Life’s been busy for television and movie actor Bruce Campbell. The cult hero, best known for his character Ash in the Evil Dead / Army of Darkness movies, has a new show called Jack Of All Trades. He plays Jack, a swashbuckling secret agent during our Revolutionary War era, teamed up with a beautiful Tory, Emilia (Angela Dotchin). Before becoming Jack, Bruce Campbell had a recurring cameo on Hercules and Xena: Warrior Princess as the king of thieves Autolycus and the title character on the fan favorite The Adventures of Brisco Country, Jr.
As well as returning to television, Bruce is also working on a few films. Fanalysis is a light-hearted, 20-minute documentary about what makes a fan tick. (uh oh) Editing is complete and it should be available early next year. He is also starring in Icebreaker, opposite Sean Astin, an independent action thriller. As if that weren’t enough movie news, Bruce is also a consultant on Hatred of a Minute, a psychedelic, gothic thriller based on an Edgar Allen Poe poem.
Bruce is taking his unmistakable wisecracking voice to another entertainment field video games. He supplied over 800 lines of dialogue as Jake Logan in space flight simulator Tachyon: The Fringe released by NovaLogic.
And most likely the closest thing we’ll get to another Evil Dead movie, Bruce returns as Ash in Evil Dead: Hail to the King (originally titled: “Ashes to Ashes”). This video game is being developed by THQ the company that brought us the dark and beautiful RPG Parasite Eve. In Hail to the King, Ash returns to the house in the woods and is again trapped by evil. He has to use problem-solving, wit, and of course, a double-barreled shotgun and a chainsaw-arm to survive. Mindless shoot em-up games like Duke Nukem have ripped off Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi’s dialogue for years, but now you can go get the real deal! (Out on Halloween 2000)
And speaking of Evil Dead, Bruce Campbell’s Ash is also being honored with his own McFarlane toy!
Meanwhile, Bruce’s own website bruce-campbell.com is updated very often, with new stories, anecdotes, rants, and advice for aspiring actors. The site is PACKED with resources and news, including galleries (where do ya think all these pics came from?), filmography, bio, episode guides to Hercules, Xena, and Brisco County, rumor-squashings, a sociology paper on Evil Dead, and a list of online places to buy all your Bruce Campbell movies and doodads. (your online S-Mart!) It’s difficult for a fan to make a Bruce Campbell site because everything you ever wanted to know is right on the official one!
Now, this raises an important question. If he stars in a tv show, works on three movies at once, continuously updates his website, and uses his voice and looks for video games and toys, when does he have time to write a book?? Confessions of a B-Movie Actor hits bookstores in the fall.
Although he has all these projects going on, Bruce Campbell graciously agreed to a short interview. He’s just as you’d expect him to be Friendly, good-humored, down-to-earth, and cocky as hell.
Hail to the king.
How did you get approached to do Jack Of All Trades? Or was it always a collaboration between you and Sam Raimi? How did the idea come about to set this special agent comedy in the colonial era? Has anyone yet made the comparison that Jack in his special agent costume sort of resembles Dennis Moore from that Monty Python sketch? (“Dennis Moore, Dennis Moore, bum bum bum the night”)
Boy, you’re an expert of the question within a question. The show had been around in various forms for a couple years at Renaissance Pictures. I had actually been in and out of the deal twice for personal reasons. Eventually, the 1/2 hour format came along and I jumped on board. I got involved because of the tone of the show (just a comedy), the writers and the reduced workload.
Tell us about your upcoming book. Its purpose is to de-myth Hollywood. Will the book contain some of your anecdotes and rants that are featured on bruce-campbell.com, or is it more of a behind-the-scenes type of book? Or autobiographical?
More than anything, the book is about the wacky world of independent filmmaking. It’s also an insiders view of Hollywood’s forgotten middle class – all with a dash of humor.
The rumor mills are always churning stories about an Evil Dead 3 / Army of Darkness 2. You’ve said that it won’t happen because of lack of funds. If the money was there, would you be interested in reprising the Ash role? Or does it bother you when some people pigeon-hole you as just Ash, and you’d rather move away from that?
To be honest, I keep questions like this by my bedside at night and read them when I’m having trouble sleeping. I’m just gonna let that one sit and let the film gods do what they will.
Although another Evil Dead sequel is unlikely, a video game based on the movie is coming out soon, on which you do voiceovers. Can you tell us about how this came together, and when it will be out?
THQ finally decided to pursue it and we thought it was a good idea. The game will be the closest thing folks are gonna get to another ED film. It’s due out Halloween 2000.
How did you first become interested in acting?
I saw my father in a local play when I was 8 and I thought it was cool that, as an actor, you could continue to screw around – even as an adult.
Were you surprised by the cult following you’ve achieved since Evil Dead? I know you don’t consider yourself a “star,” does it bother you when people elevate you above themselves?
The cult following is fine. I was a little surprised, yeah, but ultimately, a lot of enthusiasm went into making the films and it seems to have led to an enthusiastic following.
What are some of your hobbies and interests?
Umm, my girlfriend wants to know if you and Billy Campbell are related, and if so, is that why you did Menno’s Mind together? (Feel free to shake your head and roll your eyes)
We are not related. Consider my eyes rolled…=)
Each issue of READ has two poll questions I ask all my interviewees. There are: a) Is artificial intelligence a viable reality? b) Sharks vs. dinosaurs who would win?
a) AI will be as real as the programmers make it…
b) Dinosaurs any day.
Check local listings and watch Jack of All Trades, Xena, and Hercules every week. Then catch all the reruns of Brisco County. And rent his movies. Then go see all of his new movies. And buy his book. And his toy. And his two video games. And finally, check out his website at bruce-campbell.com.