Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with an interview I did with Bruce "The Man" Campbell regarding everything from the newly released BUBBA HO-TEP DVD to the future of Ash onscreen, be it fighting famous '80s troublemakers or in a standalone film. The Campbell doesn't need any introduction, especially to you screwheads! So, without any further ado, here he is... the man, they myth, the fucking legend! Enjoy!!!
QUINT: Jesus... You know it was over 3 years ago when I was sitting there in Downey, California freezing my ass off watching you tussle with Bob Ivy...
BRUCE CAMPBELL: Yeah. Those were the days!
QUINT: Are you glad that the long, long road is finally at its end?
BRUCE CAMPBELL: Oh, definitely! Definitely because when you start down those roads you never know if it'll be a dead end or what, so you just have to do it. The main thing with low budget movies that BUBBA seems to prove all over again is it's all about follow-through. It's one thing to make the damn movie, but can you sell it?
QUINT: I remember talking to you onset and you were sure that BUBBA was going straight to video.
BRUCE CAMPBELL: Well, that's the way it normally works, but fortunately Don Coscarelli is very stubborn. I'm glad because not only was he stubborn, he was willing to pony up, make it happen, so I give him a lot of credit.
QUINT: When you look back on the whole experience from first getting the script to sitting here talking to asshole reporters like me... What is your favorite and least favorite part about the whole journey?
BRUCE CAMPBELL: Well, the favorite part is watching it with an audience because it's just fun to see movies in theaters again. What was most fun was realizing that there are counter-culture places to watch counter-culture movies. Even on a bigger scale. I went to sort of christen an opening of a brand new complex in Washington, DC that showed nothing but alternative movies. And this has got 8 screens or whatever and there's not a DIE HARD in the whole bunch.
To me, I'm like, "Hallelujah, brother!" Because normally those things were limited much more to the Alamo Drafthouses and those were considered more like little blips on the radar rather than a normal movie-going experience. Now I think there's a backlash to this kind of mall/multi-plex mentality where people go, "You know what? I want to go drink beer and eat pizza and watch a movie and I don't wanna watch the same type of movie." So, this is what we're starting to get more. It was nice to get to follow a movie like BUBBA and be allowed into that world and to get more familiar with it. It gave me much more hope than I had 5 years ago for independent movies.
QUINT: So, why should the readership of Ain't It Cool News go out and buy the BUBBA HO-TEP DVD? What's in it for the geek?
BRUCE CAMPBELL: Ahhhh, what's in it for the geek is the geek that's never seen the movie, basically. I mean, we toured in, I don't know, 30 some odd cities, but I still get the feeling that there's massive amounts of people who have not seen the movie. The reason why they should see this is 'cause you're not gonna see this on an airplane. It's not the standard fare. You may or may not like it, but it's not made... I'll put it his way: it's not targeted to a 17-24 year old demographic. There's no hip soundtrack. There's a thing called a score. There's no Taco Bell tie ins.
The reason you should see this movie is 'cause MGM may be distributing it, but this is 100% Independent movie. Everyone loves the "I" word now. "My movie's Independent!!!" Not if it's (cough-cough) a Fortune 500 company (cough-cough)... I got news for ya'! This is from the independent pockets of Don Coscarelli. If you like independent movies, this is the ultimate independent movie. And it was distributed kinda by him as well, with the help of Vitagraph.
So, normally your readers are rebel rousers and trouble makers, so why wouldn't they want to watch BUBBA HO-TEP? Because BUBBA HO-TEP is sorta thumbing its nose at Hollywood, really. If you support the counter-culture you'll rent that DVD... through a multi-national corporation.
You know, it's kinda funny, before BUBBA HO-TEP could not find any distributor and so, it's kind of like getting a bank loan. In order to get a bank loan you have to prove to the bank that you don't need the loan by showing them how rich you are in all these other areas... and your wonderful credit. In this case in order to get a distributor you just need to prove to them that you don't need them.
So, with MGM, we didn't technically have to have a distributor... I suppose Don could have figured out someway of doing it himself. He self-distributed through theaters and I think he proved that he could do some numbers. Then MGM went, "Heyyyyy! We like this! Free advertising." So, I give them credit for being smart enough to buy it. They're also, thankfully, enthusiastic about it. It's not like they're going, "OooKKKaaayyy, we'll take it off your hands..." I think Don Coscarelli... one of his deals is you gotta want to do this because we want to treat this right.
The DVD has the usual bells and whistles, so it's not comin' out just as a straight movie.
QUINT: Yeah, with just the title and the trailer or something.
BRUCE CAMPBELL: Yeah, it's got the stuff. It has very special commentary done by special arrangement...
QUINT: Do you feel honored to have that particular person praise your work?
BRUCE CAMPBELL: Yeah. Honestly, I can't believe we got him.
QUINT: I've been grilling Don on how he tracked that guy down, but...
BRUCE CAMPBELL: Yep, well I have no idea and I couldn't comment on it if I did.
QUINT: Don told me he swore a blood oath...
BRUCE CAMPBELL: It's not only that, it's a contract. It's a legal deal.
QUINT: I've wanted to mention... I've seen you pop up in the last 2 Coen Brothers flicks...
BRUCE CAMPBELL: Sure.
QUINT: Is there any chance of a more prominent role in the next one?
BRUCE CAMPBELL: (laughs) You know what? I don't know. I know not to lobby the Coen Brothers because they won't listen to anybody, so there no point in saying, "Give me a bigger part!" They will when they feel like it, like with HUDSUCKER. Because in their mind it all has to work perfectly and if you fit in perfectly with their thing, then they'll cast you. They're pretty serious about what they do and it has to make sense to them. So, whenever that day comes I'll be around, but it doesn't matter to me if it's a cameo or whatever.
