Season 2 of Ash vs Evil Dead kicks off tomorrow night, and from the first two episodes that I was able to screen in advance, the thrills, laughs and hijinks are stronger than ever. To help get you ready for the premiere, we’ve got the scoop straight from Ashley J. Williams himself, Bruce Campbell!
In a recent press call, Campbell talked about the second season of the show, the addition of Lee Majors as Ash’s father, and the enduring appeal of the reluctant hero that he’s played for nearly four decades. Read some highlights from the call below, and watch Ash vs Evil Dead tomorrow night on Starz in the US and on Super Channel in Canada.
In Season 1, it was revealed that Ash was foretold in the Necronomicon, but there are more reveals to come. Campbell told us, “Because Ash is foretold, he’s not just a normal character. He has some mythology related to him, and every year we’ll find more and more about what his relationship is, and why he was foretold, and what his greater purpose is. You don’t want to give it all away, but I think it’s safe to say that Ash is more than just a regular idiot.”
With Ash’s story ending mythical territory, that doesn’t mean that we’ll see less of the bumbling fool we’ve grown to love. “Ash will always be a buffoon and an idiot and make horrible mistakes,” Campbell said. “But you can still find more of a humanity where Ash will make decisions that are for the greater good. He’ll risk life and limb to save somebody else’s life with no regard for his. Ash will slowly be morphing into a true hero. Right now, he’s a reluctant flawed hero. But I think over time, he will eventually become a better human and that’s what the whole point is.”
Lee Majors, an equally legendary pop culture icon, joins the show as Ash’s father this season, and Campbell recounted how that casting came to be. “We approached him with great supplication and we asked him if he would be interested. He said, ‘Let me just look at the show. Let me see your first season.’ And we showed that to him. This horror category isn’t really his bag, but he found it to be really funny. He says he laughed all the way through it and that’s what convinced him. So thankfully, it’s the comedic elements that are what attracted him to this, and we were happy to have him.”
What does the addition of Ash’s father in Season 2 bring to the story? “Having Ash’s father appear in the show now lets you know where Ash came from,” Campbell said. “You come to realize that some of Ash’s catch phrases aren’t even his own. Ash is just imitating his dad. It’s to show a little bit of the lineage, the family history.” He also teased, “There’s another couple of Easter eggs coming this season of returning characters that are beloved in the series. So stay tuned for that.”
I can say with 1000% certainty that casting Lee Majors as Brock Williams was inspired. At the start of Season 2, we get the idea that Ash and his dad were romantic rivals at times. I asked Campbell about the relationship between father and son, and here’s what he told me: “It’s a bad, bad relationship,” he laughingly said. “It makes it perfect sense that Ash, being sort of a flawed hero, has a crappy relationship with his family. His dad has these misperceptions of what Ash did. He basically thought his son was a serial killer. So a lot of that is going to come bubbling up and not really in a happy way.” As for the romantic rivalry, Campbell said, “Yes, they’re competitors, which is why it’s so important to get Lee Majors. We wanted a guy who was known for being a ladies man. Lee is really good at that and he has a great sense of humor. I don’t use the word ‘luck’ very often, but we were lucky to get Lee Majors. Lee’s everything we could have hoped for.”
After playing this character for close to 40 years, is Bruce Campbell tired of Ash? “I’m not bored with the character at all,” said Campbell. “It’s becoming my favorite character I’ve ever played. So by expanding the character and getting to know him better is making him more and more interesting to me. We didn’t even know that much about Ash before. He wasn’t really a two-dimensional character. So adding that third dimension is really what does it for me.”
When asked what the secret is to Ash being loved by audiences for so many years, Campbell replied, “I think the secret of Ash is that he has no secrets. He’s just like your neighbor. He’s just like the guy down the street. He doesn’t have special skills. He doesn’t have kryptonite. He can’t fly, he can’t see through walls. There are no super powers. And I think the audience can relate to that. Super hero movies are so popular now. They’re everywhere. But it’s much harder for me to invest in a super hero because they are not flawed enough for me. I need to have my characters to be flawed and real. I’ve really enjoyed playing Ash because he’s not written like a normal hero. That’s what certainly appeals to me. When audiences watch Ash, they just think like they’re watching a regular guy trying to save the world.”
Photo Courtesy of Starz