Season 3 of “Ash vs. Evil Dead” has Ash (Bruce Campbell) teaming up with two new players: Lindsay Farris as Dalton, leader of the ancient order the Knights of Sumeria, and Arielle Carver-O’Neill as Brandy, the daughter he never knew he had. The Groovy One has to fight determined Deadites, put up with The Knights, juggle fatherhood, and deal with Pablo’s (Ray Santiago) newfound Brujo powers.
“Join us,” won’t you, for our recent chat with O’Neill and Santiago on what we can expect in the third season of the campiest horror series on television.
Dread Central: Arielle, please tell us a bit about Brandy.
Arielle Carver-O’Neill: Brandy is a seventeen-year-old student and we first meet her when she’s serving detention in school and then gets attacked by evil. And in a series of very unfortunate events that follow, her entire reality, the world as she knows it, is shattered. She’s introduced to demons and evil and possession and stuff like that and all the classic Evil Dead things – and her father. Who she never knew existed.
DC: How come Brandy’s mom never told her about her dad?
ACO: I think she was very embarrassed about being married to a man with a chainsaw hand.
DC: Do you guys have a story arc or any big scenes together?
Ray Santiago: Let’s just say that there is a contained thriller moment between us.
ACO: That’s a good way of putting it actually.
RS: The world might be ending and we might be together! Now, is she good when the world is ending? I don’t know. Am I good when the world is ending? I don’t know. Are we both bad and we’re trying to take over the world? Who knows! No-one in this franchise can be trusted, especially the newbies. And what a dynamic it will be if Ash’s daughter turns out to be evil and is trying to take him out. What kind of dynamic will it be if everybody Ash has come to believe in, to be part of his Scooby gang, finally turns on him? So I will leave you with that! But she is Ash’s daughter and I will say this, I haven’t gotten very far with Kelly Maxwell in two seasons, I’ve been trying and I will try until the day I die again. But she is beautiful and she is young and I like that she’s got a lot of sass and attitude and so I think this season I’ve opened my eyes to looking at another girl that’s part of the Scooby gang so to speak, so you might get a little bit of that.
DC: We heard the Brujo powers you inherited from your grandfather might come into play even more in Season 3. Do tell!
RS: Bruhaha! Yes we have something planned for you guys this season that we like to call Brujo especialle. I think Pablo, you know it’s junior year for Pablo, after following Ash for three years, has really come to understand that maybe he was meant to fulfil his destiny in meeting Ash, in a way that he could never have imagined. He’s not just some random, undocumented dreamer here who ended up with Ash. He actually has a purpose. And his purpose is to follow in the footsteps of his uncle and his family of Brujos and we really get to see those seeds sort of flourish that we planted throughout the first two seasons. He will have powers that will help the team – or maybe not help the team – depending on what he decides to do with it. This season evil sees Pablo very differently and Pablo sees evil very differently. Okay yeah, there you go, that’s my spiel.
DC: Arielle, what was it like being the newbie in a series so saturated in blood, gore, goo, vomit… you name it.
ACO: I was warned. But I don’t think you can prepare for gallons of blood being dunked on you or shot at you. So it’s a process. I mean it tastes terrible, and usually after you get a blood cannon, some make up artists will run with a cup of water, a cup to spit in and some rags to wipe your eyes because you always get in in the eyes. But it is so much fun – I highly recommend for anyone to experience at least once in their life.
DC: Were you already aware of the Evil Dead universe before getting this gig?
ACO: No. Actually I’m a brand new fan of horror, thanks to this show. Because before this show I actually thought I couldn’t handle horror. That I would not cope with the horror genre and then when I got the audition for this, I was doing my research and I watched it and I couldn’t stop myself watching it. Finished it all in twenty four hours and it opened up a whole new genre to me that I had before, closed up from myself. So I had a lot of fun catching up on what I had missed out on for all those years, when I thought I couldn’t watch it.
DC: Any great father/daughter moments between Ash and Brandy?
RS: Well, there’s one that you have, where you do that thing, right at the end when you’re coming out that door – towards the very end you do something and he’s really proud of you…
ACO: Oh yeah, that’s a really good one. There is a wonderful father/daughter moment that happens, a beautiful moment of bonding and pride, when Brandy defends her father. Or maybe not – maybe it’s all part of a master plan – either way, it looks like she’s defending him and he’s very, very proud. I don’t want to ruin it because it looks pretty cool but I look forward to people seeing it.
