Lucy Lawless wasn't so happy with the 1981 horror "The Evil Dead." But never say never: a decade-and-change later she was married to its producer, Robert Tapper, and working with star Bruce Campbell and filmmaker Sam Raimi on the shows "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys" followed by her starring role on "Xena: Warrior Princess." Now the gang is back together with “Ash vs. Evil Dead,” the new show that picks up with Campbell’s Ash, the salty, one-handed, demon-battling hero of Raimi’s “Evil Dead” series. Lawless plays Ruby, and though she’s only around a bit in the first few episodes, she soon joins forces to fight the latest apocalypse, even if she’s mostly giving the older but still feisty Ash a hard time.
You only have what’s basically a cameo in the first episode.
There was more to that scene, but Sam found it too mean-spirited, so he cut it out. It involved my character smoking like a train, and some little kid comes up to her and tells her her mommy thinks smoking is dirty. And the kid gets a cup of coffee in the face. It was just too mean. [Laughs] It was funny, but a bit mean.
Your character’s not supposed to be a jerk.
Sam was saying it tells the wrong story. It would send the wrong message.
When you’re acting with Bruce, you probably don’t want to try and be too funny.
It’s better you get to be Dean Martin to Jerry Lewis. I would describe my character as an irritant. Ash is on a mission to save the world and she’s going to make it hard for him. She’s introduced slowly in the beginning, partly because I was working on something else in the middle of the show. Ash builds this ad-hoc family of misfits, and then you bring someone in who’s going to f— it all up.
She’s kind of the practical one, whereas he’s still very immature.
He’s a manchild, isn’t he? I think it was the right time to make the show. Ash at 45 is nowhere near as funny as him at 50-something. It’s hilarious that he has dentures. Ash has dentures! It’s funny that this lothario is gumming girls at night. It’s funnier at this age than 10 or 15 years ago. He has a girdle.
He seems to have gotten dumber.
He only got stupider! [Laughs] He’s dumb, he’s a little racist, he’s completely misogynistic and he has zero insight into other people. That’s why he needs his little believers. They’re his acolytes. Who could look up to Ash? Only a couple of morons.
I heard the first time you saw the original “The Evil Dead” you were nonplussed.
I got up and walked out. I couldn’t watch the rest of it. I thought these people should be in the ground. Then I was married to one of them 12 years later.
What caused the about-face?
I saw the second one, which was completely genius. Even though I was never into the Three Stooges, I could see this Bruce Campbell character was remarkable, throwing himself around the kitchen. A lot of that is the magic of Sam’s sensibility. And the unseen member in that relationship is Bob Tappert, who I’m married to, who makes it all happen practically — who has the attention span to do that over an entire series. He’s a phenomenally productive human being.