Cult horror actor and B-movie legend Bruce Campbell has been in his share of comic-book movies. Making his name as a favorite of director Sam Raimi, Campbell guest-starred in all three of Raimi’s Spider-Man movies (rumors sprouted he would have been Mysterio in a fourth). He even adapted his own comic, Man with the Screaming Brain (2005), into a starring vehicle.
But, these days, Hollywood’s current crop of dark superhero fare, high on CGI as they are, leaves a sour taste in his mouth. Speaking with Gizmodo at San Diego Comic-Con, Campbell said particularly he can’t get behind the likes of Batman v. Superman (BvS) artisanally or intellectually.
Stupid, Stupid, Stupid
BvS is notoriously perceived as a mess by its critics and Campbell might be one of its harshest, saying:
“But these guys who have this special superhero power, to me that’s Snoresville. If you don’t have kryptonite, then—Batman v Superman. Stupid, stupid, stupid concept. Never should’ve been made. Superman who can like, make the world go backwards with centrifugal force.
Batman can’t do that. Superman can frickin’ fly. He’s the man of steel. All he has—one hand on Batman’s esophagus, the story is over. So they spent a lot of money kidding themselves.”
The concept is silly, even on paper, when considering Superman’s powerset, but Batman has been able to hold his own against the Man of Steel. Dark Knight Returns, which BvS was heavily based on, comes to mind. Superman: Red Son — an Elseworlds tale being turned into an animated film — is another instance.
However, the actor’s problems with the superhero genre don’t end there. He is not a fan of costume constraints placed on performers either (and he insinuates why he really might not have taken the role of Mysterio):
“Who would be? I was just telling somebody—actors, like, “Oh, man, I wish I could be in one of those superhero movies. Man, I’d love to be Mysterio.” Let’s say Mysterio. OK. Congratulations. You’re Mysterio. Here’s your costume and you and you can’t even take a leak in this costume. But we’ve got a team for that. Don’t worry. But we’ve got tubes, things like that. So we’re going to be in this really uncomfortable outfit and you’re not really going to be anywhere.”
Tennis Balls on Sticks
And finally, he can’t really stand green screen effects. Campbell decries them as “completely fake” and overreliant on the fabled tennis ball on a stick:
“You’re in the king’s castle? Oh yeah, you’re on that chair, painted green in front of a green screen, and a guy right here, and you’re looking at that castle exploding.
Oh no. Oh no. Tennis ball on a stick. That’s what you’re looking at.”
He expressed his sympathies to Emilia Clark and Scarlett Johansson who have to work in such minimalist conditions much of the time, no matter where in the world they are scheduled to be.
Fortunately, there is an upside to today’s film market and technology. Campbell said it is easier than ever to make a film wherever you are and any aspiring filmmaker can stay local until they make it:
“If you don’t have any money to make a movie now it doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t matter. I can shoot an entire movie right here. No light. Not even those lights. You know so but the trick now is you still have to tell a story. Because it’s easier now. I tell people if you live in Buttcrack, Kansas, tell those stories! Tell a cool story from there! You don’t have to go to Hollywood. Get your camera from, you know, Kmart. We didn’t leave Detroit, Michigan until we made three different movies. Stay where you are.”
Now that Ash vs. Evil Dead is wrapped, Bruce Campbell is the new host of Ripley’s Believe It or Not airing Sundays on TRVL.
What do you think of what Bruce Campbell had to say? Leave a comment.