by Lauren Piester | Sat., Oct. 31, 2015 7:00 AM
You've seen Lucy Lawless do some pretty insane things, but you've never seen her like this.
When the Xena and Spartacus star first joined Sam Raimi and her husband Rob Tapert's and new Evil Dead series, based on their Evil Dead film franchise, she really had no idea what she was signing up for, and she really didn't need to know.
"I didn't know what the role was until like episode nine," Lawless tells E! News, but there was "never a chance" she wouldn't take it anyway, even if it turned out to be more than she expected.
"Every job I do is pretty horrifying these days," she tells E! News. "On Spartacus, there was some terrible horrible stuff going on, but at least that was based in some kind of reality. Then I went on to Salem and I'm bleeding out virgins over a bath, and I'm stroking naked protégés to get rid of their burns, and I'm thinking this takes the cake, and then I get on the Evil Dead show, and everything else I've ever done has been blown away."
Lawless plays Ruby, who is somewhat of a foil for Bruce Campbell's Ash Williams. She's got quite a bone to pick with the show's reluctant hero since she's pretty certain he's responsible for the destruction of her family.
While Ruby is a fairly mysterious and unassuming figure in the first episode, with debuts tonight, Lawless promises that things are going to get both crazy and bloody, especially for her.
"It's becoming a thing now," she tells us. "Let's put Lucy in a bath. Make her naked, cover her in blood. I thought, now it's all over, and then I just got this call where they're like, you know that scene that didn't quite work? We think it's going to work better if you're naked. People always want me to kick ass, or be a dominatrix. This is how I'm perceived."
While we may have to wait to fully see Lucy in action, we won't have to wait long at all to see the series go full-crazy.
Take, for instance, the sex scene within the pilot's first few minutes in which a quickie in the women's bathroom of a bar takes a turn for the terrifying with an unexpected twist on the word "coming."
The pilot also features an old woman with fingernails perfect for eye-gouging, a scary talking doll, and a man with a chainsaw for a hand, who also happens to be this show's main character. So yeah, this is a horror comedy unlike anything you've seen on TV before.
It is, however, horror comedy kind of like you've seen in the movies before, because the Starz series is a continuation of the Evil Dead film franchise that began with a group of teenagers discovering the Book of the Dead in the cabin they were staying in and accidentally unleashing a whole bunch of evil.
The first movie, Evil Dead, was released in 1981, the second, Evil Dead II, in 1987, the third, Army of Darkness, in 1992, and a reboot in 2013. Not including a very brief post-credits appearance in the reboot, it's been 23 years since Bruce Campbell last starred as Ash Williams, and it's also been about 23 years since Ash Williams had to be the hero.
In the new series, , Ash is much older and forced to put his convenience store job on hold for a bit to fight a few monsters and save a few lives with his convertible chainsaw hand and the help of some newfound friends, including Ray Santiago, Dana Delorenzo, and Jill Marie Jones.
While the show is designed for anyone to enjoy, being a fan of the movies will still make the experience a little more enjoyable, and rewarding, according to showrunner Craig DiGregorio.
"You'll definitely pull more out of it," if you were a fan of the movies, DiGregorio tells E! News. "It is a big Ash journey this first season. It's a guy who's never learned anything in his life, who 30 years ago, called forth this evil, opened this book, basically ruined his life. He's never gone anywhere, he's never made any lasting relationships, no real friendships. I think if you know that about this character, that he's gone nowhere, and you know a little bit about the character in the past, it sort of makes you feel for him a little bit more."
At the start of the first episode, Ash looks like just about the most unlikely hero you've ever seen. Sure, he still looks like Bruce Campbell, but he also looks like Bruce Campbell as a convenience store stockboy. He's also, even amidst the insanity of everything going on around him, still very human.
"He's not Liam Neeson, running around like an ageless action hero," DiGregorio explains. "I love those movies, that's not who this character is. Even though he's larger than life and he's brash and he's selfish yet charismatic, he does have cracks. He's not immune to getting hurt. Yes, he may be a reluctant hero, but he is who he is. He's that age, and he gets tired, and he gets sad, and he gets betrayed by people."
Ash's humanity—and his age—will get a lot of play on the show.
"Showing that stuff is helpful, because it makes you realize like, oh yeah, even though he does have a chainsaw on his hand and lives in a weird trailer and hasn't grown in 30 years, there is something there that you can take out of the psyche of that person."
And of course, there will be blood. So much blood. Pretty sure the term "showers of blood" has been tossed around by various people involved with the show.
Just let the fact that the show premieres on Halloween give you a little hint as to what you're getting yourself into. Get ready for some seriously bloody fun.
Ash vs Evil Dead debuts tonight at 9 p.m. on Starz.
Check out Lucy Lawless on The Soup!
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