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Bruce Campbell on EVIL DEAD: An Exclusive HTF Interview With Bruce Campbell

Interview

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#1 of 24 OFFLINE   Timothy E

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Posted August 21 2010 - 06:47 AM

On August 31, 2010, Anchor Bay is releasing Evil Dead for the first time on Blu-ray.  I am presently working on the HTF review to be posted in the next week or so, prior to its release date on August 31.  I will post a link in this thread to my review after it is posted on the forum.

 

Bruce Campbell was gracious enough to talk to the Home Theater Forum regarding his career in television and film, and the building anticipation for the release of Evil Dead on Blu-ray.

 

HTF: Evil Dead is considered by many fans as a great example of bravura filmmaking. Do you have a favorite memory of making that film?

 

BRUCE CAMPBELL: No, I have no favorite memory because it was a very difficult movie to make. My favorite memory was probably going home after we were done shooting. It was a very memorable experience being our first film. I was 21 at the time so a lot of the process sticks with me. I have a little compartment in my brain just for the making of Evil Dead.

 

HTF: I watched the film for the first time on Blu-ray yesterday and I saw that you and Rob Tapert and Sam Raimi had recorded a new commentary for it so I got the sense that it was a lot of hard work for all three of you.

 

BRUCE CAMPBELL: Yeah, we wanted to do the commentary a little different, we didn’t want to watch the movie again and comment on it. We just talked about the whole experience of making the movie and we thought we would just use that opportunity to tell that story. It was fun to sit down and try to see what you can remember.

 

HTF: If you did Evil Dead all over again today, is there anything that you would do differently?

 

BRUCE CAMPBELL: Yeah, everything.

 

HTF: Anything specifically?

 

BRUCE CAMPBELL: Yeah, as far as production, you know, the interesting thing about Evil Dead is that we were using real ammunition in the shotguns, we were at a real cabin at a very remote part of Tennessee in 1979. I mean there was moonshine, there were guys in the hills, you know, it was kind of the real deal. There was not a single CGI shot, there were only a few matte painting shots, but that’s kind of an old school technology. It is what it is, so I like to look back on it now and just remember that as a time capsule of that experience.

 

HTF: You are credited as an executive producer on Evil Dead. Is it true that every time somebody buys an Evil Dead DVD, you get a nickel?

 

BRUCE CAMPBELL: Well, I wouldn’t say a nickel per se, but you know we are all, Sam and Rob and myself and a group of investors in Detroit, we own the movie. My mother owns a piece of this movie too so every time I get a check, my mother gets a check, so I feel pretty good about that.

 

HTF: When you were growing up in Michigan, were there any specific actors you watched who inspired you to become an actor?

 

BRUCE CAMPBELL: Yeah, William Holden. He’s my favorite actor, my favorite actor in my favorite movie, The Bridge on the River Kwai.

 

HTF: I guess that’s coming out on Blu-ray not too far in the future.

 

BRUCE CAMPBELL: Is it really?

 

HTF: Yeah, they just announced it, they have been working on it for the last several years and it is finally going to see the light of day within the next 12 months.

 

BRUCE CAMPBELL: Wow. That will be fabulous. I will be all over that.

 

HTF: Other than William Holden, when it comes to watching other actors in film, do you have any favorite movies?

 

BRUCE CAMPBELL: I like the old-time actors, I like the old studio guys. I like Bogart and Spencer Tracy. I love Cary Grant. I have been reading about all of these guys because I am fascinated with the studio system. I think these actors got good because they were done with one movie on a Friday and they went to another movie on a Monday. These guys never stopped working, and I think as a result, you get really good. I think the actors today make, maybe, two movies a year whereas these guys would make eight movies in a year, so that type of actor fascinates me, how they did it, and how they made movies in the past. We have actually forgotten a lot of things that they used to do because the information wasn’t passed along.

 

HTF: Are there any Cary Grant films that you are especially fond of?

 

BRUCE CAMPBELL: North By Northwest I think is pretty cool because it’s kind of Cary Grant in his 50s, you know, he’s really smooth, there’s something about him, I just read a book about him. He was one of my all time favorites, he was just a great movie star, just a classic movie star.

 

HTF: I asked about him because he is one of my favorites as well. Many of your fans enjoy watching your performance on Burn Notice on the USA Network. What TV shows do Bruce Campbell enjoy watching? They can be new shows or shows no longer in production.

 

BRUCE CAMPBELL: Well, you know, what do I tape? I tape Lawrence Welk.