ACO: He’s still Ash, even when he’s trying to be a dad. He doesn’t sacrifice any of his character or who he is. He stays very much the same. But I guess just with a little different kind of motivation behind him. He’s very protective and it’s actually kind of endearing to watch someone, who for so long you’ve seen as a kind of like a – using Kelly’s word – a dummy, actually put so much effort into being a good father, even though he actually has no idea what he’s doing. But he does get an A for effort.
DC: We noted a varsity vibe to the official Season 3 trailer. What’s up with that?
RS: Yeah, there is. I think a third of them are in school. I definitely spend a lot of time running through those hallways and this season we shot more out of order, episode wise, to accommodate certain schedules of certain guest stars, that you guys will love that we have on. So we shot out of order so I felt like I was in school a lot. What I like about Ash throughout the entire series is he acts like he’s going to give up but he actually doesn’t have the heart to turn his back on good people. And that is his daughter included. He will act like he doesn’t want to go save you but he just doesn’t have it in him to just walk away. And we got to see that from when he was mourning my death and went back in time to try and save me. I make a really good decision this season. One that unleashes my inner strength and changes me forever so that was really cool and really epic to shoot – shot it on a Saturday. I think everybody else had the day off. There’s just me and some buckets of blood, second unit director and I was lovin’ it! When you go to work on Saturday, you can get away with a lot!
ACO: I think that’s the one Saturday I had off.
RS: Yeah she worked every day – on multiple units.
ACO: It was a lot of work but it was great.
DC: We know there’s deeper delving into the mythology this season, including more time travel. So, I’m wondering: What would be the worst time in history for Pablo to go to?
RS: I would say now! This is probably the worst time (laughs).
DC: And Brandy?
ACO: I think probably any time where women didn’t have the freedom and rights they do now – even though we’re still working on getting more. I don’t think Brandy would cope very well with that. She’s very much a free spirit and quite rebellious, so I don’t think she’d deal well with any restrictions put on her by society.
DC: We heard scripts and even an idea of where the season is going are not revealed to the actors. How do you keep up, let alone learn so many lines?
ACO: You kind of find out as you are going along what’s happening. It keeps it fresh.
RS: You know, I spend most of my time talking to myself. And I don’t like to do it at home. What is do is record the other person’s lines and walk around the street and so I do the lines that way. But I wanted to say, you were talking about women and I think that’s what really cool, is even though our show is not serious and doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not, we do sort of take women and empowering women and showing them playing these great characters very seriously. And we also, at a time where it’s very sensitive to have a character that’s like Latino, playing a hero, we’ve taken both of those things and gone full throttle with it, I think it comes from the network. Trying to show that’s who they are as a network, believing in women and empowering minorities at a time when we’re trying to be broken down.
DC: Even though the show is pretty action-oriented and filled with horror and monsters, there’s still a heart to it. People care about what happens to everyone. How is that achieved, in your opinion?
ACO: I think it comes from the actors who play the characters. Between Bruce, Ray and Dana, they make the characters very real and very human and relatable and I think, even if they are very big and larger than life, they’re still at the core, I think they portray them very realistically and I think that makes them more personable. And I think you can learn to love that more as opposed to watching cartoon characters.
RS: I think what’s really interesting is in an interview we did last season they asked us, what does Evil Dead mean to you? And when the conversation got to Lucy, she said it means family and I think that Sam Raimi and Bruce and Rob Tappert, they were friends and they were people who had a dream to make something and I think in a weird way, that tone has always still been there and it continues to be there in making this with their family that they’ve created and it feels a lot like we’ve been welcomed into this family that created this franchise. And though I know it sounds weird but to me I think the heart comes from a group of guys that had a dream to make something and how crazy can they make it. And they keep it real.
Season 3 premiered February 25th on Starz.
“Ash vs. Evil Dead” is led by Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead, “Burn Notice”) in the role of Ash Williams; Lucy Lawless (“Salem,” “Spartacus”) as Ruby; Ray Santiago (“Touch,” Meet the Fockers) as Pablo Simon Bolivar, Ash’s loyal sidekick; Dana DeLorenzo (A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas) as Kelly Maxwell co-star alongside newcomers Arielle Carver-O’Neill and Lindsay Ferris. Lee Majors returns as Brock Williams to warn Ash from beyond the grave.
The third season finds Ash’s status in Elk Grove, Michigan, has changed from murderous urban legend to humanity-saving hometown hero. When Kelly witnesses a televised massacre with Ruby’s fingerprints all over it, she returns with a new friend to warn Ash and Pablo that evil isn’t done with them yet. Blood is thicker than water in the battle of good vs. Evil Dead!