Lucy Lawless Walked Out of the Evil Dead Movie

Ash vs. Evil Dead Star Calls It a 'Trick of Fate'

by | November 6, 2015 | Comments


The deadliest force Bruce Campbell faces in Ash vs Evil Dead may not be the Deadites after all — it may be Xena herself. Lucy Lawless plays a new character in the Ash vs. Evil Dead TV series and she’s not too happy with Ash.

Lawless has her own history with Evil Dead in real life. Evil Dead creators Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert produced Xena: Warrior Princess (and she got married to Tapert). She also worked with them on Spartacus.

Over the summer, Rotten Tomatoes sat down to lunch with Lawless before Starz presented their Ash Vs Evil Dead panel to the Television Critics Association, and we couldn’t wait to find out how she’s going to give Ash more hell than he’s already been through!

Fred Topel for Rotten Tomatoes: Were you ever interested in The Evil Dead before you married Rob Tapert? 

Lucy Lawless: There was some talk about it for the last 10 years. Rob’s kind of the television guy so he would want to do it in the television format, but figuring out what that is and writing it, it’d be easy to mess this one up… Fans have very high expectations. You don’t want to let them down. I think it was just time now because Bruce was of the age where it was now funny to go back and find Ash exactly where we left him. Now he’s an aging Lothario and it’s hysterically funny.

Rotten Tomatoes: Do your fans have very high standards for what they see you in?

Lawless: My fans are very forgiving. I don’t get any negativity about not playing Xena, because every role cannot be a feminist icon. Sometimes you want to play the victim. Sometimes you want to play somebody who’s weak. They seem to stick with me throughout so I’m very grateful for that, but if you were to remake Xena, look out if you in some way don’t honor the original intent of the show, the friendship. You would have a lot of fan expectation. They feel a lot of ownership I think over it.

Rotten Tomatoes: Did you appear in the first episode of Ash Vs. Evil Dead? 

Lawless: I’m there but like Jaws, I’m a fin, I’m a shadow. I’m a music sting — dun dun dun dun dun dun duh — but I’m coming. I’m tracking him down.

Rotten Tomatoes: Tell us about her.

Lawless: My character is obsessive about getting to Ash Williams and putting him down like a dog, because he’s responsible for the Deadite plague. She holds him responsible for the death of her father, Professor Knowby, who was the original holder of the Necronomicon back in the movies. So she lost her family. She’s looking for payback.

Lawless with Bruce Campbell at the Ash vs. Evil Dead premiere (Photo by Kevin Winter / Getty Images)

Rotten Tomatoes: Doesn’t that mean her sister was also there in the cabin with Ash in Evil Dead II?

Lawless: Right.

Rotten Tomatoes: Is the Evil Dead style of action very different than anything you’ve ever done before?

Lawless: Every time I do a new show, I think, “Well, this is the most outrageous thing I’ve ever done.” On SalemI was bleeding out young virgins over a bathtub and washing down my young protege in virgin’s blood to take away her burns so I’m thinking, “This is absolutely the most grotesque setup for a scene ever.” And then come on Ash Vs. Evil Dead and I have those moments every other day. It takes the cake in every direction.

Rotten Tomatoes: Do you get drenched in blood?

Lawless: I’m the one character so far who has managed to avoid that, but I do come in contact with a pretty horrible bonfire at some point.

Rotten Tomatoes: Sam Raimi likes to throw eyeballs in leading ladies’ mouths, so watch out.

Lawless: [Laughs] That says it all actually. The show is like throwing eyeballs in ladies’ mouths. It’s going to shock you. It’s really distasteful and we don’t apologize, and really, really funny.

Rotten Tomatoes: Do you get to be funny?

Lawless: No, the thing with the show is that nobody can occupy the same space as Ash. Bruce Campbell is a force of nature and a beloved, brilliant performer. You can’t have two Bruces in a show, so you’ve got to play it really straight. Everybody else plays it really straight and therefore it’s funny. You’ve got to be the straight man.

Rotten Tomatoes: You’ve done historical drama recently with Salem and Spartacus. Was it nice to get back to something modern day?

Lawless: Oh, I love modern clothes. I love modern clothes. I wear a lot of tight pants in this, to be honest. Thank God for spandex, that’s all I can tell you.

