Much to the delight of horror (and comedy) fans everywhere, Ash vs Evil Dead will breathe new life (pun intended) into the popular Evil Dead film franchise when it hits STARZ® as a new, 10-episode series beginning Halloween, October 31. Particularly intriguing is the fact that it comes from original filmmakers Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert, and Bruce Campbell.
Campbell will also reprise his iconic chainsaw-handed monster-slayer, Ash, alongside franchise newcomers Lucy Lawless (Salem, Spartacus), Ray Santiago (Meet the Fockers), Dana DeLorenzo (A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas), and Jill Marie Jones (Sleepy Hollow).
We were fortunate to get a surplus of great insights from the stars of the show.
Bruce Campbell answered DIRECTV customer-submitted questions in the video below and we were lucky enough to catch he and fellow stars Lucy Lawless, Ray Santiago, Dana DeLorenzo, and Jill Marie Jones at New York Comic Con. The group enthusiastically praised their network for its boldness in bringing the franchise to TV and gave us a glimpse into what we can expect when Ash vs Evil Dead hits STARZ® on October 31.
BRUCE CAMPBELL ANSWERS DIRECTV CUSTOMERS’ QUESTIONS
ASH VS EVIL DEAD AT NEW YORK COMIC CON 2015
What can we expect from Ash vs. Evil Dead?
Bruce Campbell: You can expect carnage, mayhem, and a few laughs. We do slapstick. Blood and laughs! That’s one thing any viewer who’s never seen the show or films needs to know— it’s nothing that’ll ruin your life… it’ll shake you up for about a half hour, but it’ll be like those rides in an amusement park—you think you’re gonna die, but halfway through you get out of it and at the end you go, “Alright! I didn’t die!”
Ash vs. Evil Dead is a half-hour thrill ride, and because it’s only a 30-minute show, our pace is much quicker than your average hourly program. This wouldn’t be the same show at an hour length. We can keep more of a sitcom pace with carnage and mayhem.
Ray Santiago: Heads are definitely gonna roll. There will be blood. Lots of blood. There’s so much blood on this show, it’s just bloody fun. I play Pablo. I’m Ash’s idealistic, loyal homie who ultimately comes into contact with evil and believes that Ash is the one to be able to save the world from evil. I go on this journey with Ash and we drag along a really hot girl who’s sitting right next to me in this interview room.
Dana DeLorenzo: I play Kelly, Pablo’s best friend who definitely does get dragged into the fight, wrong place wrong time, but she’s a real badass in the making. She’s tough, she is not afraid to speak her mind, and she’s really smart, so once she gets on board with the team she eventually has her own reasons for wanting to fight deadites and what she brings to the group is common sense and a little bit of voice of reason, which the team needs! Pablo, Kelly, and Ash are a trifecta of misfits and they’re totally ill equipped to fight this fight, but that’s what’s so great about getting to watch them figure it out and see what they’re really capable of and Ash is back and better than ever.
Ray: Our show is definitely a half hour of fun-filled classic comedic horror, but the show is definitely about a group of people who are tying to escape who they’re meant to be and once they come together and confront their inner demons that they come in contact with along the way, they become this ultimate monster-fighting squad, so this dysfunctional unit somehow forms this amazing team. Kelly is the brains, I’m definitely the heart, and good ole’ Ash is the muscle.
Dana: And the face!
Ray: Look at that mug!
Lucy and Jill, who do you play on the show?
Lucy Lawless: I play Ruby Nobey, whose father and essentially whole family was destroyed by Ash and his first deadite plague, and now I’m gunning for him, and I hook up and meet this incredibly cool cop at a very vulnerable moment in her life, who is sitting right next to me!
Jill Marie Jones: I play Amanda Fisher, and I’m a badass! You kind of feel like she’s not that social—work is everything for her, she knows her way around a gun, she loves the gun. She knocks people out, but she’s a good guy. She fights for good. Something happens to her and Ash’s name is all over it. So together (with Lucy) we’re out for blood!
Do you think the comedy elements are what set Ash apart from other zombie programs currently popular such as The Walking Dead?
Bruce: This show differs from a lot of shows on TV. People will mention…well, there’s a lot of competition out there…but not really! And people have heard of The Evil Dead before, so I think we have that going for us. We have generations that have passed on from one to the next, these [Evil Dead] movies have been around so long, so I think we’re separated by that. We’re separated by tone and our pace.
Lucy: This show is very true to the second and third Evil Deads, so there’s no effort to be different—it is something fresh for television because the horror is real, and the comedy is irreverent and distasteful and hilarious. It’s its own animal; there’s almost no comparison to anything else on TV.
Ray: Sam Raimi created this genre of old-school comedic horror, and I think what’s on TV today is nothing like our show. Yes, the franchise of the Evil Dead rebooted, but there is no half-hour, single-camera sitcom that focuses on comedy/horror like we do.
