Bruce Campbell answers all of our (expletive) questions, again

Bruce Campbell will be at Taft Theatre in downtown Cincinnati on April 6.
Bruce Campbell will be at Taft Theatre in downtown Cincinnati on April 6.
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Since his breakout classic “The Evil Dead,” released in 1981, few filmmakers have achieved a cult status quite like Bruce Campbell. The resulting horror franchise, with collaborator Sam Raimi includes similarly campy sequels “Evil Dead II” (1987) and “Army of Darkness” (1992). The films toe the line between shock horror and B-movie kitsch, emphasizing the hero Ash’s macho bravado (played by Campbell), and featuring comically outrageous blood and gore.

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Campbell remains a mainstay in popular culture through his books, convention appearances and with cameos in several movies and TV series. He continues to support “Evil Dead” with remakes and the newest sequel, “Evil Dead Rise,” which he’s promoting on a tour across the U.S. The show, “Bruce-O-Rama,” which includes a trivia competition, storytelling and a screening of “Evil Dead II,” makes a stop at Taft Theatre in downtown Cincinnati on April 6.

Recently, Bruce fan Emily McColgan and I had the honor of speaking to Campbell about his status as cult hero, his acting style and his tequila preferences, among other topics.

Q: How did you get into acting? Did you intend to become a horror icon?

A: Those are your words, not mine. I wanted to become an actor because I didn't want to work in a cubicle. My dad was an amateur actor, and I went to see him in a play when I was about 8. I was like, what the hell is this? People are laughing at the jokes he's cracking, and he's dancing with women that aren't my mother. The whole thing seemed weird, but I really liked it. I got old enough to join that theater group and then did plays with my dad. We got more serious through high school making amateur movies. And I met Sam Raimi through high school, and we went from there. The rest is in my book.

Q: Do you think you play characters similar to your true personality?

A: You can't escape yourself, so you can be an angry version of yourself, a young version of yourself, an old version of yourself, a hilarious version of yourself, but you're still rooted in you. These actors who say that they disappeared into their character and it took them weeks to come out the other side, I'm like, you just need psychiatric help. This is called make-believe, folks.

Bruce Campbell will be at Taft Theatre in downtown Cincinnati on April 6.
Bruce Campbell will be at Taft Theatre in downtown Cincinnati on April 6.

Q: It seems many female horror fans see you as some sort of savior or protector. How do you feel about this, and how has it helped your sex life?

A: Well, a bulls--- question is hard to answer. For years, only dudes went to conventions. My wife would be like, "Have fun getting offers of smoking reefer in the alley with those guys." Horror was mostly a dude's medium. And then over time, it's opened up quite a bit into just another genre. Women are doing horror. They're going into the woods with photographers, hopefully that they can trust. And they're shooting in these skimpy Ash outfits. I'm not going to lie, it's pretty (expletive) hot. But how it went from corduroys and a work shirt to torn little short shorts, I don't know how that happened. I don't think I want to know. But it's been fun to see it at conventions.

Q: Would you say that you and Sam Raimi are best friends?

A: We're very good friends. Old ancient friends. The problem with modern-day life is that we don't see each other as much as we should. I'm looking forward to going to Austin next week for South by Southwest because I can actually get some face time, sit down, have a drink, hang out and watch this new movie. I just want to sit with him because we're going to laugh just for our own personal reasons. I'm looking forward to that.

Q: That's so wholesome. What's your go-to karaoke song?

A: Karaoke is Elvis. And in fact, tomorrow night I am going to karaoke. I'm a designated driver tomorrow night, so I will not be drinking. I do Elvis just because no one tries. Elvis because he has a great set of pipes. And I just don't give a (expletive). I sort of lean into it.

Q: Do you have a favorite drink?

A: Yes, tequila. Silver. A good tequila. And look, don't be shooting that (expletive). You're going to wake up on the bathroom floor like your father did in college. Every actor is farting out tequila. Dwayne Johnson has Teremana and George Clooney sold Casamigos for a billion dollars. So if you never see George act again, don't be surprised. He doesn't need your filthy money. But when you go to a liquor store, Clooney's tequila is sometimes locked up, but not Johnson's. So that's kind of awkward. Why is George so special?

Q: What was your favorite project that you ever worked on? Was there a project that you wish you could have worked on that you never got to?

A: Wishful thinking is for squares because you'll go to your grave with wishful thinking. Oh, I wish Marty Scorsese would call me. Maybe he's an a--hole. Maybe he doesn't pay. Who knows? Or you get a (expletive) part. I don't play the what-if game, and I don't play favorites. The people who lay the money down, they're the only ones qualified to say what sucks and what doesn't. If the check clears, it was a pretty good project.

Q: Have you actually ever owned a sawed-off shotgun?

A: My brother has all the guns in our family. He has the Evil Dead shotgun. Not because he cares about the movie, just because he likes guns.

Q: Why does he need so much protection?

A: Well, because the shotgun, you can look the other way and pull the trigger. He's Bruce Campbell's brother. There are people knocking his door down every day. Right? You might have to hit three or four people.

Bruce-O-Rama, starring Bruce Campbell

Where: Taft Theatre, 317 E. Fifth St., Downtown.

When: 8 p.m. Thursday, April 7.

Cost: $38.30-$68.50.


This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Bruce Campbell's dream role? 'I wish Marty Scorsese would call me'