Actor Bruce Campbell has never been one to shy away from poking a little fun at someone, even if that someone is himself.
Considered one of the greatest B-movie actors of this generation, Campbell, 50, who became famous for his role as Ash Williams in the “Evil Dead” trilogy, plays himself in the new low-budget comedy “My Name is Bruce.”
In the film, Campbell is kidnapped by one of his fans to save the town of Gold Lick, Oregon from a vengeful Chinese demon warrior who rises from the grave. During an interview with me, Campbell, who also directs the film, talks about playing a fictitious version of himself and where he thinks he ranks today among the Hollywood elite.
How was this project presented to you and why did you decide to take part in a film that basically pokes fun at your career?
It was through a writer friend of mine, Mark Verheiden, who I knew casually over the years. He had worked on the “Evil Dead” comics and stuff like that and has his own long resume. I said, “Yeah, let me jump all over it.” I just looked at it strictly from a comedy point of view and not so much if Bruce Campbell was in the movie or not. To me, we could have called the main character Dash Riprock and it would have been the same thing.
So, you didn’t have any worries about doing a movie where you are the butt of most of the jokes?
I just wanted to entertain people the best that I knew how. I had no problem with it because I am playing the character of Bruce Campbell. I am Bruce Campbell but I didn’t mind playing his character either.
What is it like joining the ranks of John Malkovich (“Being John Malkovich”), Bruce Willis (“What Just Happened”), and Jean-Claude Van Damme (“JCVD”), actors who have played themselves in movies?
In all those movies you just mentioned all those actors are playing fictitious versions of themselves for either dramatic or comedic effect. Most of them are playing themselves to make fun of themselves. I think it’s fine. It’s something crazy and is another phase of entertainment.
Was it difficult to direct yourself playing yourself? I don’t think anyone has ever done that before.
No, because all you have to do is ask, “Who is this character?” Because I’ve done so many low-budget movies – good and bad – I can sympathize what the fictitious Bruce Campbell has gone through.
Are you more comfortable when you are at a party where everyone recognizes you from your films or one where nobody recognizes you?
Either one. It’s the middle-ground parties that are the most fun. If I’m around my friends and family then it’s fine. Or if nobody knows me it’s totally cool, too.
You always hear the term A-list actor to describe the most bankable movie stars working today. Then there’s someone like comedian Kathy Griffin who has become famous as a self-described D-List actress. Where do you see yourself on this sort of Hollywood totem pole?
Definitely not on the A list. I’m a B-lister. I’m cool with that. To me, I can’t get hung up on A-list, B-list, I’m just an actor and that’s what I like to do. I’m drawn to certain types of material, which tend to be more genre movies. If that puts me into the B category I’m okay with that.
With all the horror remakes that are happening, I was wondering if that “Evil Dead” remake or “Part IV” was finally going to pan out?
I don’t think I need to jump on that old bandwagon. I think that would be part of the same malaise that’s out there. I’m not that excited about horror movie remakes. Hollywood has been out of ideas for a long time. We were remaking bad Aaron Spelling TV shows from the ’70s not too long ago.