Bruce Campbell is an icon of the B movie industry, and a film hero to many a geek. His role as Ash in the famous (infamous?) Evil Dead trilogy and his more recent performance as Elvis in the dark comedy Bubba Ho-Tep have cemented his place as the King (Elvis pun totally intended) of the B movie cult. Easily the coolest thing that has happened to me so far as a result of being a movie journalist has been the opportunity to land an interview with Bruce himself, to discuss two upcoming projects: Lucky McKee's The Woods and They Call Me Bruce, a joint venture between Bruce and Dark Horse. Bruce was a very good sport; friendly and willing to go out of his way to accommodate me in the midst of his currently very busy schedule. So with no further ado, allow me to present every fanboy's dream - Cinematical's Mark Beall Interviews Bruce Campbell.
Mark: The internet has increasingly become a vehicle for self-starters in the movie industry. Ambitious filmmakers
such as the young team behind Finnish wonderflick Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning (now the third most viewed film in Fin
history) have pulled off some impressive feats without having to go through a major studio for distribution. Being a
self-starter yourself, how do you feel about the impact recent technology has had on the "independent"
Bruce Campbell: I don't see a revolution yet, because technology isn't quite there for a filmmaker to tour the country with a DVD in his or her pocket. We're getting there, and I think it's beautiful. Once the playing field is level, film can be more diverse, and filmmakers can stay where they grew up, which can be a plus, because movies have become too homogeneous.
Mark: As a result of your successful career, you've managed to earn the title "the king of B-movies." You obviously don't shy away from that distinction, and you closed your recent novel "Make Love the Bruce Campbell Way" by intoning that B-movies have "already won," the A-film people just aren't aware of it yet- citing megahits such as Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Pirates of the Caribbean. That's a very interesting and somewhat provocative stance, and I'd like to hear you expound on it a bit. Was it just a clever stinger to close a novel, or is this a theory you've spent some time on?
BC: I just think it's true. A lot of cool "A" movies are directly based on ideas that had been carried
out successfully, and on lower budgets, for years. Star Wars and Indiana Jones are based on
"serials," a series of movies that followed a character (whether he was Buck Rogers of Roy Rogers) through
numerous adventures. Bear in mind, these were not the big Hollywood movies - these were the cheapos. I just think that
although B movies have a stigma (B as in bad), it's pretty funny to watch the snobby "A" movies ripping off
the B ideas and styles these days.
Mark: Among your most recent projects is Lucky McKee's upcoming film The Woods, in which you play the part of Joe Fasulo, a "semi-nerd father of the lead girl." Lucky's independent project May was a fantastically unsettling pseudo-Frankenstein tale, and it rightfully gained him a fair amount of attention. As a man who is familiar with the genre and who has the opportunity to work with Lucky, what are your thoughts on his abilities as a filmmaker and storyteller?
BC: Lucky has a great, odd take on the world and it's very refreshing. He can be hard to predict, but it keeps an actor on his toes and I look forward to finally seeing this damned movie!
Mark: Following up on the previous question, what can you tell anxious fans to expect from The Woods?
BC: I haven't seen it yet, so I can't really tell you. From what I saw doing voice work, it looks cool and very creepy. I am as anxious as anyone.
Mark: The official web page for The Woods has your name among the three headliners, but the plot obviously revolves around an all-girls school. How much Bruce can fans expect see in this movie?
BC: I'm around, but it's a supporting role. Look for Agnes Bruckner to carry the load. FYI, I get to play my age, so don't be looking for backflips.
Mark: Another project you are involved with is They Call Me Bruce, a self-aware film in which you play yourself, kidnapped off the set of a B movie fight demons in a small town. The film is being produced by the newly formed Dark Horse Indie- how did this collaboration come about? Although after watching your "evolution of" featurette on the Screaming Brain DVD and hearing the convoluted two decade history of that film, I'm almost afraid to ask...
BC: This one has an easy answer. I had worked with Mike Richardson recently at Dark Horse, and had always liked how he did business, so he approached me with this idea, and I liked it, and we kicked it around with Mark Verheiden, and he's now writing it into a screenplay. As far as movies go, this one only took about a year to put together, which is nothing, so it's all good.
Mark: According to the blurb on your website, you'll be pulling off the trifecta (acting, directing, and producing) for They Call Me Bruce. How challenging is it to be involved in so many levels of a project?
BC: I did it last year on Screaming Brain, and had done it on Hercules episodes years before, so that part isn't impossible, but it definitely becomes a time-management thing, and can be a brain drain. Aside from that, it's fun to be more puppeteer than puppet.
Mark: Aside from yourself, have any casting decisions been discussed for They Call Me Bruce?
BC: I know that some stalwarts of my past will be in it - from Ted Raimi to Danny Hicks to other Evil Dead cast members, but there will be plenty of local Oregon actors used as we get to shoot near my home town.
Mark: The Woods is being handled by United Artists, and it has the mighty hand of MGM distribution behind it; what are the distribution plans/goals for They Call Me Bruce?
BC: Hey, a studio is no guarantee of anything - The Woods has been held up by one thing for another for 2 years. We'll shop They Call me Bruce when it's done, just like all my other stuff. That's the cool thing about doing indie stuff - you never know what's going to happen.
Mark: Finally, I'd just like to ask you about the future of Bruce Campbell- are there any interesting projects on the horizon beyond the ones we've just discussed?
BC: I'll be touring for a month in September for the trade paperback release of Make Love the Bruce Campbell
Way. Stay tuned for all the gory details here: Bruce Campbell