Event Review: Bruce Campbell in Person, 5 February, Cameo Cinema, Edinburgh

5 Feb

Bruce Campbell1

It’s not every day that a Hollywood legend arrives on your town to introduce their latest film. And that didn’t happen tonight at Edinburgh’s Cameo cinema. What did happen is that Bruce Campbell, star of B movies, horror films and various cult TV series made his way to the front of Screen 1 and took time to speak to his fans over a 30 minute period. And I got to ask a question.

Preceded by My Name Is Bruce, Campbell’s self-directed homage to his own career that acted as a trailer to his appearance, Campbell took to the makeshift stage in front of the 300 or so fans gathered in the auditorium with the words “you’ll have that song in your head for months!” in reference to the films theme song.

A round of applause from the crowd and it was straight into the questions. Though slightly reserved at the start, they ranged from what it was like to play Elvis in Bubba H0-Tep (“I got training from an Elvis impersonator and he gave up after 20 minutes”) to what films he shouldn’t have made (he agreed Congo was bad but “it looked good on paper!”) to which of his leading ladies he’d like to sleep with (“I’ve slept with a lot of them”).

I didn’t take a note of all the questions asked, partly because of the sheer speed things were going at and partly because it was so much damned fun. Campbell is a natural in front of an audience, barely a second passing before the next snappy response.

Bruce Campbell LiveOne subject that Campbell returned to a few times was that of movie remakes. Announcing that he’d never want to appear in one, he commented on the fact that they lack inspiration on the part of the writers and that audiences could stop them getting made now by simply not going to see them.

More Evil Dead films will never happen claimed Campbell, the example of Indiana Jones 4 used to explain how pointless it is for an old man to return to a character he played in his youth.

He also said how much he disliked superhero films, though this clearly doesn’t include the Spiderman films as he’s in all three…

The questions kept on coming: is he embracing his Scottish roots? (“I came here 20 years ago and told journalists I was Scottish – they told me I wasn’t! My ancestors were from Oban and moved to America in the 1700s. I did have my DNA tested and it turns out my ancestors were Basque!”); were there any roles he regretted not taking? (“No, if it’s a bad script you can’t make it better even with the best actors, directors and lots of money”); will he make a Bubba Ho-Tep sequel? (No, he didn’t like the script) and plenty more.

My own question was the very last one and was related to two very fine episodes of the US TV series Homicide: Life on the Street in which he starred. I remember watching them a few years back and was struck by the power of the performance, a side of the man we don’t usually see. Bruce explained that he was under contract to NBC at the time and they wanted him to be in the show. Creator Tom Fontana asked him to pitch ideas for a story, they loved his thoughts and they agreed to a two-parter.

Cameras were present on the night and I hope the cinema are able/allowed to publish the content on the internet – YouTube would be ideal for this sort of thing.

Bruce closed the event by thanking the audience for supporting the cinema, noting that without people going to places like the Cameo they’d shut down. As this very nearly happened a few years back I’d echo those sentiments – where else can you get to meet one of your hero’s and get to see his slightly iffy new film with a crowd of likeminded folk?

It was a fantastic night, with a real buzz in the air. We probably won’t see anything quite like that again, certainly not for a long time.

There’s more coverage of the Bruce Campbell event over at the excellent Filmstalker website.

Visit the official My Name is Bruce site for more information.

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3 Responses to “Event Review: Bruce Campbell in Person, 5 February, Cameo Cinema, Edinburgh”

  1. Ross 6 February, 2009 at 12:43 pm #

    It was a great event. I’m glad that the Cameo got it. I’ve have not been in such anticipation of an event in Edinburgh for ages and it didn’t disappoint.

    That’s how Q&As should be done; rapid-fire, no mediator, honest responses, letting people know if their question/comment was pointless.

    Bruce truly is a God among men and, after a pretty awful trailer, MNIB pleasantly exceeded all my expectations.

    Also, thanks for quoting the question I got ask about his Scottish roots!

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