TV Icon Lee Majors Talks Joining Ash vs. Evil Dead Season 2 - Dread Central
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TV Icon Lee Majors Talks Joining Ash vs. Evil Dead Season 2

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Ash Vs Evil Dead

The horror community was understandably excited when it was announced that Lee Majors will portray Ash’s father in Season 2 of “Ash vs. Evil Dead.” Bruce Campbell noted that Majors comes from “a generation of actors who were born with hair on their chest,” and Dana DeLorenzo said, “[Majors] is still very sexy and very charming… and [I] truly believe he’s the perfect casting choice for Ash’s dad.”

With a resume that boasts of not one, not two, but three programs that surpassed the 100-episode plateau, including “The Six Million Dollar Man” and “The Fall Guy,” it goes without saying that Majors is a television icon.

Majors recently spoke with Dread Central about his role in the upcoming second season of “AvED” and offered insight that Brock Williams blames Ash for the death of his daughter [Cheryl], discussed how show promotion has changed throughout his career, touched on his legendary Scrooged cameo, and shared a tale of his wife’s trip to the hair salon that leads into one of the most hilarious political statements this writer has encountered during the current Presidential campaign.

Lee Majors certainly seems poised to make “Ash vs. Evil Dead” better, faster, and stronger!

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Dread Central: Let’s start at the beginning. Walk us through that first phone call and the process of you coming to the role of Ash’s father for Season 2 of “Ash vs. Evil Dead.”

Lee Majors: I had heard of the original (Evil Dead) movies back when, but I don’t think I ever saw one. I didn’t even know it was on as a series because it was one of those horror things and that really hadn’t been my cup of tea throughout my career because, as you know, I did mostly family-oriented action shows that the entire family could sit down and watch. It was a surprise that they contacted me, but then I sat down and looked at Season 1, the first episode, then I went to two and three. I sat and watched all ten shows at one time, and it just kind of pulled me in because it’s completely different. I’ve never seen a horror show done with such humor (laughs). When Ash is slashing up somebody, he throws out such funny lines that it takes the curse off the horror stuff, you know? I really enjoyed it. I thought it was funny, I thought the cast was great and a good group to work with. But I didn’t know they were shooting it in New Zealand, which is a pretty good ways to go, but I ended up going and enjoyed the process and it seemed to get right in there with the chemistry of the whole group. I was a big fan of Sam Raimi’s anyway so it was a real treat, and I think that Bruce Campbell is probably one of the most underrated actors there is because he’s really super good at this role and what he does. I’d heard of Lucy Lawless a lot, and she turned out to be a real charming lady and a very professional actress so the whole thing was good (laughs).

DC: Dana DeLorenzo has said that when your character and Ash are on screen together, Ash is the adult in the room — which is a tremendous statement. Give us the lowdown on Brock Williams.

LM: Ash comes back to his hometown (Elk Grove, Michigan). His father was never mentioned in any of the other shows, but he’s a very surly guy. He was the owner of the only thriving hardware store there, but ever since his son was labeled as a serial killer, his business kind of tanked. Nobody wanted to do business with the father of “Ashy Slashy,” which is what they nicknamed him. Brock just spends his days watching television and drinking a few beers, and when Ash shows up, he’s not too pleased to see him. He just wants him to do his business and get the hell out of there. Brock thinks Ash is really nuts, actually. He blames him for the death of his daughter and he just thinks all this chasing evil stuff is crazy because he hasn’t seen it; he hasn’t witnessed any of it. Brock just thinks Ash is a little nuts anyway, and of course, it’s like father, like son — Brock likes the women (laughs). The first couple of episodes are very confrontational, and then it gets a little more competitive. There’s some fun stuff in it, with references to one of the series I did – I’m sure you can imagine which one – mentioning some bionic parts or something and there’s a Bigfoot reference, but it’s all fun. And I got my first indoctrination of the blood. You know, in all my shows, we weren’t allowed to even show much blood; they would say, “Oh, that’s too much blood. Too much blood (laughs).” I saw more blood in this one episode in thirty minutes than I did in my career doing seven series (laughs), and that includes some work on “Tour of Duty” (laughs). I had to get splatted so they had this machine that was sitting right under my chest, so Ash had to chainsaw somebody and when the blood came up, I didn’t know how quick it was coming and boy, it just splattered my face and everywhere. It was in my eyes, up my nose (chuckles). I looked like a real mess, but that seems to be all the fun that they have out there — how much blood they can use. 

DC: With Ash returning home to confront demons from his past, both literal and figurative, how will Ash change this season? What kind of growth (if any) can we expect?

LM: Ash has never really had any big emotions, but I think there’s a little bit brought out this season. I think if “Ash vs. Evil Dead” gets picked up for next season, it’ll probably even grown more. There’s only so much they can do because they only do ten shows [per season], and you’ve got five other actors in there besides me. You’ve got to divvy it up between all of them and all the Deadites that they have to show, so not much can be done in one show, and it kind of varies from show-to-show. I’m not in the entire season, but some of my stuff will be surprising.  

DC: Campbell has talked about it extensively, and we’ve seen you mention it a few times, but just how much does it playfully irk you that Campbell calls you “Pop”?

LM: [Campbell] started it on the set; he doesn’t really do it much in the show (laughs). He would say, “Come on, Pop. Let’s go” (chuckles). He always kids me because I’m an old school actor. I leave the camera and I’ll go maybe five feet away and find a chair. Of course, he’s always asking me, “Would you like some water or some coffee?” And I’d say, “I’m good. I’m good.” [Campbell] couldn’t get over that; he said, “You know you don’t see that these days out of these kids. They run to their trailer and get on their phones and their iPads. You’re always here.” That was just the way I was trained and brought up, but it’s been fun. Bruce has been very protective of me also because I’m a little older. But I told him, “You’re 58; you start using your stuntmen a lot more because I wish I had used mine a lot more now.” 

DC: Campbell has also hinted that your character tries to pick up Lucy Lawless’ Ruby in a bar this coming season. That has to be a hell of a scene. Can you talk about that?

LM: When people ask me what’s the funniest stuff that happened, it’s me trying to pick up Lucy Lawless at a bar. With no success (laughs). There’s some funny competition between Bruce and I in a saloon, the same bar, because there is a riding bull there, like bulls they had in the saloons back then, so there’s some competition on the bull that’s kind of funny (chuckles).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzeJTAwqEJ4

DC: You alluded to the fact that you’d never done a “bloody show” before, but all Evil Dead characters get slathered in plasma, so what was that experience like when you got doused in that syrupy goodness for the first time?

LM: I’ll tell you one thing… I did try to get cleaned up but I was in a rush and I went back to the hotel and I wanted to grab a little glass of champagne to take to my room because it was the end of the day and I didn’t shoot the next day. So I stopped in the little bar and the guy looked at me kind of funny, and when I got to the room, I realized that there was still blood all over my neck that I didn’t get (laughs). He probably felt that I’d been in a car wreck or something like that (laughs). But the biggest thing about the blood is that it’s sticky, and when it’s all over your shirt and pants, they get like cardboard. You have to peel it off from your skin and it’s just crinkly and sticky still, all day. I remember the last show, though, I went up to Bruce and put my hand on him (he was covered with blood), but it wasn’t sticky; it had a rubber effect that they used. I said, “What the hell is this?” And now I know… he’s an executive producer so he doesn’t have to have that sticky mess on him (chuckles). So I said, “I want that next year if I come back. I want that rubber blood if you have to be in it all day.”

DC: The recurring theme with the cast is the amount of fun and laughter had on the set of “Ash vs. Evil Dead.” Do you have a behind-the-scenes story from filming Season 2 that will leave our readers in stitches?