 

HTF: No kidding.

 

BRUCE CAMPBELL: I kid you not. I will admit that to the entire world, because I enjoy Lawrence Welk on many levels. One is that you look at the most ridiculous costumes of that time period, and the styles of that show are hilarious because you know a lot of their show was done from the 60s through the 80s and man, you get to watch a show from 1968, it’s awesome, the hair styles, the clothing, the colors, the wide ties, it’s just ridiculous, and look, I am a fan of a group of entertainers, it’s the same people over and over every week, they put on a different themed show every week and I actually like watching performers over a 20 year period, so it’s a ridiculous show and people make fun of it but to me, I just think it’s entertaining as hell.

 

HTF: Do you know what channel is rerunning that right now?

 

BRUCE CAMPBELL: PBS. It’s Saturday nights on PBS is the best I could recall.

 

HTF: Well, I guarantee after people read this interview, there will be a spike in viewership for that.

 

BRUCE CAMPBELL: (Laughter)Well, it’s just great too that the Evil Dead guy likes Lawrence Welk, I mean, oh, and what’s even more absurd, I have lavender on my property in Oregon, I am a lavender farmer as well.

 

HTF: How do you farm lavender?

 

BRUCE CAMPBELL: Very slowly. It’s a harvest that you do once a year.

 

HTF: So does that fit into your schedule fairly well?

 

BRUCE CAMPBELL: Uh, no, because I’m here on Burn Notice, I have somebody else harvest the lavender.

 

HTF: In your book If Chins Could Kill, you talk about spores. A spore is defined as "a primitive, environmentally resistant virus produced by prolonged exposure to bull**** and capable of robbing the human brain of its abilities to think individually or creatively." How do you prevent yourself from being infected with spores these days?

 

BRUCE CAMPBELL: You have to live in an environment where winter takes place because the winter will kill the spores. Los Angeles does not get hot and cold enough to kill the spores so I live in Oregon and for several months of the year I am just cold enough because we get snow up there and it kills all of the spores so I am good, I can think very clearly. I have to say, I have been in Miami for a very long time and the spores, you know, they start to develop so hopefully in the fall I can get back quickly before anything becomes chronic and kill them again in December.

 

HTF: Yeah, I would think Miami would be as bad as LA.

 

BRUCE CAMPBELL: Worse, because of the humidity.

 

HTF: Do you have a favorite memory regarding The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.?

 

BRUCE CAMPBELL: The whole thing was really just a great experience because it was my first TV-starring role, I had starred in a couple of movies and stuff, but this to me, I actually felt I was the most, I guess proud is the word, I don’t really like to use that word but that I got into the mainstream because if you can get on television, that’s very mainstream, but you know I had done these cult movies and this and that and I think I had really been embittered with cult movie acting, even after Army of Darkness, and so it was just nice to get into a mainstream show with what I felt was a really strong and interesting character that they created and, you know, it was a hell of a one year, we only ran for one season but it was 26 episodes with a really big-budgeted 2 hour pilot so it was incredibly challenging.

 

Every skill I had learned up through Army of Darkness I had to pull out of my butt for this TV show as far as I had to learn how to ride horses, we had tons of fist-fighting, there were different hot babes every week, it was really kind of an actor’s dream role. Most actors, they go "You know, God, if I can just play a cowboy and fist-fight and do all of this stuff" and we shot it on the Warner Brothers back lot where they shot Laramie and tons of other famous Westerns and the fact that we were still, you could see that it was coming in on itself too, you could see that all that Western world was dying because we shot at every ranch outside of Los Angeles, the Melody Ranch where Gene Autry used to film, Big Sky Ranch, Value Day Ranch where they have a huge Mexican village and a villa that’s always there that they shot a billion things in but just beyond the Mexican village you can see condos and stuff now, with these ranches of old you used to have, you could shoot this way or that way and it didn’t matter but civilization was creeping in and because the Western was dying, there was no need for these places to exist, so I was glad to be able to see like the Disney Ranch, the Warner Ranch, before they were gone. We saw them kind of as they were on their cusp because when we were doing a Western nobody was doing Westerns, you know, they just were not done on a vast scale anymore.

 

It was great also like in the pilot, guys like Stuart Whitman were in the pilot and it was great to work with these old-timers who starred in their own TV shows. Stuart Whitman was in Cimarron Strip years ago, James Drury was in The Virginian, Robert Fuller goes back to Wagon Train, it was just great to run into these guys and to see what they were like all these years later, to see what their careers were like and it was just great, and to work at a studio. You know, I was under contract to Warner Brothers and now I was in the same status as Errol Flynn or Bette Davis or Bogart, and you know as an actor there are milestones in your head where you go "Okay, that’s cool, I am playing the game, I am playing with the big dogs."