QUINT: It's been really fun watching the flicks and hearing the 4 or 5 people outside of my group go (whisper-whisper-whisper) when you pop up on screen.
BRUCE CAMPBELL: Hahahahaha.
QUINT: Especially in LADYKILLERS where if you don't know who Bruce Campbell is...
BRUCE CAMPBELL: Yeah, I'm just some guy over at craft service.
QUINT: Yeah, watching the dog asphyxiate...
BRUCE CAMPBELL: Yeah, while the dog is dying. Perfect Coen Brothers... I love the credit, though. I don't know if it's credited in the finished movie, but in the script he was referred to as the "Humane Fucker."
QUINT: "The Humane Fucker?" (laughs)
BRUCE CAMPBELL: Yeah! Like, "Don't tell the humane fucker!" That's what they were really concerned about. Hey, how's LADYKILLERS doing? Is it making any money?
QUINT: Ahhhh, it's doin' better than I would have expected an R-rated Coen Brothers movie to do, but in terms of a Tom Hanks comedy, it's not doing all that... But I thought it was great. I loved it.
BRUCE CAMPBELL: Well, there are a lot of people who say it's swell, but I haven't seen it yet.
QUINT: So, I would be remiss to not bring up all this FREDDY VS JASON VS ASH stuff...
BRUCE CAMPBELL: Hey, you know what? I'm just not sure... We'll have to see if the math works. That's the first hurdle.
QUINT: I have some sources in New Line that say there are people determined to push this thing through...
BRUCE CAMPBELL: I think that's optimistic.
QUINT: I also have something I want to run by you... I don't know if this is something you can comment upon or have even heard about yet, but I'm told that Sam Raimi may be signing to direct a big budget Ash film at New Line... to so sometime after SPIDER-MAN 3 and FREDDY VS. JASON VS. ASH.
BRUCE CAMPBELL: You know what? I think it's guys just getting all geeked up. I think there are various things that are being talked about, but it's just not something that I think has gone that far. You know, I think there are various topics that people ARE talking about, but I think to the extent that they think these are solidified are overstating it.
It really is, from Sam's point of view, is what do you want to do with that series and/or character. The issue is whether he cares enough to get involved, whether he cares enough to defend it from making it these other things. He has to define, really, what his interest for the series is, and then everyone else will pretty much follow. He's been kinda busy these last couple of years, so I think it's not a huge priority right now.
I think there are certain execs at New Line and others who are, of course, very excited and rightfully so... I'd hate to just spew bologna when it's just bologna... I think it is real in New Line's mind that it is a viable project and everyone knows it's a viable project. The thing is that making time and figuring out what... um...
Like, let's say you made Ash out of the bounds of the EVIL DEAD series. We do have rights issues that we have to clarify because we've got certain rights owners that are involved in the first EVIL DEAD and then there are other rights owners for the other EVIL DEAD. So, what if you have the character that's got the chainsaw on his arm? Well, he's from EVIL DEAD 2... You know what I mean? And he's spouting bullshit of this and that from these other movies and I don't know. It's a real landmine.
That's why some of these movies get delayed forever. They're legal landmines because it starts to cause every rights owner to go, "Well wait a minute! What do I control?" So, it's awakening the sleeping giants. You know what I mean? Now you have to think about stuff that you never have to think about and you have to start paying attention and that's what eats up the time.
And then the other thing is... OK, so you wade into the sequels... Or let's just say you took the Ash character and made him fight other creatures. Those are other possibilities, too. So, it's not like there's only one thing being discussed. There's just sort of a review of what's possible and New Line is partially involved in having serious discussions, but it all has to be serious with Sam first.
None of us are going to make it against his desires. If he feels the series should die at 3, fine! We all walk away. No big deal. I have no problem not-diluting the series. Three is fine with me because you ask people what is the plot of FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 6? No one can tell you. "Oh, that's the one where he got his face ground off with a boat... Or was that PART 4?" Everyone starts to get them confused. They just become sequences instead of individual movies.
So, I don't know. I mean, no one's gonna weep if there isn't... I mean, look! We've got these EVIL DEAD games coming out left and right. The new one's coming out next year, next Spring. I did the voice for it for Cranky Pants.
QUINT: Well, you know that no matter what happens with this potential rebirth of Ash into the cinema... The fact that it's even being talked about you're not going to be hearing the end of this.
BRUCE CAMPBELL: Oh yeah. It's fine. It's fine for people to chat, but the readers should be aware of the complexities. It really is not as simple as... Really, if I picked up the phone today and called New Line and said, "Boy, I wanna make this movie!" And if Sam called them up and wanted to make the same phone call, if we all made that same phone call today, it would certainly get the legal things going forward, but it doesn't mean they would go, "OK, great!"
A, is rights issues and B, you're now sharing with two other franchises. So, everyone's whipping out their penis going, "Well, my franchise did this and mine did this and mine did this." You know what I mean? I think Ash is a good mixture to nothing but bad guys. Why would you have bad guys fighting bad guys? Who gives a shit? I mean, why not have a good guy fighting both bad guys?
I'm fine with that and I think most of the viewers would be fine with that, but the reason why some things don't happen is because of all these other factors. And sometimes they just get bogged down into molasses death for a year because people are just slowly looking at paperwork. Filmmakers who are busy, like Sam, they're not going to wade through some old deal that was made 15 years ago. That's just impractical.
That's the truth. That's the real story of it all. I'm not even trying to hide anything. There really is nothing to hide because it's all in the formative stages and I wouldn't want to give people false hope or dash their hopes, you know what I mean? Wouldn't want to do either one, so the torment will just continue.