LM: I just think the funniest thing you can do is watch the (San Diego Comic Con) panel. I mean, you turn Bruce loose and he is funny. And Ted Raimi… just to look at Ted (chuckles), I mean, I laugh. Everything was funny.  There was a lot of stuff but I can’t remember all of it, and some of it, if I reveal, it’s part of the story. Here’s the interesting thing. I’ve done more press for this show (chuckles), and I’m not even the star of the show. I mean (chuckles), they’ve worked my butt off for this thing and I’m not even guaranteed to come back next year. I don’t even know why I’m doing all this stuff (laughs). I never really did much press for all my other shows because when you’re doing a show and you’re the star of the show, you have a studio which does most of the press for you. And when you’re on every week, you don’t really need the press. Anyway, I’ve just been helping them out. It’s a good group. All the Raimis and Bruce went to high school together up in Michigan, and they’ve been using all the same people over and over for all these years, so I was glad to get into the group because they’re pretty loyal. And whatever Sam comes up with next, I’m sure that I’ll be a part of it. In fact, I just agreed to do a little film up in Michigan in October called Dead Rising. It’s based off of a video game, and I guess the word’s out that Majors does horror now (laughs). I’d never been offered to do horror stuff because I guess they didn’t think of me in that vein, so I may be the new king of horror here coming up (laughs).

DC: You touched on it a little earlier, but shows like “The Six Million Dollar Man” would have been great fodder for conventions had they existed at the time, but with “Ash vs. Evil Dead,” you recently attended your first Comic-Con. What was that experience like participating in something of such magnitude?

LM: You get 250,000 people in there in a weekend and then all the press from all around the world; you cannot garner that much press in one spot. It’s very big, very commercial, very corporate. Even all the movie people come down there because they can reach so many. We have interviews with the foreign press and every streaming thing there is. For two days I was every fifteen minutes into a different little room at the hotel, all of us were, back-to-back with photo shoots and everything you could think of. It was unbelievable, so that’s how the business has changed. I remember when I did “The Big Valley,” ABC put me on a plane, a commercial plane, and sent me to about five major cities the week of the premiere and I ended up in Miami sitting in a hotel room the night of my premiere of “The Big Valley,” by myself (chuckles) watching the show. And there was no one around to say “Hey, it’s me!” you know? (laughs) So there I was watching myself starring in a television show for the first time and nobody to watch it with or share it with. It was kind of interesting (chuckles). Like I said, five cities, the big cities like New York, Chicago, Miami, Boston, and Philly or something like that, but that was it. That was all the press you got. 

DC: What’s it been like engaging with the Evil Dead fan base, who are very passionate, and almost unrivaled in their devotion to the franchise?

LM: I didn’t even know that a lot of people watch this show. My wife, for example, was at her hair salon the other day and she mentioned to her hair dresser, this young girl, that I was on [the show], and she said, “Oh, come on! That’s awesome!” People love the show, they watch the show, and I didn’t even know it had that many [fans]… I mean, [there are] whole groups of fans of all ages. People that I was shocked had ever even heard of the show. It’s like saying you like Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, but you wouldn’t tell anybody, but then when somebody brings it up, it’s like, “Oh, I like that too!” (laughs) It’s a great fan base, just like the Trekkies, the “Star Trek” fans, they are crazy. [William] Shatner still goes to [conventions] all over and he’s like the king, which is good. I’ve known Bill, he guested on “Big Valley” a couple of times and several other shows that I did, almost every series I did he guested on, so we’re good friends. It’s good to be remembered, and now they’re going to do The Six Billion Dollar Man with Mark Wahlberg, and Peter Berg is directing, I think. I’ve met both of them before, and I like them, but hopefully they’ll remember me and I’ll be able to have something in it. Who knows? The Fall Guy they’re developing, and Dwayne Johnson, I think, has agreed to do that one. I’m getting up there where, last year I was 67. The year before that I was 57. Now this birthday I just had, I can’t turn my numbers around anymore. Seven-seven is it (laughs). That was the last time I’ll be able to turn them around. 

