On Saturday afternoon at Ottawa Comic Con, fans lined up for their chance to see Bruce Campbell during his panel. The actor, well-known in the horror world for his role as Ash in The Evil Dead, The Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness as well as Sam Axe in the television show Burn Notice, drew hundreds of fans in who sat eagerly awaiting his arrival as a montage of clips played from Campbell’s films and shows.
When Campbell took the stage in a canary yellow suit jacket, he started off the panel like it was a bit of a stand up comedy routine. Without a moderator to guide the panel, Campbell pointed out that there were three seats on the stage instead of just one set up for him. The fans didn’t have to wait long to see what Campbell was planning though, as he explained that he wanted to fill the seats on the stage with “interesting people”, whether they had great stories, a good job or some kind of talent.
Many people, not surprisingly, worked for the government. “What’s with all the government jobs?” Campbell enquired, to which an audience member yelled back, “It’s Ottawa!” Campbell laughed and explained that he knew a couple Canadian cities, adding that, “Every time I come to Canada I feel like I have to apologize for my country.”
Campbell’s execution of the panel was something unique and involved more audience participation than just one person at a time asking questions that the actor has probably answered a thousand times over. Instead, he allowed the audience members to vote other attendees up to the stage, kick others off, and ask them questions. Campbell played the role of moderator, and even threw an impromptu “Ash-Off”, where he judged everyone’s Ash costumes onstage. There were six of them competing against one another; three ladies and three men.
“You have to make all your cosplays the same day or they don’t look as good. Like all the Ash cosplayers here today!”
Campbell lightly teased the cosplayers, commenting on all of their craftmanship from costume to weapons and noting that only one of the seven cosplayers managed to pull off the correct rip in the shirt, as well as had proper continuity in the way of blood on his face and costume. From there, Campbell chose a winner by audience reaction, and gave him $5.
Near the end of the panel, Campbell opened himself up to some questions, but he kept his answers short because he probably wanted to get through quite a few in a short period of time. One audience member asked Campbell what drew him into doing The Evil Dead, to which he responded, “Sam Raimi and I just decided, ‘screw it, lets make a horror movie!”
And what about a sequel to Bubba Ho-Tep? Well it looks like Campbell might be taking up the Elvis mantle again as he told the attendees Joe Lansdale was working on something with director Don Coscarelli. Nothing has been officially announced yet but it seems that a prequel to the film, titled Bubba Nosferatu: The Curse of the She-Vampires will begin filming sometime soon.
Most of Campbell’s replies were snarky, as to be expected, but with one fans question, “how much money would it cost me to cast you in a film?”, Campbell found even ground between the truth and his joking manner.
“While I can’t tell you how many thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars that may be, I think you are better off investing in a better script. Less whiskey, better script.”
Finally, the last question that was undeniably simple, “what’s next?” was the one that got the crowd cheering it’s loudest yet. Campbell announced that NBC had picked up Mission Control, a show that will be based in the 60s and feel like a comedy mixed with Mad Men.
“Mission Control is like Mad Men. With jokes!”
While not a lot of information has been released about the show, Will Farrell is one of the executive producers on board, it’s being directed by Don Scardino (30 Rock) and it stars Krysten Ritter (Jane Margolis in Breaking Bad). It’s described as Set in 1962, the workplace ensemble examines what happens when a strong woman butts heads with a macho astronaut in the race to land on the moon. NBC has ordered one season, but there is no news yet on a release date. Either way, it will be great to see Campbell back on television again; for now re-watching Burn Notice will have to do.
You can find additional photos of Bruce Campbell’s panel right here.