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Bruce Campbell embraces his 'Evil' side

B-Movie actor ready to make a splash at Portland's WizCon


by: COURTESY PHOTO - Sexy B-movie star Bruce Campbell of Southern Oregon will be one of the featured performers at Portland's WizCon Feb. 22 to 24 at the Oregon Convention Center.Bruce Campbell's legend lives on in scores of cult classic movies and television shows. He still lives off the fame of his roles in the "Evil Dead" movies, and currently stars in USA Network's "Burn Notice," which begins its seventh season of filming in March. And, when not working in Los Angeles and Miami, he escapes to his valley home outside of Jacksonville, the outback off the beaten paths of "iffy liberal" Ashland and "redneck" Medford.

And then there are the tattoos.

Campbell has an unofficial tally of 115 — the number of people who have sent him photos of tattoos on their bodies, either in tribute to himself or "Evil Dead."

"I encourage people to send me something," says Campbell, who admits to not having a tattoo of himself or an "Evil Dead" reference because, "I cause them."

One of the most memorable? "What Would Bruce Campbell Do?" he says. It's on the guy's stomach. Flattering, Campbell says.

A remake of "Evil Dead" comes out in April, produced by Campbell and partners, and the king of the "B" movies appears in our city at the Wizard World Portland Comic Con, Feb. 22 to 24 at Oregon Convention Center (wizardworld.com). Campbell, 54, makes the rounds on the "comic con" circuit, and he looks forward to appearing at the first Wizard World event in Portland. Among the other celebrities in attendance will be Spiderman creator Stan Lee, TV's Superman Dean Cain, "The Fonz" Henry Winkler (who has done a lot of interesting things in the decades since “Happy Days”), "Homeland" actress Morena Baccarin, WWE's The Miz and stars of "The Real World-Portland," as well as well-known artists.

"Portland is absolutely one of my favorite cities," he says. "I'm coming up early, and taking care of some business. If I didn't have to travel so much, I'd live there."

The comic book conventions are the best place to interact with fans, Campbell says, adding, "It's getting you out of the house to see your relevance in the world."

And? "I'm relevant enough to keep working," he adds.

Indeed, Campbell has been on the scene since the mid-1970s, and he doesn't make apologies for being synonymous with "B" movies.

"I find they have way more leeway to do crazier stories and endings and outrageous characters," he says. "A lot of them are terrible, because they're underfunded. Sometimes, you gotta do what you can.

"Cable is like the 'B' movie of television. I'm very happy in cable. They let us do more than on network," like drinking and smoking and carousing. "It's just real."

The remake of "Evil Dead," however, will be hitting the big screen worldwide April 5. Campbell teamed with Sam Raimi and Robert Tapert again in the remake, but he doesn't star in the movie. Jane Levy and Shiloh Fernandez star, directed by Fede Alvarez.

"We bowed to what amounted to public pressure to do another one," Campbell says. "Sam's doing the biggest movies in Hollywood, and I've been working on a TV show for six years. We didn't have time (until now). Hopefully, it's a slicker, better, more-funded version. ... It's better than I expected. The trailer has been getting fantastic response. Some fans have been skeptical, downright hostile, but I want to show them we mean business."

Campbell has appeared in too many movies to list, but with three minor roles in "Spiderman," he has rubbed elbows with the great Stan Lee.

Lee, 90, attends many "comic con" shows and, Campbell says (jokingly?), "he's got hot babes all over him."

He adds: "He's a fun guy."

Lee has signed up to appear at all the Wizard World shows in the next year. Portland kicks off an eight-show lineup, and will be on the 2014 schedule as well.

"It's like Moses walking through the building," says John Macaluso, Wizard World chief executive officer. "(Fans) get on their knees and howl. Stan is a beautiful, cordial, wonderful man."

Macaluso calls Campbell one of the classiest individuals in the industry. "He understands how important the fans are and giving back to the fans," he says.

Meanwhile, Campbell has lived in Oregon for several years, and describes the Pacific Northwest as "my favorite place on the planet." But, he spent only a part of a month at home in 2012.

"It's a fun mix of conservatives and liberal whack jobs," he says, adding that he belongs in the latter category. "I'm an actor. We're all whacks."