam Raimi: I love the Evil Dead remake. I think (Freddy Alvarez) did a brilliant job with Rob producing and I mean, Bruce also helping. I love that movie and I hope there will be a sequel.
But we wanted to make – after we had made his movie, as much as the fans loved it, they also seemed to want to see Bruce again in this series. So we thought this is our time. If we’re ever going to do it, we have to satisfy that crowd. Now is a good time. And television seems like an interesting format to take it forward in.
So we just chose to make Bruce’s story right now. I hope we can get (Freddy) back to continue the new Evil Dead series once we’ve reestablished Bruce’s story.
SFP: The character of Ash is arguably one of the biggest horror icons out there. He’s character that is loved by both fans and none fans of horror. What do you guys think it is about Ash that has managed to draw so many people in?
Bruce Campbell: Sam, you want to have a whack at that?
Sam Raimi: No Bruce, you talk about yourself and your character, please.
Bruce Campbell: You know what? Ash has no special skills. He’s not a former Navy Seal. He’s not FBI. He’s not CIA. He’s not trained by anybody. So he is the average viewer. And so I think in this particular case, Ash has stood the test of time. I’m not going to take any credit for it. It’s just I think the way the character’s been set up, the way that Sam has written it is that he’s a relatable hero. And I think in entertainment, there has to be an aspect of that, particularly in television. You’ve got to get them coming back for more every week and you’ve got to be able to relate to that character.
And hopefully the audience will root for Ash, laugh at him, be completely frustrated by his inabilities sometimes, and – but he’s the guy that you’re stuck with. You want to be not in the actual foxhole with him, but you want to be in the next foxhole because he’s the guy that you want in a crunch time, but, you know, it’s going to be hit or miss.
And to me, that’s the joy of the character, that, you know, a lot of these heroes in movies, they’re too flawless and it drives me insane. And so this was like hell yes, I get to play this guy again.
And then, to work with Sam and look, we’ve all been through a lot of experiences over the last 30 years, Rob and Sam and myself producing and acting and directing and all these different things. We can now bring our experience to the concept that got us into the business. And that to me is one of the most exciting prospects is you know, when I did Evil Dead, the thing that I’m arguably the most known for, I was the least experienced in my life. So the irony is everybody knows the movie where I was the shittiest version of myself as an actor.
So 30 years later, I’ve learned a few tricks. Sam’s learned a few tricks. Rob’s learned a few tricks. And now we get to apply that toward this. And to me, that’s really one of the most exciting parts about it, is to now get back in there as an adult actor and make this character hum.
SFP: How does it feel to be able to have this huge sandbox to expand the Evil Dead universe and expand on the character of Ash?
Rob Tapert: I’m just going to jump into start this, and then I’m going to hand it over to Sam. One of the reasons that it was fun to bring this to television, which is more of a character-based thing, as the series and our interests shifted from how can we entertain the audience? We realized we want to spend more time with the character of Ash, and TV is the medium that allows us to go and now do basically a season of Evil Dead which covers more ground than the three movies did in total combined time.
So it really has, by going into television to tell this story and on a premium cable network, where there’s really kind of no holds barred, it allowed us to really spend time with the character Ash, spend time doing great horror, and have the unique tone that the Evil Dead movies had and with a partner that we know will be supportive in Starz. Sam, you want to add to that?
Sam Raimi: I forgot the question after that long-winded answer. Sorry.
Bruce Campbell: It’s about the sandbox, Sam, the sandbox.
Sam Raimi: The sandbox.
Bruce Campbell: The big sandbox.
Sam Raimi: How do we like the bigger sandbox? I love the opportunity to work with Bruce and Rob. I love that. And just like Bruce says, we all learned a lot. We’ve all been friends through these 30 years and now we can reapply our skills, as Bruce says, to the original project that we brought to the screen. So that’s the best part.
The bigger sandbox is actually the worrisome part. How will these new writers, how will the new actors, new technicians, new directors and producers continue to tell the story? It’s hard to let go of complete control of something that’s so close to us. So the bigger sandbox part is the part that scares me, actually. But I will say I’ve had great collaborators in my brother Ivan, a writer, and our new show runner Craig DiGregorio, who’s done a great job, his right hand man, (Rob Wright), another great writer. And there’s a whole bunch of — I won’t name them all but — writers in the room, they really seem to be fans of Bruce and they love horror. And they seem to be the right mix for the show.
But it’s that bigger sandbox part that’s the scariest part for me when something you’ve held so close to you, like your child, sending him off to kindergarten. It feels like that a little bit. You trust in them a little bit with other great creators, other great writers, great directors, but still you have to trust your child a little bit with another and as a mother it can be disconcerting, just because of the unknown.
