It’s been roughly 23 years since I stood outside the box office of an old movie theater in my childhood town asking adults to buy my friend and I tickets to get in to see Army of Darkness. I was halfway through my teen years then and the news that an Evil Dead series has been picked up by Starz gets me as giddy as I was the moment when I acquired those tickets all those years ago. Ten half hour episodes of Ash vs. Evil Dead are planned to air on the channel sometime late next year. Bruce Campbell sat down with Entertainment Weekly to hash out some of the details of what we should expect from the highly buzzed about series. Here are some highlights from EW:
We realized if we made another movie, frankly, it would probably be too expensive. But in the format of a TV show, we could give people exactly what they wanted and expand the character and the story even more. Ash would probably have more dialogue in one season than in three movies. He’ll have to become a more fleshed-out character as well. And we never burned Evil Dead as a franchise out—it’s not like we did 13 of these movies. So we felt like, what the heck, let’s give it a try. Walking Dead is Walking Dead, but we were kind of first. And I would say it’s about as big of a counterpart to Walking Dead as you could program, because Walking Dead is unrelentingly grim and hugely popular. We’re going to give people a little of the old fashioned splatstick—horror and comedy.
Given the span of time since the character last graced the screen, Campbell gives a hint at what to expect from from Ash in this go-round:
He continues being a trash-talking know-it-all who doesn’t really know anything. He’s the ultimate anti-hero. He’s a guy with no appreciable skills. He’s not a former Navy SEAL, he’s not a former CIA or FBI. He’s no special anything. He’s just a guy from S-Mart, you know? And think that’s part of what people relate too. All these super hero movies—I rather relate to a garage mechanic who gets into a sticky situation. That’s what I look forward to playing—a guy with horrible flaws. In Army of Darkness he can’t memorize three words and he’s responsible for the deaths of a 100 people—this is your lead character!
He went on to give the main component that cemented the project for him and it’s really all about Sam Raimi:
Mostly we had to get Sam. That was the bottom line. I wouldn’t take it seriously if they didn’t get Sam, and neither would the fans. So we’re on the right road. And any other incoming directors would be apprenticing under his style and method. Like Fargo the TV show—there are rules about how you shoot that show, about how it’s supposed to look. So in our case, once they learn the system, the Evil Dead way, we can really have a blast with it.
His conversation with EW ended with Campbell expressing his excitement for the creative freedom involved on the new Evil Dead story we will see play out on Starz next year:
The first Evil Dead, there was no director’s cut—there was only the director’s cut. Army of the Darkness was the only movie the got re-edited because it was a classic studio scenario. So we were very determined, if we’re going to go down this road again, that we’re going to be in the driver’s seat so we can give fans exactly what they want. Once you get too many chefs, it starts to taste different. We want it to taste exactly like theEvil Dead movies, and I think with the setup with Starz we can do exactly that. We also don’t have to cut to a stupid Dodge commercial. The writers don’t have to create a false cliffhangers [after every act break] because we’re not going to a commercial.
We get to be as creative as we want on the page as well. I was really was not sure this was ever going to happen. When Starz pulled the trigger I was like, “Hot damn! It actually happened!” After all these years of all the baloney, of sequel/remake/re-imagining…it’s finally back. It’s not going to be the same Ash, but it will be the same Ash. That’s the bottom line. I don’t know what possessed us to ultimately do it other than we think we can bring something to the table. Because the last Army of Darkness—I’ve been married as long as it’s been since we did the last movie. We feel we now have 23 more years of experience to hopefully provide an entertaining half hour of outrageousness.
Hot damn is right! We have roughly a year until Ashley James Williams makes his triumphant return. Until then, let’s all try to keep the use of Evil Dead quotes to a minimum. Groovy? Oh, hell nevermind!
(Via: Entertainment Weekly)