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DC: It was nearly thirty years ago now, but I cannot have this discussion with you and not touch on your cameo in Scrooged. How did that wonderful tongue-in-cheek role come to pass, and what are your memories of it?

LM: That comes up a lot! I got the call from Richard Donner, and I didn’t know who Dick Donner was, but he was the director and he asked me if I would do a little cameo for him, and I said sure. I ran over to the studio and put on the outfit, but the only thing was that gun they gave me to shoot, I thought they’d at least give me a prop gun or something plastic to carry around, but that damn thing was the real thing and it must have weighted 40 pounds. I could hardly hold it up till they said “Cut” it was so heavy (laughing). That’s the one thing I remember (chuckles) about that shoot. Ever since then, it’s played every damn Christmas. It’s been fun because I was able to play myself and the Santa Claus guy (Al “Red Dog” Weber) was so funny, “Lee MAJORS!” (laughing) I mean, that almost embarrassed ME when I  saw it (laughs). It was fun.

“Ash vs. Evil Dead” returns on October 2 at 8 p.m. on Starz.

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Vampire Hunter D: The Series Gets Writer For Pilot Episode

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It’s been a little while since we’ve heard news about “Vampire Hunter D: The Series”, the CG-animated series based on Hideyuki Kikuchi’s titular character. However, some new news broke today over at ANN as they’ve reported that Brandon Easton, who is writing the scripts for new Vampire Hunter D comics, has been tapped by Unified Pictures to write the pilot for the series. The pilot will be based on Kikuchi’s “Mysterious Journey to the North Sea” storylines, which make up the 7th and 8th titles in the book series. Unified is making this series in conjunction with Digital Frontier, the Japanese animation studio behind the CG Resident Evil titles.

Easton told the site, “I’ve had to manage the expectations of three entities: the creator Hideyuki Kikuchi, the producers at Digital Frontier and Unified Pictures, and ultimately myself. This means that you have to find new and exciting ways of telling a story that has a set of concrete rules that have been fully established by the novels.

Meanwhile, the studio has also announced that Ryan Benjamin is taking over as the artist and colorist on the Vampire Hunter D: Message From Mars series with Richard Friend inking the issues.

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Watching A Quiet Place’s John Krasinski Get Scared by Freddy on Ellen Will Brighten Your Day

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I was just researching the new Platinum Dunes horror-thriller A Quiet Place and stumbled across this video. It features the film’s writer-director and star John Krasinski getting scared by a man dressed as Freddy Krueger on “Ellen.”

It’s as much fun as it sounds, and I’m sure it will make your day. It sure as hell just brightened mine.

Give it a watch below, and then let us know what you think!

John Krasinski directs the film, which will be the opening night entry at this year’s SXSW festival in Austin, TX. Emily Blunt stars alongside Krasinski, Noah Jupe, and Millicent Simmonds.

A Quiet Place will then open wide on April 6.

Synopsis:
In the modern horror thriller A Quiet Place, a family of four must navigate their lives in silence after mysterious creatures that hunt by sound threatens their survival. If they hear you, they hunt you.

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Interview: Director Jeff Burr Revisits Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III

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Director Jeff Burr was gracious enough to give us here at Dread Central a few minutes of his time to discuss the Blu-ray release of his 1990 film Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III. Recently dropped on 2/13, the movie has undergone the white-glove treatment, and he was all-too-happy to bring us back to when the film was being shot…and eventually diced thanks to the MPAA – so settle in, grab a cold slice of bloody meat, read on and enjoy!

DC: First off – congrats on seeing the film get the treatment it deserves on Blu-ray – you excited about it?

JB: Yeah, I’m really happy that it’s coming out on Blu-ray, especially since so many people bitch and moan about the death of physical media, and this thing made the cut, and it’s great for people to be able to see probably the best-looking version of it since we saw it in the lab back in 1989.

DC: Take us back to when you’d first gotten the news that you were tabbed to be the man to direct the third installment in this franchise – what was your first order of business?