SFP: You had mentioned that you had started kind of right after the sequel, or you knew that you wanted to do something and do a TV show with Bruce. What was the actual starting point for the story? Did you already have a bunch of stories in mind or did you guys collaborate? How did the idea for the story and the starting point come from?
Sam Raimi: Well, Ivan, my brother, and myself kept hearing — when I would be on promotion for any other movie — the reporters who I’d be speaking with would feign interest in that picture that I was working on. And then they’d say to me, “But when’s the next Evil Dead coming out?”
And I tried to ignore that for the longest time, because I really wanted to make different types of pictures and, you know, try and grow as a director and a writer. And – but I kept hearing that again and again. And so I said to my brother Ivan, “We probably should start working on an Evil Dead story. It seems like there’s really – people want to see that.”
So we tried to write some different stories, and we tried a number of times with a lot of different ideas — from futuristic versions that follow an ending that’s only on some of the Army of Darknesses, to picking up where Evil Dead One left off, to all sorts of outrageous possibilities — never really being satisfied. Tried to keep putting it away.
But even when I was finishing up on my Spiderman promotions, or even other horror movies, people still came back and said, “When is the next Evil Dead?” So I finally said, “Ivan, we’ve got to write this thing.” And when I presented some ideas to Rob and Bruce, it was a little too expensive and it didn’t seem to make sense to the feature, because it was never even a big crowd for the Evil Dead films, just a very small but fanatical, you know, devoted, loyal fans — which I really appreciate.
But there was never a big enough crowd to merit a Hollywood-sized movie. And some of the ideas we had were that. So Rob I think suggested maybe, you know, Rob has a tremendous amount of experience as a successful producer now. And he said how about as a TV show? And we thought yes, the best part of what we’ve got is really Ash anyways. And although we had not ever written a television show, really – actually that’s not true. We had written on television shows, but I never thought about Evil Dead as a TV show.
We thought yes, Bruce is actually a TV star. Rob’s a great TV producer. We can learn how to work in TV, Ivan and I, and it’s all about the character of Ash and supposedly, we’ve heard often that the strength of television is of character, and that’s the strength of our show. So it kind of evolved in that way.
Bruce Campbell: And I would add to this that I go to conventions a lot. And I’m driven insane by the fans at conventions. I’ve heard it. I’ve been doing conventions since 1988 and I hear it every convention I go to, same as Sam. We were tortured for years and so guess what? Now they’re going to get it. They’re going to get hours of this guy.
So, you know, and though like Sam I’m very happy with the Evil Dead remake, but – and we did it because of the clamor. People, they wouldn’t stop, so we’re like well let’s give them something. And while that movie was very successful, there was still sort of a grumbling, a low level grumbling of yes, well it ain’t the real thing.
So now, thankfully, this all came together so we can give them the real thing over and over, because people are never satisfied. So we’re never going to stop giving it to them.
SFP: At present we’re seeing a lot of really terrific makeup effects on television, and television is pushing a lot of boundaries with those effects and the gore. Kind of in the tradition of the Evil Dead films, I’m wondering will the show – does the TV show allow you the space to have a lot of great effects on it?
Rob Tapert: Yes, we absolutely want to continue the Evil Dead tradition. We’re working with a great makeup effects artist down in New Zealand called (Roger Murray). We worked with him on various things over the years, and, you know, that’s one of the expectations from the franchise — of makeup effects, gore effects. So absolutely we plan to have those and to continue on with what the audience expects from the franchise in yet a new and different way.
Bruce Campbell: I’ll add to that also. This is not going to be a watered down version of Evil Dead. The very first Evil Dead has no rating. The second Evil Dead has no rating. Only Army of Darkness was the only one that was ever rated. So thankfully, by partnering with Starz, the gloves are off and we have no restrictions — almost literally. And that’s going to suit the Evil Dead fan because they don’t like it watered down. They want the hardcore stuff and they’re going to get it.
SFP: You’ve talked a lot about how you’re expanding the world of Evil Dead with the show. Can you talk about the new characters that are going to be populating in this world with Ash?
Sam Raimi: Yes. This is Sam. Ash is going to make friends and enemies in the show, and we’re going to be introducing them. I’m wondering how much I should say about the characters that won’t give away stuff.
Rob Tapert: I think you can talk through who’s in it.
Sam Raimi: Okay will you go through our cast and tell them a little bit about them for me, Robbie?
