If Chins Could Kill
Confessions of a B Movie Actor
(L.A. Weekly Books)
Make Love the Bruce Campbell Way
You’ve seen him before. You’ve seen him…everywhere. And for PopMatters’ 20 Questions, you’ll see him here, too. Armed with an over-the-top, campy acting style and the most identifiable chin in Hollywood, Bruce Campbell has, since the early ‘80s, cemented his B-movie stardom. With director Sam Raimi, he originated the role of “Ash” in the Evil Dead trilogy, a trio of unique horror/ slapstick films that today are cult classic legends. And though the fan-favorite Campbell has gone on to star in many other films and TV series such as The Adventures of Brisco County Jr., the horror genre has remained his calling card. Campbell will be starring in the upcoming 2008 film My Name is Bruce, which he directed and co-produced.
This Saturday, 26 April, the man with the chin (albeit concealed by gross make-up) will be waiting for you on Monsters HD: The Bruce Campbell Triple Feature showcasing The Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn, and Bubba Ho-Tep. 8PM ET / 5PM PT / 7PM CT.
1. The latest book or movie that made you cry?
My favorite movie is The Sound of Music. I’ve even seen it in a thousand-seat theater and it was amazing. It always gets people all choked-up.
2. The fictional character most like you?
There is no link of a fictional character to any human and the question alone suggests a disturbing disconnect to reality. But if I had to answer, I’d say Sad Sack…he’s a character from a comic book. If people don’t know who that is they’ll just have to do some research to figure it out.
3. The greatest album, ever?
I’m not an album guy…I’m a crooner guy. I would have to say Vic Damone is in my opinion, one of the top five singers, ever.
4. Star Trek or Star Wars?
Star Trek. The original…with William Shatner. Everything else blows. The only exception with Star Wars is the last battle with Luke and the whole “use the force” thing, but I can’t get into creatures with rubber faces playing instruments. It just doesn’t work for me.
5. Your ideal brain food?
It’s a plant that grows from the ground. I refuse to identify it.
6. You’re proud of this accomplishment, but why?
For my profession I’m doing exactly what I want to do. I’ve chosen the arts. The arts are really for me. I feel not enough people do exactly what they want to do because they get hung up on the money thing. Let me tell you, the search for Mr. Money leads to a big fat dead end.
7. You want to be remembered
Never going away…like a bad rash that just keeps coming back.
8. Of those who’ve come before, the most inspirational are?
Cary Grant is the number one movie star, ever. Nobody, I mean, nobody can hold a candle to him. He’s the gold standard of motion picture acting—probably the classiest movie star, the best kept, and the best dressed. He made a point of becoming Cary Grant…even he was trying to become “Cary Grant”.
9. The creative masterpiece you wish bore your signature?
I’m not an envious man and I think that’s a petty little game to play. I feel today the world doesn’t have enough original thinkers and that this question is born of our current mentality, which is: when in doubt, cut and paste.
10. Your hidden talents…?
Land management or what I like to call land stewardship. I own property in Oregon and the forest is always a big issue. Ten people can look at a forest. One guy will say cut it all down, grind it up and make toilet paper out of it. Another guy will say don’t touch the forest. And another, like me, will say stop fire suppression and let our forests burn.
Right now, I’m getting rid of duplicate trees and thinning to preserve the forest. I consider myself a practical, “light touch” land steward, not an environmentalist. Environmentalists have a bad rap as smelly dope smoking losers. I just look at myself as a roll up your sleeves kind of guy.
11. The best piece of advice you actually followed?
To never follow advice, because each individual is a completely unique specimen and no one knows what’s happening in our lives. Advice given may be friendly, yet horribly ignorant at the same time. The last time I gave advice, it resulted in putting a man and a woman together, both friends. They became so attracted to each other, like a chemical fire, it all went horribly wrong.
So, I don’t give advice anymore—I don’t take it, either.
12. The best thing you ever bought, stole, or borrowed?
The best things I’ve bought recently are bicycles for the set of Burn Notice. I wanted it to be like the old days where you rode bicycles around studio sets. So, I got all the actors bicycles and we ride them from our trailers to the set (we carry our scripts in the little baskets up front) and ring little bells to warn crew members of our arrival. It’s so cute, you’d want to vomit.
13. You feel best in Armani or Levis or…?
Montgomery Ward work pants. I wore those for years and years. They’re almost like wearing canvas. They’re ugly as hell but they protect me from everything.
I’ve only owned one piece of Armani and I have no idea where it is today. This is why I live in Oregon now. I find Hollywood to be mostly embarrassing because so little of the shenanigans have to do with making movies.
14. Your dinner guest at the Ritz would be?
First of all, I would eat at the Ritz only if someone else is paying. New York is a great city on someone else’s dime. I think I would prefer a quiet little diner somewhere.
As far as guests at the Ritz, I’d eat with Dick Cheney cuz he has some ‘splainin’ to do—and he’s gonna pay because he can afford it. I would take Bush too, because they both have a lot of ‘splainin’ to do. I would make it so that they have to answer any question I wanted to ask. I might have to waterboard them to get the answers. And when I say any question, I mean anything—legal, illegal, personal, dates, times places.
Come to think of it, I would like to do a series of dinners with all the people I have to get certain answers out of. Like a dinner with O.J. Simpson. ‘Just tell me: did you or did you not?’
Bill Clinton. I would need to know if he actually had sex, or was it only oral?
I would have Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens over to tea—a fruity tea—and I’d hit them with a single question: Did you juice? I’d get to the bottom of it quick. Check please!
With all these guys I’d probably have to give a truth serum and hook them up to a lie detector, so if I found out they were lying I can jab a needle in their ass!
Bruce in Bubba Ho-Tep
15. Time travel: where, when and why?
I’d go back to my old neighborhood and start it where my house was when I grew up. My machine would have a button so that I could click, click, click—like a mouse. Every time I clicked it would go back ten years so I can see how the area developed. I want to see what it was like before, all the way back to the Indians.
I would do that in Times Square, too. I think it would be fascinating to see every ten years of that development. I’d click all the way back to when the Indians traded Manhattan for beans.
I would go to the interchange of the 405 and 101 in Los Angeles.
I would click all the way back to the time before the first white man landed in Jonestown.
I guess the idea of seeking things out in their purest state fascinates me. I find nature to be the only thing that’s perfect.
16. Stress management: hit man, spa vacation or Prozac?
I’m not a pharmaceutical guy. I don’t solve stress through violence. I would refer to the brain food question for that answer.
17. Essential to life: coffee, vodka, cigarettes, chocolate, or…?
Truth is essential to life. If you don’t have truth, everything’s fake. I learned truth by being in a make believe industry. It makes me seek truth all the more because you can be true to your art.
18. Environ of choice: city or country, and where on the map?
Where I live now in Southern Oregon is my choice. I would pick the country where you can’t even have cell phones because there is no service.
And, when I say “country”, I don’t mean a lovely walk in the park at the edge of town…I’m talking a place where you see cougars and bears and foxes.
19. What do you want to say to the leader of your country?
Come to dinner, take the truth serum—let’s get it done. Stop avoiding me, sir.
20. Last but certainly not least, what are you working on, now?
I’m currently working on Burn Notice for USA. I love it because it’s not a cop show, it’s not a doctor show, it’s not a lawyer show, yet it has classical elements.
I also just wrapped up the film My Name is Bruce, which I directed. It’s coming out this fall and the trailer can be viewed on my website, Bruce Campbell.com.
Bruce in his less-than-pretty, Evil Dead persona.
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