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Thursday, April 30, 2020

Fede Alvarez Reflects on Ash Almost Appearing in ‘Evil Dead’ and Teaming With Mia in a Sequel [Interview]

After decades of begging for the return of Ash in a fourth Evil Dead, fans were offered a glimpse of hope in the closing seconds of the Fede Alvarez-directed Evil Dead back in 2013.

While Bruce Campbell didn’t appear in the actual film, which Alvarez has previously explained is a direct sequel to Sam Raimi‘s The Evil Dead (1981), he does cameo in the final seconds of the end credits. But before this playful “button” was tacked onto the credits, Alvarez had planned to have Ash actually appear in the film’s epilogue, sharing the screen with Mia.

In the extended cut of the film, Jane Levy‘s Mia is picked up on the road by a truck driver after her horrifying ordeal. The original plan, Alvarez confirms in a chat with Bloody Disgusting’s The Boo Crew Podcast this week, was for the truck driver to be Ash Williams.

“The true story was… I wanted Bruce Campbell to be that guy, I wanted Ash to be the guy that picks her up,” Alvarez confirms.

Ultimately, it was Campbell himself who shot down the idea.

Alvarez explains, “I shot it in a way that was very simple for me to get Bruce and get him to do the cameo at the end. But then Bruce was like – and he was totally right – ‘I just feel like it’s gonna be like I’m the milkman and just show up…and I think that’s not special.’ [Bruce] was right, it was very hard to give a real reason why Ash will show up, and a coincidence that Ash would drive by and find a dying Mia. So, he decided not to do it. I did do a mock-up of it. So there’s a version of that ending, with Bruce’s face glued to [the truck driver’s face].”

As for the actual button at the end of the credits where Bruce exclaims, “Groovy,” Alvarez offers this fun anecdote from the sound mix, which Campbell was highly engaged in.

He recalls, “One day I just show up with a very small camera and was like, ‘Come with me, Bruce.’ I took the lamp from my desk, I put it behind him and another in front of him, and he’s like, ‘What the fuck are we doing?’ I was like, ‘We’re doing your cameo in the movie!’ And he’s like, ‘You’re kidding?!’ I was like, ‘Yeah, yeah, you’re going to be in the movie and you’re going to be standing there, and you’re just going to look at me for a second and just say groovy.’ It was a very low budget shot.”

Not only did Alvarez originally want Ash to appear in his Evil Dead, firmly tying the film to the original classic, but he also confirms that the plan for the sequel was an Ash/Mia team-up!

Alvarez has been teasing an Ash-Mia team-up since the San Diego Comic-Con back in 2013. Now, he reveals to the Boo Crew that they had actually worked out a story for that sequel.

We started writing a sequel [right away] – thinking about what the sequel is going to be. We all agreed it was going to happen,” Alvarez reveals. “Rodo [Sayagues] and I started thinking about it. We had the full story and then basically, it was strange…the whole intention was to do that, to team [Ash and Mia] up. That was always the goal, but I think Sam had different goals. Sam wanted to have Bruce back for the TV show that came out a few years after that. It was complex to make the movie at the time and whatever mythology we were going to create with them, and it would have been complicated for the show because Sam had his own ideas of what would happen to Ash, and he wanted to tell that story.”

“So that’s why…it [ended up] not happening,” he adds.

Alvarez had also toyed with the idea of Ash and Mia being related, he tells The Boo Crew. “We did have a lot of intentions of doing that,” he says. “And she still might be related. If she is, she doesn’t know. We had a very complex character past for [Mia]. And David. They were siblings but they had different parents – different fathers. So yes, they might be related.”

The current plan for the Evil Dead film franchise, alas, is a new movie from a new director that likely won’t be connected to Alvarez’s film at all. That movie is in the works as we speak.

You can listen to the entire Boo Crew podcast with Fede Alvarez below.

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