 

HTF: I watched The Quick and the Dead recently on Blu-ray and you are still credited on that film. Do you think fans will ever see your scenes from that film?

 

BRUCE CAMPBELL: Well, no, because Sam never assembled them. I am not even sure if he shot film. He concocted a whole sequence for me to film with another actor just to shut the actor up. (Laughter) One particular actor had been complaining, it was Pat Hingle, the great character actor, Pat Hingle, and Pat had been bugging Sam for weeks about one thing about his character that he didn’t like. Sam was like, okay, I came to visit Sam for one day, just to visit him, I was shooting Brisco, and I just wanted to sit with Sam behind the monitor and watch him direct Gene Hackman and have fun. Instead he grabs me and puts me in a costume and makes me shoot this scene with Pat Hingle in order to shut Pat up but he had no intention of using it in the movie whatsoever.

 

HTF: Now that we know the story, it’s more tragic that the footage no longer exists.

 

BRUCE CAMPBELL: Well, it may exist but Sam told me there was no way in hell that he was going to put that in his movie.

 

HTF: In your career up until now, do you have a favorite role or roles that you enjoyed because the characters reflect aspects of your own personality?

 

BRUCE CAMPBELL: It’s not about whether a character reflects my personality, it’s whether it’s a good or fun character, but as an actor I am drawn to certain things, you know, I am drawn to certain material. The Evil Dead movies got me into the business so I am very fond of that, I thought Bubba Ho-Tep was a cool little movie, obscure things like Running Time although a black and white movie was a really ambitious low-budget movie, kind of a fun gritty movie, I think Brisco was a really fun role, I enjoyed doing Autolycus on the Hercules series, and now for me Sam Axe on Burn Notice is my current love.

 

HTF: Of all of your roles, is there one role that fans associate with you more than any other?

 

BRUCE CAMPBELL: Here is what I have found: I have found that it all depends on what they watch. I have met people who like Brisco who will not watch the Evil Dead movies and I know Evil Dead fans who will never watch Brisco, so it all depends on what people watch. They associate you with what they watch so if you are an Evil Dead fan, I am that guy, I am the Evil Dead guy. The nice thing is people are now rediscovering Evil Dead through Burn Notice. They watch Burn Notice and because of that show and they go "Who is that old guy?" and they research it and they find the Evil Dead movies in retrospect.

 

HTF: Many film companies are releasing director’s cuts of movies with additional footage integrated back into the film. Evil Dead originally had a running time much longer than the released version. Do you think Sam will ever produce a director’s cut of Evil Dead with the extra footage, or is that footage lost to the ages?

 

BRUCE CAMPBELL: There was never a director’s cut and I think that is false information. The movie was always 83 minutes or whatever the hell it is, I don’t know what the exact running time would be but there was only one version and there will only be one version. There was never a director’s cut because we did not have a studio. It was Alliance Cinema, they had nothing to do because it was really already edited, you know we financed the movie ourselves so we edited the movie. It wasn’t a studio saying, "try that, try that," it was us so there is only one cut.

 

HTF: In closing, do you have any final comments on Evil Dead on Blu-ray?

 

BRUCE CAMPBELL: Yeah, watch it because Sam Raimi personally supervised it and it’s not going to look any better under any circumstances. We put a lot of love into this movie and whether you like it or not, you know it’s still a low-budget movie but I hope they like it, anyone who hasn’t seen it because you know we put a lot of time and effort into it and hopefully it shows.



#2 of 24 OFFLINE   Adam Gregorich

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Posted August 21 2010 - 07:25 AM

Great interview Timothy.  Thanks for posting it.  I would never in a million years guessed Lawrence Welk!

#3 of 24 OFFLINE   Timothy E

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Posted August 21 2010 - 07:39 AM

Originally Posted by Adam Gregorich 

Great interview Timothy.  Thanks for posting it.  I would never in a million years guessed Lawrence Welk!


I would never have guessed that either!
 



#4 of 24 OFFLINE   Richard Gallagher

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Posted August 22 2010 - 05:28 PM

Terrific interview, Tim. I love Bruce Campbell. Bubba Ho-Tep is total hoot.


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#5 of 24 OFFLINE   Stephen_J_H

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Posted August 23 2010 - 08:53 AM

Bruce Campbell is my hero, at least partly because he's a fellow southpaw. I may never have guessed Lawrence Welk, but having read If Chins Could Kill and Make Love! The Bruce Campbell Way, I can't say I'm surprised, either.


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#6 of 24 OFFLINE   Derek Miner

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Posted August 23 2010 - 10:02 AM

I love Bruce Campbell. I got to interview him myself once. I've been to three different public appearances of his and he's always gracious in taking time for his fans. I do get the feeling that in the back of his head, he's a bit amused by all the attention.
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#7 of 24 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted August 23 2010 - 10:41 AM

[quote]Originally Posted by Derek Miner [url=/forum/thread/303256/bruce-campbell-on-evil-dead-an-exclusive-htf-interview-with-bruce-campbell#post_3722419]



#8 of 24 OFFLINE   Parker Clack

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Posted August 24 2010 - 02:30 AM

Bruce Campbell is a class act. He is the kind of guy that everyone would just naturally migrate to in the room.   Great interview Tim. Did you do this in person or over the phone?      

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#9 of 24 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted August 24 2010 - 02:57 AM

Great job!  Very interesting, always thought BC was a neat guy.

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#10 of 24 OFFLINE   Timothy E

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Posted August 24 2010 - 05:34 AM

Originally Posted by Parker Clack 

Bruce Campbell is a class act. He is the kind of guy that everyone would just naturally migrate to in the room.

 

Great interview Tim. Did you do this in person or over the phone?

 

 

 



I did this by phone on Saturday morning.  I did not ask him directly but I inferred from his comments that he is still in Miami filming on Burn Notice.



#11 of 24 OFFLINE   Mojito

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Posted August 24 2010 - 05:45 AM

Fabulous interview! I thoroughly enjoyed reading that. Great questions--not the usual stuff, and it got some great responses from Bruce.

 

I'm the head moderator at Bruce Campbell's Official Forum, and I just posted a link to your interview over there - check it out!

 

http://www.bruce-cam...hp?p=2302#p2302

 

I submitted it to his web guy too, so hopefully they'll post it in the news on his main site! 



#12 of 24 OFFLINE   Mike Frezon

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Posted August 24 2010 - 07:31 AM

Mojito:
 

Welcome to the HTF!  [url=http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/]


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#13 of 24 OFFLINE   Mojito

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Posted August 24 2010 - 09:52 AM



Originally Posted by Mike Frezon 



Thanks, Mike!  I'm glad I discovered this forum via Tim's great interview!  And btw, Bruce's web team did put Tim's interview on the main site - cool!!!  See it here -

http://www.bruce-cam...sp?specific=238

 

We'd love to see you all over at Bruce's official forum too, so come check it out!

[url=http://www.bruce-campbell.com/forum]www.bruce-campbell.com/forum

 

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#14 of 24 OFFLINE   Adam Gregorich

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Posted August 24 2010 - 10:04 AM

Already checked it out.  Looks like a fun place.  Thanks for the links!

#15 of 24 OFFLINE   Mojito

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Posted August 24 2010 - 11:07 AM



[quote]Originally Posted by Adam Gregorich [url=/forum/thread/303256/bruce-campbell-on-evil-dead-an-exclusive-htf-interview-with-bruce-campbell#post_3722863]



#16 of 24 OFFLINE   KarenID

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Posted August 25 2010 - 06:42 AM

  Great interview! There can never be too much coverage of Bruce Campbell!   I wonder how he found a lavender harvester.   Craigslist?   Thanks, again. : )

#17 of 24 OFFLINE   koufax

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Posted August 25 2010 - 11:50 AM

Thank you for that. Bruce has always been a favorite of mine. Nice interview.

#18 of 24 OFFLINE   Will_B

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Posted August 25 2010 - 03:42 PM

Thanks for the interview. If you reprint it anywhere you might want to clean up some sentences a bit. It's allowed (deleting "you knows", repeated words or restarted sentences, and breaking run-on sentences into multiple sentences). But that's just the editor in me talking, so no disrespect intended.
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#19 of 24 OFFLINE   MielR

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Posted August 25 2010 - 06:27 PM

I love Bruce Campbell & Burn Notice, so thanks very much for that great interview! :-)
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#20 of 24 OFFLINE   JediFonger

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Posted August 26 2010 - 09:03 AM

just got my name is bruce =).  now will add evil dead as well =P. i hope they come out w/a 'trilogy' pak of sorts down the road. each version has its own charms =)





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