Dana: The way I describe it is, it’s like walking into a comedy club that is inside one of the scariest haunted houses you’ve ever been in. It really does have all of the elements of entertainment though, and I don’t think there’s any other show on TV that has it all and goes full-speed ahead without holding back on anything like we do. The bottom line is, it’s entertaining. I think if you were a fan of the franchise, you are getting everything you’ve been clamoring for. Sam Raimi and Craig DiGregorio and the writers have done an incredible job of brining the nostalgia from the old movies, but also you really don’t have to be a fan in order to enjoy the show. They did a great job of keeping both old and new audiences in the loop.
Jill: I’m so excited because the true Evil Dead fans are in for a treat. We’ve done them proud. But I call the first episode “Evil Dead for Dummies”, because I really do think they did it so right—if you’ve never ever seen an Evil Dead movie, you’re going to be right on board and get’s you right on the same playing field, and you’ll hopefully just fly! I hope that everyone falls in love the way I did, and appreciate what we’ve been working so hard. Sam was saying the other day that he was hoping to achieve that—that we could please the old fans and gain a new generation of fans.
Lucy: Do you remember that ghost house ride at the fair when you were a kid? It’s like a really high-octane, ghost house ride. It’s like going through a ghost house when you’re tripping on something. Ash vs. Evil Dead is a very, very wild ride so you’ve been warned!
Why do think 2015 is the right time for Ash vs. Evil Dead?
Bruce: A lot of little things contributed to the rebirth of Ash. Part of it is that television is changing. You can do more on television. Some of the great, great shows are now on premium channels. These networks that used to show other people’s films are now showing their own TV, which is great for us as actors and filmmakers—there are more opportunities to tell stories. STARZ® I think is newer at this, so we caught them at a good time and because they’re a premium channel, there’s little restriction…. We’re getting away with everything, which is everything that the audience demands…. They want the goods! We couldn’t do it on any other network. If we were with a cable network, they’d cut the heck out of it. This is as close to unrated television as you can get, right from the start. We may have to trim it down for international networks [laughs], but not for our main audience!
Lucy: It couldn’t exist on any other network. Only STARZ® would give us unrestricted content, and until somebody said, “do what you want,” Bruce wasn’t willing to sign on.
Were you fans of the original films?
Dana: I was familiar with them and what they did for the genre of horror. I’m the type of person that gets terrified of everything, by the way—the toaster goes off and I have a panic attack! So when I finally sat down to watch the movies with all the lights on surrounded by a group of people (laughs), I fell in love with Ash and completely understood why this has such a loyal fan base. There’s really nothing else like it and it’s fun, and whether you’re someone who’s going to cover your eyes during the gory parts, the next minute you’re going to be laughing hysterically because it’s just so well-rounded.
Ray: As a kid I was a huge horror fan and I wanted to be the person running from the monster and I wanted to be the person saving people from the monster. And now, I get to do that. I get to be the victim and the hero as an adult, except it’s my job, which is pretty cool [laughs].
Dana: What kind of job is the one where Sam Raimi gets to throw blood on you all day [laughs]!?
Jill: They were iconic so of course I had heard of The Evil Dead, but I didn’t get into this style of horror until later on, and then of course I had binged it all during the initial auditioning process and I was like, “yess! I’m so excited”, and I was just so happy about joining the cast!
Lucy: When I was about 17 years old, my very first boyfriend took me to see on VHS the first Evil Dead over at someone else’s house. After the first five minutes where there’s this incredibly violent and disgusting scene, I ran out and ranted, “whoever made this sick, misogynistic stuff should be thrown in jail!” [laughs]. And 12 years later, I was married to one of them! So it was one of those never-say-never things and now I’m quite familiar with the legacy of the franchise.
Bruce, where is Ash when the show picks up with episode one?
Bruce: He’s on a freight train to loserville. He’s going to bars late at night, lying about how he lost his hand…he’s a classy guy. This is our hero [laughs], but this is why I like the scenario! The guy’s over the hill, he’s a little delusional—maybe a lot delusional—but he’s a hero deep down. He has been called back into service. This is your everyday man who has to rise above his normal inclination to not excel and save the world. He’s not CIA, he’s not NAVY S.E.A.L. We actually got a note from the network about Ash having improper gun handling— we laughed at that and said no there’s nothing improper with that! He doesn’t know HOW to do it, he wasn’t trained. He’s waving that shotgun all over the place. But, don’t worry about it, that’s who he is and he’s a hero anyway. And that interests me.
How do you feel about coming back to the franchise?
Bruce: It’s very interesting to be back. It’s incredibly familiar, even though it’s been 25 years or so—as long as I’ve been married. But it’s been really fun, and it’s been easier than I thought, to be able to take that character and go back at it again. We just hope people like it!
Don’t miss all the hilarious and gory fun when Ash vs Evil Dead premieres Saturday October 31st at 9/8c only on STARZ®!
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