‘Evil Dead’ Star Bruce Campbell Reveals He Wanted to Quit ‘Ash vs. Evil Dead’ in Episode 2
Evil Dead fans may have thought they’d never see Ash Williams fight deadites again. After 1993’s Army of Darkness, there wasn’t another film until 2013. That was the Evil Dead remake starring Jane Levy. Two years later, Bruce Campbell returned to his iconic horror role as Ash in the Starz series Ash vs Evil Dead. It ran for three seasons, but Campbell was ready for it to end by episode 2.
Campbell was a guest on Michael Rosenbaum’s Inside of You podcast on Nov. 3. Campbell said he feels burned out by television, and it happened on Ash vs Evil Dead.
Bruce Campbell got too old for television by ‘Ash vs Evil Dead’
Campbell starred on the short-lived TV series The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. and Jack of All Trades in the ’90s and 2000, plus a recurring role on Hercules and Xena. Burn Notice started in 2007. By 2015, Ash Vs. Evil Dead was too much for Campbell.
“Television was exciting and new back in the day,” Campbell told Rosenbaum. “I’m sure there’s still great stuff but the TV grind, the last TV series I did, Ash vs Evil Dead, I was like okay, I think I need to quit, I think I need to quit. I need to go suck my thumb on a mountaintop somewhere because I just burned myself out at too late of an age. I was like, ‘I can do a show. F*ck you, I’ve still got a TV show in me.’ We ground out three seasons and I left a piece of my soul there.”
The ‘Ash vs Evil Dead’ grind set in pretty soon
Campbell was dutiful for three seasons of Ash vs Evil Dead. He showed up to work and the promotional rounds. Now, he can admit he felt burnt out early in the first season.
“About the second episode,” Campbell said. “The first one was the pilot directed by Sam Raimi. We didn’t really realize it, he had sucked all the air out of the room. He had sucked days from the upcoming directors in order to get enough days to shoot his version of a workable pilot. He had pirated days from all the other directors. Then when Sam left, we were hit with a massive dose of reality. Oh, we have to make this way faster than the pilot.”
Bruce Campbell had help
Campbell acknowledged that filming the Ash vs Evil Dead pilot was more like a Sam Raimi movie.
“It’s Sam Raimi,” Campbell said. “I think it was 20 some odd days with tons of second unit. I think the average episode to shoot a half hour show, five, six days.”
Nevertheless, Campbell adapted to the pace of Ash vs Evil Dead sans Raimi. The addition of characters like Ruby (Lucy Lawless), Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo) and Pablo (Ray Santiago) helped share the load. Later seasons added Ash’s father (Lee Majors) and long lost daughter (Arielle Carver O’Neill)
“I was ready for it,” Campbell said. “We’ve expanded the universe. We gave him a daughter and introduced him back home, gave him a father. So you see his family. I was all for that. Most directors are not Sam Raimi. He would say no to the job. It’s classic television. It’s a skill. It is a skill to manage actors and material and sometimes effects and stunts and get that sucker done in, hour television used to be six, seven days.”