Rob Tapert: Well the cast – so Ash on this incarnation has a team that forms around him. Pablo, a young immigrant who wants to be part of the American fabric and forget his roots, and through his encounters with Ash and the Evil Dead, rediscovers what really is important to him. He’s played by Ray Santiago.
Bruce Campbell: That’s Pablo Simon Bolivar.
Rob Tapert: Another character in this is Dana DeLorenzo, who plays the character of Kelly. She is a wonderful comedian and actress. She had her own – well she’s part of a radio show that played for years that was very successful as another character, another name.
Sam Raimi: Kelly Maxwell.
Rob Tapert: Kelly Maxwell, and she is I’m going to say Pablo’s love interest. She at first doesn’t believe in Ash and wants nothing to do with him but eventually becomes part of the team as the go about realizing that there is something greater at play in a series of Evil Dead-like attacks.
They are joined by Jill Marie Jones, who plays the part of Amanda Fisher, a police officer who sees something that she doesn’t believe and it causes her great problems in her profession. And she is on the trail to hunt down Ash because she believes that he is responsible for this series of bodies.
Bruce Campbell: She’s a Michigan State Police Detective.
Rob Tapert: As a Michigan State Police Detective. And eventually she teams up with Ruby, played by Lucy Lawless, who is – she knows something about the Evil Dead and she also is on the hunt for Ash. And so kind of that is the core team over the first season. And there’s many other side characters who come and go, but that’s the core team for the first season.
Bruce Campbell: And I have to say, I’m excited for all off these actors. Ray and Dana have experience. They’ve been around. But this is a – they’re still young, enthusiastic actors. And it’s really great to have that going in. And the great Lucy Lawless, who I worked with back in the Xena days and, you know, I’ve acted with her and directed her and you know, when she came onboard, that was such an added plus because we know what we’re getting with her, which is something great usually.
Sam Raimi: Yes, she’s always been a brilliant actress. I’ve had the pleasure of working with her just on one day on the original Spiderman picture. I mean as a director. And I loved it. And I’m really looking forward to introducing her in this pilot episode. I can’t wait to work with her in finally a substantial role.
SFP: You’ve kind of hinted at this a little bit. I’m wondering, assuming the season goes really well — which of course it will — is there a possibility of bringing Ash back to the big screen? I know you mentioned that, you know, it was maybe a more core fan base, but is that a possibility if the season really blows up?
Bruce Campbell: It’s a possibility no matter what happens, because I think we always want to keep that ability in the back of our minds to tell a story on the big old screen. So nothing will preclude anything, regardless of what happens. We made the movies over, you know, a 12 year period and the last one was 24 years ago. But I think in the back of our minds, we always want that ability to do that.
SFP: Is this series just a smokescreen to get the Jack of All Trades crew back together?
Bruce Campbell: Well I’m sure Rob can expand on this, but I will say that coming back down to New Zealand — the last time I was here was for Jack of All Trades 15 years ago. So the crews were excellent then and they’re even more experienced now because of both, you know, Rob producing Spartacus and all of the Peter Jackson movies. There’s a really talented group of people down here now.
And, you know, the nice thing is walking into the production office — there’s about a half a dozen faces that go all the way back. And so, you know, Rob you can explain it if you want, but I can say that Rob has put a tremendous team together down here that they’ve worked together for years and that really helps the cohesion. You don’t have to spell everything out with somebody. You know how each other works and you know their strengths and weaknesses.
And so when I heard it was going to be in New Zealand, that was really – people were like well, geez what’s that like going to New Zealand? It’s a pleasure coming to New Zealand. It’s a very civilized place and the crews are excellent.
Sam Raimi: And I’d like to say Auckland is a great first class city. It’s a little jewel, an unknown jewel, and New Zealand is this beautiful raft floating in the Pacific. It’s gorgeous here and — not that we get out that much, but — the crews are Hollywood first rate. And the stages we’re working on are beautiful and there’s great artistic talent down here. So I’m thrilled to have a chance to work in this country finally. To direct here is great.
SFP: The technology of chainsaws has changed. It’s probably come a long way since you originally strapped on the chainsaw. Are you guys – is there any new prop that you’re working with?
Sam Raimi: Bruce has stored his rig these last 30 years just in case — in case this TV show ever came up. And you know, he’s been living in fear of a resurgence of the Evil Dead, of the Deadites and so that old, rusted hulk of his, that’s the one thing he’s kept oiled up and in tip top shape just in case. So I think we will see that sweet baby come back — come roaring to life and slicing and dicing on the Deadites.
Bruce Campbell: And I think as far as the sound of the chainsaw goes, it’s important that we don’t use a digital sound, that we use an analog — something that was recorded on reel-to-reel tape for that chainsaw, because it has to have a bite and an edge, and only analog can give you that. Digital’s very clean and wonderful, but it doesn’t have the gnarly sound. So I hope we can get a 1970 nine recording of that. Maybe we’ll steal it from the original movie because that…
Sam Raimi: I got it, Bruce. I got it on reel-to-reel.
Bruce Campbell: Excellent.
SFP: What more can you guys tell us about Ruby, who is played by Lucy Lawless?
Sam Raimi: She’s a woman of mystery and we don’t want to reveal too much about her real agenda or why she so desperately wants to track Ash down. But she’s had an unpleasant experience that I think Ash was involved with, we’re going to learn about. But I don’t want to spoil what the writers have in store for you right now — except to say she’s completely justified in her actions.
And she’s going to become a formidable person to have on Ash’s tail.
SFP: Can you tell us who else will be directing episodes of the series?
Rob Tapert: Yes so I can tell you some people who are directing. This is Rob speaking. We have (Michael Bassett) out the UK. (Michael) is a horror director in his own right. He also created and ran a show called Strike Back.
We have a director David Frazee out of Canada who – off Orphan Black. We have a director that I’ve worked with a great deal called (Michael Hurst) from New Zealand. We have a director from Australia who I’ve always wanted to work with who worked on the Underbelly series and subsequently has done a lot of work out of HBO Singapore, (Tony Tilse). And then the season finale is done by longtime collaborator, Rick Jacobson who was here for Spartacus and worked going back to Herc and Xena. So he’s done many season openers and finales.
SFP: There has been a lot of talk about multiple seasons of this show, which is great, but I have to ask. How many seasons have you mapped out? And secondly, you’re all busy with so many different projects. Is this the kind of show that if Bruce or Ash kind of left the show and if each of you kind of decided to step back a little bit in your duties, could you see this show continuing on and perhaps the torch being passed to someone else creatively and on camera?
Bruce Campbell: I’m not going anywhere. This is a show I’m going to devote basically every ounce of my aging energy into. And you know, this is something that you don’t take lightly. This was a long road to get here, starting back in 1979. So this isn’t something that – now creatively, if they decide that Ash is no longer needed, then I’ll happily step aside.
But I have – this isn’t a hobby for me.
Rob Tapert: And I’ll second that. Bruce has made some — without giving any spoilers — supreme sacrifices in order to bring back the character of Ash, and we are very appreciative of those sacrifices that he’s made. And I have to say – and he will – it would be a joyless process that the mantle would be passed to anybody else. And I just don’t see that as a possible outcome in this.
Sam Raimi: I feel the same way. I think we’re really doing this to work together again as a team. I mean, it’s hard to say if one of us dropped out what would happen, but it’s not what we’re into it for. We really love the project and working together and watching Bruce on screen bring his magic to the screen and we really like the Evil Dead stories and that’s why we’re here — to stick with it and try and entertain the audience.
SFP: How did you wind up at Starz? Did you shop it? Did they say, “Hey we’ve heard these Evil Dead rumors,” they came to you. Did somebody open the Necronomicon and summon the other one? How did this work?
Sam Raimi: Well, Rob Tapert had a great relationship with Starz. Chris Albrecht, with their success that they mutually shared on Spartacus for many years, and they’ve been wanting to work together. And then when Ivan and I – my brother — were writing Evil Dead the TV show, we actually didn’t think anybody would be interested. We – it was such a weird idea.
But Chris Albrecht stood up and said, “I want to make this show.” He had a great relationship with Rob. He enjoyed the Evil Dead series. And he really wanted to give his audience something unique. I don’t want to speak for Chris, but I have the feeling that he wanted to give them something unique and something they could only get on Starz.
And he told us that this really fit the bill. And I’m hoping we can deliver that for him.
Bruce Campbell: I would add that there were in fact, you know, other companies that were interested, other outlets. And so as the creative team, we had to decide which company is going to give us what we need to do this particular show — not just any show, this particular show — and the Evil Dead functions best in an unrestricted world. And Starz was just really heads above anybody else in what they were able to offer us creatively.
Sam is a very creative director and works best with the fewest restraints possible. And so we’re able to give the viewers what they demand through Starz — and only through Starz. And so I believe Starz is the only place where this could have gone.
‘Ash Vs Evil Dead’ will be premiering on Starz at some time in the Fall. Stay tuned for more news as and when we learn it.