Rotten Tomatoes: Did you see the Evil Dead movies in their time, before you married Rob?

Lawless: I didn’t see them in their time. I saw them when I was 17 and I stomped out after the first five minutes where the girl gets, shall we say, mutilated by the evil roots of the tree. I was so mortally offended that I got up and I stomped out saying, “These people are misogynists and sick and that movie’s awful.” Twelve years later, I was married to one of them. Trick of fate.

Rotten Tomatoes: Have you gone back and reconsidered the earlier movies?

Lawless: You know what, I haven’t but I should do that. I’ve seen Evil Dead II a number of times and this is more like that. It’s more like the later Evil Deads. It’s obviously that brilliant slapstick comedy and Bruce, to this day, will trip himself and fall just to make me laugh. I’m a great laugher. I’m not good at telling jokes but I’m a great laugher so I’m his best audience.

Rotten Tomatoes: Are you shooting out in the woods like the classic Evil Dead movies?

Lawless: Yes, lots of woods. You’re going to love it. You’re a real fan, aren’t you?

Rotten Tomatoes: Yeah, Evil Dead II was the first movie that really made me take notice of filmmaking and how you could do different things than traditional films. The way Sam uses the camera, like the eyeball cam. I actually saw II first.  

Lawless: As you say, technically that was really innovative use of cameras. Sam really pioneered some stuff that everybody uses now.

Rotten Tomatoes: Is Ash Vs. Evil Dead bringing that back?

Lawless: Yeah, it’s horror and it’s comedy, but it’s not at the same time. This is not like Scary Movie because the horror has to be real. I think that’s very much a Sam thing. Also, his kooky sensibility like eyeballs into ladies’ mouths. Even the word “ladies” in that sentence is funny, right? There’s a certain uncanniness to the execution of the shows. The trick is how do you sustain this over 10 episodes? That’s why the half-hour format is really brilliant. It’s how young people watch now. You’ll record it all and then watch it in an orgy of craziness. This is going to play at your house on an endless loop for years, and in frat houses across the country, not that you live in a frat house.

Rotten Tomatoes: I never did, but now I hope you don’t think I’m really into violence. It’s the comedy of the Evil Dead movies I love.

Lawless: I’m not judging you, baby. Me too. The show is violent. I’ve not shied away from violence in my life because that’s some of the more intense parts of human nature and the human experience. We’re not making a bloody sitcom here. We are nasty, we are distasteful and very, very funny. If you don’t like these things, it’s best you stay away.

Episode two of Ash vs. Evil Dead airs Saturday on Starz at 9 p.m. Read season one reviews here.

  • ironfist1

    This show is AMAZING,, if you like the “Evil Dead” series you will love
    this show, and Lucy Lawless is AWESOME,, Loved her in “Spartacus”

    • bshaef

      who could ever forget Lucy Lawless in Spartacus. Great show.

      • Jessica Neema

        she was a godess next to Illythia. I mean those women stole the show.

  • markit8dude

    Ugh.. Lawless sounds like a feminazi.

    I guess she ‘forgot’ about the ‘adult film’ she made for the public.

    But another faux ‘feminist’

    Besides, ‘Xena..’ I couldn’t get into it. Perhaps my being a confident masculine guy who’s not intimidated by women wasn’t for its intended
    .. well kind of, genetically speaking ‘male’ audience.

    That being said, Ash vs.. is AWESOME.

    • Ybrik222

      Da fuq you on about mate.

    • Belleamie47

      Every person who believes in equality for men and women is by definition a feminist. There’s no need to equate such a belief with Nazism. She never made an adult film, and even if she had, that would have no direct relationship to whether or not she is a real feminist or a “faux feminist,” whatever that is.

      • pixelaided

        Let me explain “faux feminist” to you…

        Lucy Lawless walked out of Evil Dead because she felt it was misogynistic. However, Lucy Lawless was happy to accept a check to walk around in her Xena outfit. But, if one male called her hot or sexy, she would cry “misogynist”.

        I’m sure she would have been fine with the tree in Evil Dead violating a male. Funny how she relaxed her views on Evil Dead once they cut her a check..or she started screwing the producer. If she were a REAL feminist, she would have declined the role based on her feminist beliefs (because raping trees are misogynistic).