JB: It was fairly condensed pre-production for me, and there really wasn’t a whole lot of time to think about the import or the greatness of it – it was basically just roll up your sleeves and go. It was a bit disappointing because a lot of times in pre-production you have the opportunity to dream what could be – casting had already been done, but certain decisions hadn’t been made yet. A very condensed pre-production, but exciting as hell, for sure! (laughs)

DC: R.A. Mihailoff in the role of Leatherface – was it the decision from the get-go to have him play the lead role?

JB: No – I totally had someone else in mind, even though R.A. had done a role in my student film about 7 years earlier, and we’d kept in touch, and I’d felt strongly because I’d gotten to know him a bit that Gunnar Hansen should have come back and played Leatherface, which would have given a bit more legitimacy to this third movie. He and I talked, and he had some issues with the direction that it was going – he really wanted to be involved, and it ended up boiling down to a financial thing, and it wasn’t outrageous at all – it wasn’t like he asked for the moon, but the problem was that New Line refused to pay it, categorically. I think the line producer at the time was more adamant about it than anyone, and Mike DeLuca was one of the executives on the movie, and he was really the guy that was running this, in a creative sense. I made my case for Gunner to both he and the line producer, and they flat out refused to pay him what he was asking, so after that was a done “no deal” I decided that R.A would be the right guy to step into the role. Since New Line was the arbiter of the film, he had to come in and audition for the part, and he impressed everyone and got the part. He did an absolutely fantastic job – such a joy to work with, and he was completely enthusiastic about everything.

DC: Let’s talk about Viggo Mortenson, and with this being one of his earliest roles – did you know you had something special with this guy on your set?

JB: Here’s the thing – you knew he was talented, and I’d seen him in the movie Prison way back in the early stages of development and was very impressed with him, and he was one of those guys that I think we were really lucky to get him on board with us. I really believe that The Indian Runner with he and directed by Sean Penn was the movie that truly made people stand up and notice his work. Every person in this cast was one hundred percent into this film and jumped in no questions asked when it was time to roll around in the body pits.

DC: It’s no secret about the amount of shit that the MPAA put you through in order to get this film released – can you expound on that for a minute?

JB: At the time, I believe it was a record amount of times we had to go back to the MPAA after re-cutting the film – I think it was 11 times that we went back. What a lot of people don’t realize is after Bob Shaye (President of New Line) had come into the editing room and he thought that it was very disturbing, and cut out some stuff himself. He thought that it would have been banned in every country, and it was banned in a lot of countries but so were the previous two. It was definitely on the verge of being emasculated before even being submitted to the MPAA, and I would have thought just a few adjustments here and there – maybe a couple of times to go back…but eleven? It was front-page news in the trade papers then, and I think that the overall tone of the film was looked at as being nasty. The previous film (Chainsaw 2) had actually gone out unrated, and with the first film being so notorious, I think it was a combination of all of that, and now even the most unrated version of this would be rated R – that’s how far the pendulum has swung in the other direction.

DC: Looking back at the film after all this time – what would be one thing that you’d change about the movie?

JB: Oh god – any film director worth his salt would look back at any of their films and want to change stuff up, and with this being 28 years old, I can look back and say “oh yeah, I’d change this, this and this!” You grow and learn over the course of your time directing, and this was my third movie and my first without producers that I had known, so the main thing that I’d do today would be to make it a bit more politically savvy. I had always thought that they wanted me to put my vision on this film, and that wasn’t necessarily the case, so maybe I’d navigate those political waters a little better.

DC: Last thing, Jeff – what’s keeping you busy these days? Any projects to speak of?

JB: Oh yeah, I’ve got a couple of movies that I’m working on – I’m prepping a horror movie right now, and then I’ve got a comedy film that I’m doing after that. You haven’t heard the last of me! I’ve had a real up and down (mostly down) career, but I still love it – it’s what I love to do, and it’s still great that after 28 years people still want to talk about this movie, and are still watching it – that’s the greatest gift you can get, and I thank everyone that’s seen it and talked about it over all these years.

BUY IT NOW!

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