Bruce Campbell talks to ChoochThe Movie Whore 15 comments
A friend of mine known as Chooch got to do this interview with Bruce Campbell and was kind enough to share it with The Movie Whore.
Bruce Campbell is a living dichotomy. If you know of Bruce Campbell and his diverse body of work, then you are a fan of the most extreme kind. His fans are tolerant and loyal - forgiving sometimes even, and Bruce certainly doesn't have the kind of fan-base that deserts him when he delves into something new.
He is a movie hero, a television icon, author, producer, activist and director. However, what's probably most important is, like his fans, he is also tolerant and loyal. He is tolerant of his status in the business, yet he remains confidently loyal to himself. And those are important qualities when you make your living in Hollywood, even if Oregon is your home.
Then there are those that have never heard of Bruce Campbell, and if this is you, then I'm honored to introduce you to a man that you've been missing out on and that's a really good thing. The dichotomy of Bruce is that you either love him or haven't a clue about him - sort of like a really tasty new flavor of tortilla chips; you pass them by so many times but once you get a bite… mmmm, delicious!
Did I really just compare Bruce Campbell to a new and exciting flavor of tortilla chip? Well, it may be corny (pun intended) but it's a metaphor that works for him. Because to survive one must be adept at the art of adapting to a constantly changing set of situations. You and I do it every day in our daily lives. Today, nacho cheese, tomorrow, spicy taco.
There are many iterations of Bruce Campbell. These you can learn on your own. Go on and have fun! There are certainly enough online resources that'll be more than obliging to spout their "knowledge of Bruce," however, the best website would be his own: bruce-campbell.com. Just understand that I'm advising you to do so because of that cultish following that he has.
Bruce is drawn to playing characters that define the quirkiness of the everyday man. Bruce could be your cousin. Your good-hearted neighbor, or just that guy who does stuff. And now that I feel confident that you have somewhat of an inkling of Bruce, I had the opportunity to discuss his two latest projects with him. The first, in its' second season for the USA Network, is a dramedy called "Burn Notice." The main character, Michael Westen, played somewhat reservedly by Jeffrey Donovan, is an ex-CIA agent that has been given a burn notice, which is similar to what one would receive if one ever left a woman at the alter. You just can never go back, not for nothing. Bruce Campbell's character is Sam Axe, a washed-out ex-Navy Seal who tends to squander his meager government pension on beer and women.
Then we explore, "My Name is Bruce," a feature film that hits theatres this fall, and stars Bruce Campbell as the lovable actor version of Bruce Campbell. It's a spoof of the reality that has become Bruce's life. Remember me mentioning those loyal fans back at the beginning of this piece? Well, MNIB, or as I will like to call it, "Men NOT in Black," features an aspect of Bruce's career that many of his fans don't seem to understand: Bruce doesn't actually work at S-Mart and he doesn't know how to kill zombies or demons.
Or does he?
CHOOCH: Bruce, you play an ex-Navy Seal in Burn Notice. But Sam Axe seems to be a natural character for you. Is he a challenging character to portray?
BRUCE: Acting is supposed to be fun. If it isn't, it becomes challenging. So, with Sam, he's a fun character to play, because when you think about it - even high-end government types with top-secret clearance are prone to the same foibles as anyone else. Everyone's human - we all make mistakes. I like characters with a human side, albeit flawed side.
CHOOCH: Is this because you tend not to take yourself so seriously, that your characters are sometimes aloof in nature?
BRUCE: Aloof is your word. I tend to go for off-kilter, idiot-with-a-heart-of-gold "flipsters."
CHOOCH: You're also an acclaimed director with nearly a dozen TV directing credits. If you get the chance to direct any Burn Notice episodes, will you?
BRUCE: I'm not gonna pursue that. I like being 2nd fiddle. I'll direct on the side. TV is also too much of a "shared" directing experience. I'm too bossy for TV. I like to be in control whenever possible as a director, otherwise, you're just directing traffic.
CHOOCH: Television really works for your spirit and I know that you feel that you consider it more relaxed and fun. Do you find projects like Burn Notice more satisfying than feature films?
BRUCE: I like the pace of TV. A lot gets done in the course of shooting 8.5-9 pages per day. Features are cool, but the expensive ones take too damn long to make.
CHOOCH: Will "they're just a bunch of bitchy little girls," become the new, "this is my boomstick," Bruce Campbell catchphrase?
BRUCE: That's for the pundits. My job as an actor is to deliver those cleverly written lines without screwing up.
CHOOCH: I was surprised that MNIB wasn't written by you. How was Mark Verheiden, a writer best known for penning feature films such as Timecop and The Mask and writing comic books, chosen?
BRUCE: Mike Richardson and Mark Verheiden are old pals. They worked on The Mask together. They pitched the idea, Mark wrote the script, then I made it my own from there.
CHOOCH: In the trailer for MNIB you live in a single-wide mobile-home. Isn't it really a double-wide trailer and you were just being modest?
BRUCE: Congratulations - that's the most extemporaneous question of the year!
CHOOCH: Is MNIB going to be the catalyst for an Evil Dead 4 and what role will you have with the remake of Evil Dead?
BRUCE: MNIB will have no impact on the Evil Dead films. There are currently no remake or sequels planned, so there isn't much to talk about.
CHOOCH: Are you, by chance, a Charles Bukowski fan? Have you read any of his work?
BRUCE: Sorry, been too drunkenly belligerent to read it...
CHOOCH: You and your wife, Ida, have produced a documentary regarding land stewardship. Has it been screened at any film festivals?
BRUCE: It's still a work in progress. We're finishing it up.
CHOOCH: Finally, I always like to ask my interviewees a deep question. My father passed away when I was 23, and like you, I looked up to him and wanted him to be proud of me. So, I still do a lot of my writing for him. You've said that seeing your father act when you were a child was a great inspiration for you. Is your father still an inspiration for you?
BRUCE: He is. Charles Newton Campbell passed in '04, but he still inspires because he was my first "patron."
And here's just one last analogy of the man. To me, and many other followers, Bruce is very much like Mario Puzo's character, Michael Corleone, of The Godfather trilogy. Because by the third movie, and they were all good movies, when Michael decides that the best thing to do for his family is to "go legit," is just about the time when "he thought he was out but they pulled him back in."
And we are all grateful for that.
Again I want to thank Chooch for sharing this interview with The Movie Whore. Also it is so incredibly wonderful and splendifurous (I know it's not a word.) that Bruce said no Evil Dead remake is planned. YIPEE!
Alright kids I suggest you go check out http://www.choochweb.com/. This guy is writing some great things and and it would be a shame to miss them.