Army of Darkness first rolled into theaters in 1992, and in all the years since, fans have been clamoring for more Ashly Williams and more Deadites. In late 2015 they finally got what they wanted, with the first season of Ash vs Evil Dead. And at San Diego Comic Con 2016, I was able to take part of the press round table with the cast and crew of Ash vs Evil Dead as they were promoting season 2 of the show, which premieres on STARZ, this Sunday, October 2, check your local listings for time.
The first visitor to my table was the man himself, Bruce Campbell. The first question was how season two would go beyond the world shown in season one. Campbell said that Ash has to go home as the Evil Dead go after his family. He said this is how we are introduced to Ash’s dad Brock Williams, played by Lee Majors, The Six Million Dollar Dad, and Ash’s high school pal Chet, played by Ted Raimi. Campbell said, “Ted plays an idiot, like he’s so good at. I always use Ted, that way my acting looks subtle.”
I was able to get a question in and asked Campbell about his portrayal of Evil Ash in season one, and how it was much darker than any prior incarnation of Evil Ash. Campbell said, “Darkness has many shades.” I continued by agreeing with him, but said that this was just evil with no humor behind it. Campbell said, “No, in the show we do have to treat the horror seriously. Cause weird shit is going to happen, before long it will all go crazy on you. With the horror we have to treat it as real, cause otherwise it’s just camp. Then you get a whole different show. That’s the fine line we’ve always rode, the horror’s real, but there is comedy too.
Another writer asked whether Ash will ever find happiness? Campbell said, “Why does he have to? He’s god’s tormented character. At the beginning of the first episode we see him as happy as he’s going to get. Ash is the chose one. He is foretold in the Book of the Dead. There’s more to Ash then meets the eye. His job is to save the world.”
The last question asked was whether more of episodes of the show would come before possibly doing another movie? Campbell said, “One feeds the other. The movies were dead. Now that the tv show comes back the movies come back to life. It’s just funny how that works.”
Next to our table were Lucy Lawless, who plays Ruby in the series, and Rob Tapert, Executive Producer on the show. First off Tapert was asked about more movies. Tapert said, “Our focus is on doing more seasons of the show.” He added further, “Is there a movie out there we are thinking about that would continue on, that would merge everything? There’s certainly those thoughts starting to percolate.”
Lawless was asked about how her character essentially opening Pandora’s Box upon to world affect her role with Ash and the gang in season two? Lawless said, “Things get away from her. She forced Pablo to birth these demon spawn, and it all goes to shit. She finagles her way into Ash’s crew.”
I asked Lawless about having played so many quintessential female lead characters before, where does Ruby fit as a strong female lead? Lawless said, “Oh, that’s a good question. She’s, in a way, nastier, she chooses to be nasty. Lucretia, (Author’s Note: Her character in Spartacus: War of the Damned) she was a bad person, but she was really left with no options. In the world she lived in I could justify. Whereas Ruby is just as mean as a snake. You’ll get to see her softening, and then you’ll get to see pay back for that.”
Another writer asked for the biggest surprise from the first season. Lawless talked about season two, saying, “It is so massive, so high octane, the cuts are really fast. We’re shooting more footage than we ever did on Spartacus, but it’s crunched down to just a half an hour to get that pace.”
I asked Lawless how much fun was it working with Bruce again. She said, “Wonderful. He’s kind of like my rotten, handsome cousin you have when you are a kid. He was kind of my mentor, in terms of how to behave as a star starting out because Rob paired me up with him.” She said further, “It was to teach me not to be a pain in the ass.”
I asked about adding Lee Majors to the show. Lawless said, “His character really explains Ash. He makes Ask look like a gentleman, like triumph of nature over nurture because Brock is a pig. And they’re highly competitive for the ladies. At which the father wins.”
When asked about the theme for season two, Tapert simply replied, “Going home.”
Next to the table was Lee Majors, a man who I grew up watching as a kid with my father, so it was a real honor to get the chance to talk him. I said to him that his playing of Ash’s father seemed like the perfect fit. Major’s said, “Oh yeah. The chemistry is very good. I think Bruce is a very underrated actor, he’s really pretty good at everything he does. We got along great.”
When asked what Ash’s father knows about Ash’s world, Majors said nothing, “He blames Ash for the loss of his daughter. He lost his business because nobody wanted to do business with the father of Ashy Slashy.”
I asked Majors what it was like getting hit with the blood the first time. He said, “I saw it coming and I didn’t have a chance to close my eyes. It was in my eyes, up my nose, and everywhere. it was a sticky mess.” Majors also said, “My funnest scene was probably trying to pick up Lucy in a bar, with no success.” So we have that scene to look forward to later in season two.
Last to visit my table was Dana DeLorenzo, who plays Kelly Maxwell, and Ray Santiago, who plays Pablo Simon Bolivar. Both actors were really enjoyable in season one, and had opportunities to spread their wings as actors with their characters having had a large range of emotional experiences. They were asked how their characters felt about how season one ended. DeLorenzo said, “Great, Ash saved Pablo and Kelly, but he made a deal with the devil. At the beginning of season two Kelly is ready to pop.” Pablo and Kelly start season two working at a bar in Jacksonville, with Ash just partying. Santiago said, “Pablo is still dealing with the trauma of birthing demons out of his mouth.”
DeLorenzo added, “I think the fans have a lot to look forward to for how much we cleared the bar from season one. Double the blood and gore from season one, to the point I got 85 liters, which is 26 gallons, of blood in the first scene alone. We got blasted with a cannon of blood, each of us.”
I talked about how they both serve as Ash’s conscious at different times in season one and asked how that plays out in season 2. Santiago said, ” I think that sort of played out in season one. She (Kelly) was the brains, he’s (Ash) the muscle, and I’m sort of the heart of the unit. I think this season we each sort of all have our own individual paths and journeys with the evil force, and we are all forced to go in different directions and then come together. For Pablo maybe it’s him maybe finding the hero that he never thought he could possibly be. We’re a motley crew of individuals and we’re a dysfunctional family, but together we form the ultimate monster fighting squad.” DeLorenzo added, “It’s great to have Lucy in the squad. It creates a different dynamic.”
I talked about the diner scene in episode six, and how much fun it looked, and asked how it feels to do all this, having the comedy, the horror, and the action. Santiago said, “It’s a lot, we really lucked out. We got a big amazing job that has so many things. But the stunt aspect, we have a great stunt team that helps us and then we do as much as we can. They guide us and they show us. We’re happy to do it.” DeLorenzo said, “It’s an actor’s dream. We got to do it all every day. You get to do the whole range. You get to play and explore. Thank you fans for giving us a job where we can play. It’s like summer camp everyday, you just have camp not with a lake of water but you have a pool of blood. But it’s basically the same.”
One writer asked who there favorite superhero was and Santiago said Mighty Mouse and DeLorenzo said Batman. I then stated I was surprised neither of them said Ash, to which DeLorenzo replied, “I mean is he a superhero? He’s an idiot that happens to be very good at fighting evil.” And then DeLorenzo made it awkward when she said, “He would be a superhero with my bushes that I need landscaped.” Thankfully the female writer at the table followed that up by asking, “Can you read into that or not?”, at which point DeLorenzo’s blushing made her face match the gallons of blood that are used on the show.
And that was where it ended, and what better way could there have been. I have been lucky enough to have gotten to watch the first two episodes of season two, and I have to say if you enjoyed season one that you won’t be disappointed by what season two will be bringing to the table.
For further musings from the Joshua Stone follow him on the Twitter @1NerdyOne