        Ask yourself, would we be having a discussion about Lucy Lawless if she were 5′ and 300lbs?

        • CharlieAdamsInKY

          Piss off, terrified little juvenile. Resign yourself to having sex with your hand.

        • Jesse Nickell

          Sam Raimi, over 15 years ago, said he regrets filming that scene in ED1, and blamed his “youthful immaturity” and “lack of experience with women” (then threw in a joke about how Bruce was the ladies man, not him) — and that he later filmed the non-rape tree-attack scene in EV2 to “make it how he should have the first time”. Meanwhile, Lucy Lawless never said men shouldn’t find her attractive in her Xena costume. And why do you say she would be okay if it were a male raped? You have no reason to believe that. Nothing you said here has any logic or merit, and isn’t about Lucy Lawless, Evil Dead, or Xena, it’s about your warped perception of other people.

        • knossis

          Who cares! Why do men care if women say they don’t like something in a movie, or if women decide to stand up for their rights? You do know that females are the default form for all mammals. Meaning that mammals want to become female first, not male. For a male mammal to be produced a special hormone has to be produced to destroy the female organs inside the mammal. While within the mammal that will become female, no hormone needs to be produced to destroy the male organs, they just wither away. We have lived under this myth that males are supposedly superior to females and we attempt to crush any attempt by females to say I am equal. We do this at the detriment of our own society. Luckily science is proving these outdated ways of thinking wrong. All mammals default form is to be female, not male. For how else would humanity survive. The female form is the procreator of all life. Men would do well to understand this, and start honoring females for who they are and what they bring to the table. We need to stop being so insecure, that we are afraid to let women have equal standing with us.

      • Jesse Nickell

        Sam Raimi himself, on the Evil Dead 1 commentary, said he regrets that scene (that’s why he redid the scene in EV2 but removed the rape). Is Sam Raimi a feminazi now? Meanwhile, she said she likes Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness — both considered by fans to be the best. You don’t really have any idea what you’re talking about, but you obviously have some unresolved issues.

      • DoctorKillpatient

        Feminism has nothing to do with equality between men and women, cupcake. You’re deluded if you honestly believe that. You can’t force equality on something that are not equal. The goal of feminism is to debilitate men while benefiting women. Feminism has always been a man-hate club for women and that is what it will always be.

    • Bodeanicus

      Aw, look at the little warrior taking on the meanie girls. You’re adorable, sweetheart.

    • Cindi Beauchamp

      “Faux feminist” & “feminazi”, said no confident masculine guy unintimidated by women ever.

      • markit8dude

        ‘Intimidated’ – by women let alone a mediocre actress?

        Sorry cupcake that’s nowhere near my wheel well.

        I don’t wear tight pants, pointy shoes, a crumpled beanie atop my head when it’s 40+ degrees nor sponge wifi at a coffee shop for hours on end.

        I fish (went fly fishing just yesterday actually), hunt, own guns, drive & work on a 4WD vehicle myself, play in & listen to 70’s-early 80’s metal & am married 10+ years to an educated, no nonsense woman that could be twins with Jennifer Connelly.

        I recommend trolling someone else or elsewhere, sweetie.

        • DarkoCool

          Let me guess she’s your cousin! Ok low blow but heh it’s the internet. AmIright…

        • Zsnake Pliscon

          the name of the movie was evil dead, whats not evil about a tree rapeing a girl. sounds damn evil to me!

    • DarkoCool

      Please don’t be a Big Lebowski fan. Please don’t be a Big Lebowski fan. Dammit! I’m a confident, masculine guy who happens to love Xena by the way. You’re just an ass!

      • markit8dude

        Guys who like Xena/ Lawless are as pathetic as a ‘brony’

        Liking Lebowski AND Xena is inconceivable.

        You may as well alude to liking Judas Priest & Celine Dion..!

        Nonetheless sport ‘thanks’ for your ‘thought provoking’ post.

        • Blanket-Man

          Some people call it “eclectic.” I can listen to Led Zeppelin one day and Neil Diamond the next. Nothing wrong with enjoying artists/movies from completely different genres.

