Tomorrow night - Halloween - sees the premiere of the Ash Vs. Evil Dead series starring Bruce Campbell, Lucy Lawless, Jill Marie Jones, Dana DeLorenzo and Ray Santiago. At the recent New York Comic-Con, Cosmic Book News and a group of fellow journalists sat down with Lawless and Jones to get their thoughts on the new Starz series.
Lucy Lawless plays Ruby, described as a seductive and reclusive figure who has determined Ash has caused the supernatural massacre of her family over 30 years ago, and after all these years, she’s finally closing in on him.
Jill Marie Jones is playing Amanda Fisher, a disgraced Michigan State Trooper set to find the anti-hero Ash and prove his responsibility in the grisly murder of her partner.
Lucy, after X-Files, Xena, and now Ash Vs. Evil Dead, would you consider yourself the Queen of Cult?
Lucy Lawless: Gee. I would like to take that credit, but you can't take anything away from the high priestess Sigourney Weaver. She is the be-all and end-all to me.
What do you feel about women superheroes in film?
Lucy Lawless: I would like to see a few more female action heroes in the movies. It's just bloody nonsense, they think that's not bankable. Well, that just annoys the hell out of me. Have we not had one since Red Sonja? When was the last time? There was Catwoman...
The ratio of women to men in fandom has really grown, and gaming and everything. Women are a much bigger presence so perhaps they are figuring out that market is worth tapping. It's always economics.
Was the chance to work again with Bruce Campbell a reason why you joined the show?
Lucy Lawless: A huge reason.
When they asked you to do Ash Vs. Evil Dead, what did you think?
Lucy Lawless: It's the family business, and he is family. I love Bruce, and to play an irritant to him... Because let's face it, the "x-factor" in Evil Dead is seeing that schmuck in pain [laughs]. So if I get to be the deliverer of pain, that's a good thing.
Would you consider yourself a villain of the series?
Lucy Lawless: She's an antagonist. She's gunning for [Ash].
Ash is known as a ladies man, will that relate to your character?
Lucy Lawless: Yes. I think she is a little obsessed with him, but in a really hateful kind of way. [Ash] is responsible for the death of her family, with Professor Knowby in the original series, which gives her a reason to go after him.
You mentioned wanting to see more female leads. Ash Vs. Evil Dead has three kick-ass female leads. Do you think there is any pressure because of that? That the show has certain expectations that you have to look up to?
Lucy Lawless: It's a pretty natural fit. I would love to play a victim. I've only been allowed to do that once or twice, but I don't think it's very funny - is the problem - and this show is going to be wall-to-wall funny. In this case, it means I'm playing the straight man (editor's note: straight man is a stock character in comedies), but that's funny. The situation is funnier when you're the straight man. You can't out-funny Bruce Campbell. He is his own crazy animal. Somebody doing his shtick, it just doesn't work. It's just not as entertaining. Bruce is the king of this hill of beans.
Do you have a most memorable moment while filming?
Lucy Lawless: Some things I don't want to tell you because... there are hidden things. I don't want to spoil it, but it was fun putting that stuff in.
Do you have a lot of action scenes?
Lucy Lawless: I have some action scenes. Not really compared to what I used to do. Thank God, because I always hated it [smiles], but it's enough. I'll be at the chiropractor for weeks -- "action isn't as easy as it used to be" [laughs]. It was really cold [filming in New Zealand]. We used to do action all through the Winter and it was freezing, but we were twenty-something. Now your body is thermally cold. Nothing works the way it used to. It's disastrous. Doing action is really hard.
How did this compare to filming Agents Of SHIELD?
Lucy Lawless: It's a completely different vibe. Marvel is very, very super secretive about everything, so it's very structured. Everybody is following rules. This one is like they are all the naughty kids at school who got together and are in the film club. It's like that. The comedy environment is just more fun to be in than drama. The more relaxed you are the more creative you are. Really good ideas go around. It's greater than the sum of its parts, whereas if you are slaving to structure - because Marvel is such a massive organization - you've got to do it right. You've got to do it their way. It's a comedy. It's a whole different ball of wax.
Were you a fan of the Evil Dead movies?
Lucy Lawless: Oh, don't you know the story? [smiles] No. I saw it when I was 16 [with] my first boyfriend, who was a year older, and his friends were going to watch this really cool movie at Nick Cameron's house in Aukland, New Zealand. I walked out after the first five minutes of the first movie going, "The people that made this movie are sick! Misogynistic motherfuckers! They should be in jail!" [laughs] And 12 years later I was married to one of them. Never say never. I loved the second two.
However, this show takes on very much of the character of the second and third Evil Dead. Sam wants it to be true horror and then true comedy. It's not spoof-horror. Not at all, because that has no tension. You know like Scary Movie? That doesn't really have tension. [Sam] wants the horror to be real.
Lucy, can you tell us about your character and Jill's?
Lucy Lawless: Jill, who plays Amanda Fisher, and my character, Ruby Knowby, team up, and we are Thelma & Louise gunning for that moron [points to Bruce Campbell across the room] and his two loser mates.
Jill: Just being two bad ass chicks, basically.
Lucy: We like each other [laughs].
Jill: Yeah, we do.
Jill, were you a fan of Evil Dead?
Jill: I was more into Freddy, Jason and Halloween, but I was like "more blood, please." It's up my dark, dirty road. I'm loving it.
Lucy: Will you stop talking about your dark, dirty road?
Jill: It is. It's dark. It's dirty. It's great, but I definitely watched them.
Lucy: So Jill is from Texas. She looks amazing with a gun. I look lame with a gun...
Jill: We were just talking last night. When [Lucy] had the sword, I was girl crushing hard. I was like, "Oh my god that's Lucy Lawless. She's wielding that thing like she..."
Lucy: I can do swords and things. Give me a gun, I just look pathetic. Anyway, [Jill] is this really cool cop that my character hooks up with. She's on my team.
Jill: What I really love are the three female leads are really kick ass strong women. Not waiting for the man to come and save them. 'You know what? I got this. I can handle that on my own.' So that wasn't something more so I was attracted to.
"Ash Vs. Evil Dead" airs Saturday, October 31st at 9pm ET on Starz and a second season has been announced.
Watch the first four minutes: