Interestingly, it was just that approach that won over Campbell – a producer on the franchise since the very first film – who was originally one of the remake's most vocal detractors.
“It was interesting that it was Sam [Raimi] who was most for it, I was relatively indifferent, and Bruce was kind of dead-set against it,” says Tapert. “But the beauty of [Fede’s] pitch and what got Bruce aboard was there was no Ash character. And up until that time, that was the tripping point. Everyone else we spoke to had talked about…‘oh, let’s make Ash into this or do that’…none of those were the right thing that were gonna get it made. It was Fede that actually…brought that linchpin to getting the project made and of saying, ‘We’re not gonna deal with that, we’re gonna go in a different direction.’”
But will fans of the original series at least be given the satisfaction of a Bruce Campbell cameo?
“If Fede had his druthers, there’s a gag that they wanna do,” says Tapert, not sounding convinced of the idea. “[But] I don’t see it as having…it won’t sell another ticket, I say.”
Perhaps he’s right. Nevertheless, Campbell (unfortunately not on set during our brief visit) has been an active presence throughout the process of the remake’s development.
“Bruce...[sent] us an email that was just kind of like, ‘Don't worry about trying to copy anything that we did, or trying to make it anything like what we did, because what we did worked for a totally different reason than what you guys are trying to do,’” says cast member Lou Taylor Pucci, who sits down to chat with us in full “Deadite” makeup. “So I thought that was kind of cool. Everybody is on the same page about us making our own characters that [have] nothing to do with the original characters.”
Pucci, who counts himself as a major fan of the original film, predicts that old-school “Evil Dead” aficionados will be more or less evenly split in their reaction to the remake, with the deciding factor being their willingness to embrace a new spin on Raimi’s original.
“I think half of them are gonna love it and half of them are gonna hate it,” says the actor. “Because I mean really, it takes some of the best things from the old one, but it also gives some totally new ideas on it. I mean, you don’t care anything about those original characters at all. Some people love that you don't though, and some people would rather follow an actual story. And that’s what this is.”
On the monitor, we watch as David (Fernandez) pushes Mia (Levy) out of the cabin, shutting and locking the door behind her.
“No! No! No!” she screams frantically.
“Get outta here,” he says almost calmly through the door, as blood flows from a wound in his neck.
Several takes of this. And then a different scene, inside the cabin. Shaky handheld camerawork. Deadite Eric (Pucci) advances on David, blood streaming down the front of his shirt. Says the now-undead young man: “He’s coming for you."
Still inside the cabin. Different setup, same scene. David holds a shotgun on Deadite Eric - "get away," he warns. And then something else happens that I won’t spoil, but which is immediately preceded by the following line from Deadite Eric: “Join us…one more soul to rise.”
In the space of a few seconds Eric has fallen to his knees, a position he remains in for a moment before finally crumpling to the floor.