    • angry

      lawless is a proud feminazi… figures she’d have problems working with bruce in a series where she’s not in charge of the jokes, writing, general frame around the character interactions being gynocentric…
      But all feminazis are like that in hollywood. Sadly, they’re getting to a point where in spite of the ‘pay gap’ they’re steering more and more content to be framed this way and making the males of hollywood nothing more than exploited for sex or jokes, the type of thing they stand against… oh only if it’s women of course.

    • angry

      lawless is a proud feminazi… figures she’d have problems working with
      bruce in a series where she’s not in charge of the jokes, writing,
      general frame around the character interactions being gynocentric…
      all feminazis are like that in hollywood. Sadly, they’re getting to a
      point where in spite of the ‘pay gap’ they’re steering more and more
      content to be framed this way and making the males of hollywood nothing
      more than exploited for sexual or jokes, the type of thing they stand
      against… oh only if it’s women of course.

  • BillH

    how often does Sam Raimi throw eyeballs into ladies mouths?

  • My favorite TV series ever!

  • HeyZeusKreesto

    I really need to watch this show. Loved the movies, even the remake, and could always use some more Bruce Campbell.

  • bshaef

    Ash and Pedro are cool. I enjoy watching them and they are funnier than a barrel of monkeys.

  • Merlin

    Love Rob and Lucy but…Lucy the cigarettes will ruin your natural beauty. I’m sure everyone tells you the same.

  • angry

    I knew lawless would be the downfall of this perfectly good series the moment her aged ugly face appeared on it. Why must all male protagonists answer to a woman now? Why can’t female antagonism just be accepted as a possible frame ONCE IN AWHILE? Why can’t the feminists just stop repressing the men of the earth and the male spirit? What happened to equality? Was that EVER even on the table?

    • Craig Stephen Tower

      Yeah, we should all listen to a guy who uses the pseudonym “angry”, because he’s so well adjusted.
      Men are the ones being repressed? Not any men I know. But then we don’t find the idea of a woman giving as good as she gets (and getting as good as she gives) to be some sort of threat to our masculinity.
      jesu christi, you MRAs are such a bunch of p#ssies.

  • Mark Pendleton

    Is it me, or is the headline to this article misleading? I didn’t see anything in this article telling us why she walked out.

    • Florian Almagest

      Lawless: I didn’t see them in their time. I saw them
      when I was 17 and I stomped out after the first five minutes where the
      girl gets, shall we say, mutilated by the evil roots of the tree. I was
      so mortally offended that I got up and I stomped out saying, “These
      people are misogynists and sick and that movie’s awful.” Twelve years
      later, I was married to one of them. Trick of fate.

      So she thought the scene was rapey as hell, and it made her feel extremely uncomfortable. Sam Raimi eventually came to agree.


      (By the way, I wouldn’t put it past her to have known the word “misogynist” at 17. Seriously. 🙂 I bet she eats baby boys every day for breakfast because she’s such a big ole feminaaahzeee supervillainess. That was sarcasm, for you whiney MRA douchetrolls.)

      • UrshenNevaar

        Hello there, I advocate for both the rights of men and women, that by necessity, makes me an MRA, and a WRA.

        To some, that makes me a feminist… Whilst I do not subscribe to the ideologies of feminism or, for that matter, identify as one, I would ask you this question.

        GIVEN, one: from you’re apparent position, you would call yourself a feminist, and given two: that feminism advocates for the equal rights of both men and women. Are you not also by NECESSITY of feminism’s stated goal of ‘gender equality’ an MRA as well?

        If not, then I must have misunderstood you, in which case; never mind.

        If yes, then if you would be so kind to permit me one more question –

        why have you just attempted to use the acronym’d term ‘MRA’ as a disparaging term?

        • That commenter is flying the anti-Christian hate flag for icon, so, well… just don’t expect much from the comments therefrom.

  • selderane

    I’m not a fan of the half-hour format. I really wish they gave the show room to breathe instead of having to jam in a monster fight that takes up half the episode or more.

    There’s probably as much monster fighting as your average episode of “Supernatural” but that show has an additional act to, well, breathe.

  • XanderZane41

    The show is awesome. Really over the top crazy, bloody, creepy, scary action. Bruce is one again at his best here. The other cast members do a great job complimenting him throughout. Definitely a must see if you liked the Evil Dead movies. Glad to see Lucy L. partaking in this great adventure. I watched all the Xena episodes and was a big fan of Hercules as well.

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