Bruce Campbell Explains The Evolution Of Ash Williams

Ash Williams pondering what he's got himself into on the upcoming season 3 of Ash VS Evil Dead.
Ash Williams pondering what he's got himself into on the upcoming season 3 of Ash VS Evil Dead. STARZ

We’re closing in on the groovy return of ASH VS EVIL DEAD to STARZ for its 3 rd season. And the character of Ash Williams has truly grown and morphed over the past 30 years, and now a new layer is being added. Ash learns that he has a daughter, and the power of fatherhood fuels our hero. If you’re Evil, don’t even think about coming after Ash’s offspring.

Player.One got to sit down with actor, director, and author Bruce Campbell at New York Comic Con 2017 and learned a bit about the journey of Ash and what to expect from this new season. According to the show’s star, this season promises to be bigger and badder than its predecessors. First and foremost, Bruce has always wanted to make good on his promises of how great the show has been.

“This season is a game changer though. This is better than the other two seasons. It's the strongest season. Because, it'll blow your head off, episodes 9 & 10. Story wise, and they’re just huge. Fucking epic! There’s like tanks and shit. It’s going down,” he said.

Seemingly, the size of the first season and every episode would just get larger and larger. Bruce agrees they are still playing that game, but what drives this need to see how far they can go and how big they can make things?

“It grows into it. The writers write their stuff and then we figure out how to do it, and some stuff you can’t do. It's too big. This season, I think we were saving money, there will be a few episodes that aren’t over the top because 9 and 10 are. Ya gotta kind of squeeze your budget out,” he explained, as he also acts as producer on the show. “Every television show, the middle part of the show will calm down and get little smaller. Ya start big and then you do the other types of episodes, and then you end big. That’s our plan.”

It’s been more than 30 years since the character of Ash Williams was unfortunate enough to come face-to-cover with the Book of the Dead, thus cementing his legacy as a B-movie legend. Over time, Ash from the Evil Dead film franchise has sort of morphed into more of a characterization of himself. Sometimes his ego gets in the way, he can be a womanizer with a childlike approach to things.

“You’re accurate in all those assessments,” said Campbell. But is this a characteristic built in the show itself, or has it been carried over through the films? “Ash has sort of morphed into what he is now. First Evil Dead he's like any other character in the movie, and they had another character Scotty, who was the confident one. He’s like ‘Gimme the flashlight, I’ll go!’ And the idea if you kill that guy, and then you go ‘fuck, we're left with milquetoast over here.’ By the end of it, Ash earns his stripes.”

Campbell went onto to explain that by Evil Dead 2 Ash is more like a combat veteran who knows what to do and what not to do. And by Army of Darkness he is “a full blown trash talking ugly American.” He said his characterization of Ash is focused solely on making director Sam Raimi enjoy the show.

“When I work with Sam, I only try and entertain him. I don't give a shit about what audiences are going to think. I’m only watching him at the monitor. Is he laughing? If he's laughing even with a gore scene or if Sam laughs after he calls cut, you know that he’s good to go,” he said.

When an actor plays a character for more than three decades, a certain amount of freedom develops when it comes to the portrayal. Lots of freedom, in fact. “I come up in the morning and I take my iPad and I give it to my script supervisor and I say ‘here, those are the changes for today,” he said.

Campbell enjoys this freedom, and makes it clear to his writers that while he respects their input their work ends where his begins. If he feels that something isn’t working he’s going to say so.

“I’ve warned the writers point blank, if you guys don’t write good stuff, don’t be surprised what you see in dailies. It’s serious! This is my character, either get on board or get out of the way,” he said.

It’s been a long time since Bruce last picked up his chainsaw hand, though. Has the relationship to the character remained as part of his essence as an actor?

“It’s a very familiar character to play. I’ve really enjoyed being able to, because the last time I played him was 25 years ago and I’ve got a lot more experience now, so I want to bring my new skills to an old character,” he said. “I’m George Lucas, I want to go back and fix Ash. Why not? Why wouldn’t you want to? We’ve learned some new tricks.”

In this new season, we will see the character of Ash’s journey continue to grow as he takes on a new role as a father with a new addition to the cast, his daughter Bethany. With Bruce being a father himself with a daughter at home, he guarantees there will be more emotion and poignant moments for Ash than ever before.

“I have a daughter and I had to do scenes that were very difficult to get through, emotional. Just because it was so easy to conjure up. She ( Arielle Carver-O’Neill ) looks a little bit like my daughter. So there's some weird shit we had this season,” he said. “Thinking that you’re just going to do the scene, say the words. But when you start to do it, when you do a take you take it for real, you act like it's real. That’s what we do. That’s our job.”

Bruce is ready, and fans are ready to come get some of Ash vs Evil Dead season 3 on the STARZ network. This season looks to be literally explosive, as the cast adds some welcomed newbies that will take evil to school. Ash’s 30-year journey continues and we’ll learn to never get between a papa bear and his cub. But what will that mean for Ruby, who has returned in full-on bitch mode?

Sunday, February 25 th at 9pm is when class returns to session and Ash returns to do what he does best, killing Deadites! If you can’t wait that long to get more Bruce in your life, be sure to pick up a copy of his bestselling new book, Hail to the Chin: Further Confessions of a B-Movie Actor.

So who’s excited for season 3 and ready for endless blood and gore? Will Ash and the gang finally defeat Evil once and for all? Is Ash a good dad? Let us know your thoughts and dreams in the comments section below. Hail to the King, baby!

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