We at io9 are longtime fans of Bruce Campbell, so we were jazzed (and honestly quite starstruck) when we got an opportunity to sit down with him at San Diego Comic-Con to chat.
Campbell has worn lots of hats in the film industry, with credits that span acting, producing, directing, hosting, and even recording sound effects. He also hates an equal number of things in the film industry: money in Hollywood, heavy costumes, excessive green screening—and superheroes, apparently. (He may be the only executive producer I’ve ever met who seems to resent a large budget.)
During our time with the horror-staple, we discussed his new venture for the Travel Channel, a revival of Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!—along with a bunch of other topics, including Evil Dead, the pitfalls of filmmaking, and why Batman v Superman was a terrible, no-good, very bad idea.
Above is the first in a series of videos with Campbell that are definitely worth watching, if for no other reason than to witness the chin in all its glory. Below is a transcript of the first portion of our chat for those who prefer reading to chins.
io9: You made Evil Dead nearly 40 years ago. What’s the biggest change in filmmaking and horror that you’ve seen since [then?]
Bruce Campbell: Mostly filmmaking, in general, is the technical side. If you don’t have any money to make a movie now it doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t matter. I can shoot an entire movie right here. No light. Not even those lights. You know so but the trick now is you still have to tell a story. Because it’s easier now. I tell people if you live in Buttcrack, Kansas, tell those stories! Tell a cool story from there! You don’t have to go to Hollywood. Get your camera from, you know, Kmart. We didn’t leave Detroit, Michigan until we made three different movies. Stay where you are.
io9: You aren’t a huge fan of interacting with tennis balls on a green screen. And you’re not a huge fan of like super heavy costumes.
Campbell: Who would be? I was just telling somebody—actors, like, “Oh, man, I wish I could be in one of those superhero movies. Man, I’d love to be Mysterio.” Let’s say Mysterio. OK. Congratulations. You’re Mysterio. Here’s your costume and you and you can’t even take a leak in this costume. But we’ve got a team for that. Don’t worry. But we’ve got tubes, things like that. So we’re going to be in this really uncomfortable outfit and you’re not really going to be anywhere. You’re in the king’s castle? Oh yeah, you’re on that chair, painted green in front of a green screen, and a guy right here, and you’re looking at that castle exploding.
Oh no. Oh no. Tennis ball on a stick. That’s what you’re looking at.
io9: So you have some sympathy for [Game of Thrones’] Emilia Clark, right?
Campbell: I do, 100 percent. Because here’s the difference: the first Evil Dead movie, if I had to shoot out a window with a shotgun, we took your shotgun, and we shot the window out with a shotgun shell.
Like, pointing out the window, camera guy’s name was Tim. Like, “Tim, where are you? Wave your arm.”
And I’m like, “Don’t stand there, Don’t stand there. Because we’re going to blow the window out.” Years later, we do Ash vs. Evil Dead, brand new show. There wasn’t a single—it was all a flash. That was a digital flash, was a digital interactive light on my face and they would put in a big sound effect. So it became from viscerally real to completely fake.
And I’m not sure—obviously, it’s very unsafe to do what we did. And on the other hand, it’s not as real. You have to really use your imagination of what the end thing is going to look like with the shotgun. But it’s safe. No one’s getting hurt, because I can now morph into a monster and fly it you in one nanosecond where the point where my eye optics can’t even adjust to that now. You know, effects should be used to tell a story. Because—here’s what it is: the Evil Dead movies are about unsuspecting people with no special powers and things happened to them. So it’s survival by normal people.
So that’s all you need. To a character Ash from Evil Dead, he can be killed at any time. Car crash. He’s dead.
But these guys who have this special superhero power, to me that’s Snoresville. If you don’t have kryptonite, then—Batman v Superman. Stupid, stupid, stupid concept. Never should’ve been made. Superman who can like, make the world go backwards with centrifugal force.
Batman can’t do that. Superman can frickin’ fly. He’s the man of steel. All he has—one hand on Batman’s esophagus, the story is over. So they spent a lot of money kidding themselves.
Stop rinsing these superheroes! By the time we get through, they’re all going to have the same color hair, they’re all going to do the same stuff. What’s unusual about them?
“Okay, Scarlett Johansson. Here’s your mark on the floor. We already filmed all the other people. We already put them here. So you have to be here because that’s where your places on storyboard two eighty-six dash nine that we’re shooting you in Iceland in the Saturday afternoon.”
I’m good. I’m going back to low budget movies for the SyFy channel.
More of io9's talk with Bruce Campbell to come. Stay tuned!
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