BRUCE CAMPBELL: DEFENDER OF B-MOVIES

Campbell makes no apologies for his B-movie roots – a background he has never truly left, as he continues to make low-budget genre movies as they come along, like the recent Sean S. Cunningham (Friday the 13th) Sci-Fi Channel production, “Terminal Invasion,” or Josh Becker’s black and white “real-time” heist picture, “Running Time.” At the same time, he is quick to decry the Hollywood excess and poor judgment and defend the b-picture world to the end.

“I think the b-movie world desperately needs to be defended,” he says. Bubba Ho-Tep is absolutely, no question about it, a B-movie. But the reason it’s a B-movie is because it’s low-budget, it has a script that’s extremely unconventional, it has sort of a cultish director, a cultish actor and a cultish writer. So, the overall point is that it’s a movie – Tom Cruise would never let himself play Elvis at 68. He would never sit there while someone lubes up his cancerous penis with ointment. It’s just not going to happen. That’s what’s cool about B-movies. If people are tired of watching that Taco Bell-tie-in summer action movie, then go look through the B-movies. You’ll find some cool stuff. That’s why B-movies should stop apologizing for themselves. B-movies – people don’t realize this either – B-movies are harder to make than A-movies. There is no formula and you don’t have the resources! If you have a problem with a scene, you have to work it out right there on the spot. You can’t go back and do weeks and weeks of re-shooting. I find them to be more handcrafted. If Sam Raimi knows that Spider-Man is coming out May 11, come hell or high water that thing has to be done. And I’m not sure if that’s always the best scenario for a filmmaker like Sam. You know back in the old days, Sam would take weeks and weeks and weeks to edit because as a low-budget filmmaker, you have that luxury. There’s a great irony about becoming an A filmmaker that you lose certain tailor-made luxuries. I think one guy who’s trying to hang onto that is Robert Rodriguez (Spy Kids), he’s in Austin and he edits out of his house.”

Campbell continues, “I have way more of a choice in the B world. In the A world, the attitude is ‘Hey, take it or leave it. You’re lucky to get this.’ Just because of the inherent snobbery of A movies. In the B-world, I even get choices. A producer will say, ‘Hey you want this role?’ And I’ll say ‘No, but the bad guy is a way better role. Could I take the bad-guy part?’ And the producer will say ‘Yeah.’ I mean you can’t just do that in an A movie. You can’t just say ‘Let me play the bad guy’. That’s a completely different scenario. It would throw them into a tizzy. The casting people have already lined up their bad-guy actors and it would just be too big of a deal. But the B producer will just go ‘yeah, sure’. As a result, that project would end up being kind of a fun gig. I always thought that was the idea. Aren’t you supposed to have fun making movies? Show me a Hollywood star and I’ll show you a miserable person. (laughs) The crap that they either put themselves through, or let themselves go through, it seems kind of depressing.

“I’ve been on enough A-movies where you can observe what’s happening. The pressure increases, so what happens, everyone starts forgetting that they’re having fun and they start thinking, ‘I’m making a big, giant, successful Movie. My character would never do this, that would be offensive.’ I love movies like Army of Darkness where you’re the hero, but you’re responsible for the deaths of hundreds of innocent people, because you screwed things up. I’ll take that any day, any day! Over any Hollywood leading man part.”

Meanwhile, he’s amused by the lack of attention given to Bubba, despite very positive reviews in genre movie publications. But neither is he particularly worried about the outcome. “That’s the beauty and horror of the truly independent movie. The words ‘independent movie’ are bandied about too much. If the financing entity is a fortune 500 company, it’s not an independent movie. I don’t care what the budget is. And honestly if you have foregone distribution, then it’s not independent either. You already know where it’s going to go. An independent movie, like Don did, he put the money together himself. It’s all private-sector money. We just took it on like everybody else. It will wind up somewhere, though, I’m sure. I don’t recommend a lot of the stuff that I do, but I do recommend Bubba Ho-Tep!”

The interview continues in part three of BRUCE CAMPBELL: DEFENDER OF B-MOVIES>>>




Posted on August 4, 2003 in Interviews by
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