Bruce Comes Back To Town

Although never a household name, there are few actors more revered than Bruce Campbell. Arguably the most beloved modern cult film star of all, Bruce is primarily iconic as Ash, the hapless, yet endlessly cocky department store employee turned battler-of-the-undead in the “Evil Dead” franchise. He played that character in increasingly manic fashion the series’ three films and now is reprising it in the new Starz original television series, “Ash vs. Evil Dead,” all directed by his lifelong friend and co-conspirator, Sam Raimi.

7615653956_d1c91c346f_o 2I have to tell you that as a kid, I was a huge fan of the work you, Ted Raimi and Sam Raimi did. Your “do it yourself” approach to filmmaking really let me know at an impressionable age that there was a path to success in being creative without having to be lucky enough to become a household name.

That’s good to hear. I’m glad you’re doing something you want to do in life. “Life is not a dress rehearsal,” as Sam Raimi’s mother used to tell me.

Are all of you guys still tight?

Oh, I hang out with Ted all the time! Yeah, Ted is my pal. Sam, you know, he has 47 kids, so he has a very rich life outside of movies. He’s a pretty busy guy. The nice thing is I’m getting to work with him again.

On the new “Ash vs. Evil Dead” show! I imagine that’s obviously a labor of love.

Well, now it’s mainly just labor. As a middle-aged guy, these things don’t come so easily. But it’s good! It’s fun to play Ash again. I can go back and give him the tweaks I want to give him now.

It’s interesting to have Ash as an older guy now, obviously. Is he in a different place in life? Maybe he manages the S-Mart, now?

No. Ash is right where you think he would be. He’s in a trailer park, picking up chicks late at night and lying about how he lost his right hand.

Sounds like Ash.

That’s our buddy. And because of his foolishness, he’s unleashed these long dormant demons, and now, at a point in his life where he really doesn’t want to have to deal with this, he has to.

A 14 year old Rocko Jerome with Bruce Campbell dressed as Brisco County Jr. at Oxmoor Mall in 1993.

A 14 year old Rocko Jerome with Bruce Campbell dressed as Brisco County Jr. at Oxmoor Mall in 1993.

He has to get back on the horse, as it were. And speaking of horses, your first visit to Louisville was over 20 years ago, appearing at Oxmoor Mall for “The Adventures Of Brisco County Jr.” You were Brisco that day. Completely did not break character. What do you remember about those tours?

Well, I had a lot of energy back then. We would shoot all week and then wrap at 3 a.m. sometimes on a Friday night. We would call them “Fraturdays.” “Brisco” was a very challenging shoot – a lot of moving parts. We would put in some serious hours on that show, and I would get picked up by a car at like 6:30 a.m. after about three hours sleep. They shove you in the car or on a plane, and you’re off to some city with your gun and holster in your luggage, hoping nobody asks you too many weird questions. And then go parade around in some city, come back Sunday night. Then, Monday morning at 7, you’re back on set looking at your costar going “What’s your name?” It was a very busy time. But I didn’t mind touring. I still don’t mind touring. I don’t mind promoting stuff because how the hell else are people going to know what you’re up to?

There were so many people there. And there were kids dressed in cowboy costumes like the kind from the ’50s. That show struck a certain nerve, even if it was short-lived.

Yeah! Well, “Brisco” was a slightly old-school show. You know, unfortunately, the last episode was a two-parter, and at the end of the first part of the two episodes, Brisco and his guys are shot at dawn “Breaker Morant” style. Some markets didn’t show that second episode because they yanked it. So some people didn’t see where we wake up and they were rubber bullets and we ride off into the sunset. So people were like “Wow, what a lousy way to end that series!” And I’m like “What are you talking about?”

When you guys started out, did you have any idea it would lead to all this?

Well, no. The idea is just to get in the business. That was the only goal. It didn’t matter how we did it. I said yes to every early part – “Maniac Cop,” whatever. It didn’t matter. It was time to plow the fields. And wherever that led was wherever that led. And it’s like that today. You just lean in and see where it goes, like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.

Your fans are on the ride with you, and they’re eager to see you.

Yeah, come on down. I look forward to seeing all the folks from Louisville. It’s always been a very friendly place. I haven’t been in about 10 years; we’ll see how it’s doing.

Wizard World will take place the weekend of November 6 at the Kentucky International Convention Center. Hours are Friday 3-8 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Weekend adult tickets are $79.95 in advance or $90 onsite. Single day tickets range from $39.95 to $49.95. VIP tickets are $199.99. For tickets and more information, visit wizardworld.com/home-louisville.html.