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Live for Films talks to Ash vs Evil Dead’s Ray Santiago

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Ash vs Evil Dead is back! Series two of the STARZ Original show will be exclusively available to Virgin Media TV customers in the UK from the 3rd of October.

Series two of Ash vs Evil Dead – the long-awaited follow-up to the classic horror franchise, The Evil Dead – will comprise ten 30-minute episodes, with each episode released at 6.00am each Monday on Virgin TV, to coincide with each episode’s release date in the US.

The second season roars back into action with Ash leaving his beloved Jacksonville and returning to his hometown of Elk Grove, Michigan. There, he confronts Ruby, and the former enemies have to form an uneasy alliance as Elk Grove soon becomes the nucleus of evil.

The star-studded cast includes: Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead) in the role of Ash Williams, Lucy Lawless (Xena: Warrior Princess, Battlestar Galactica) as Ruby, Ray Santiago (Meet the Fockers) as Pablo Simon Bolivar, and Dana DeLorenzo (A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas) as Kelly Maxwell.

Joining the series this year are: Michelle Hurd (Law & Order: SVU) as Linda B., Ash’s high school love; Ted Raimi (Xena: Warrior Princess, Spider-Man) as Chet Kaminski, Ash’s childhood best friend; and Lee Majors (The Six Million Dollar Man, The Fall Guy) as Brock Williams, Ash’s father.

I recently chatted to Ray Santiago who plays my favourite, non-Ash, character on the show: Pablo. Very funny and very proud of his place on the programme, Ray was an absolute blast to talk to, and we chat about him being part of the Ross and Rachel of horror television, basing his deadite voice on Eminem, and if the show is going to intersect with any of the upcoming movies.

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Hey Alan, what’s up? It’s Ray Santiago.

 

Hi Ray! I’m Alan from Live for Films. It’s great to talk to you, how’s it going?

Good, good, man.

 

Awesome. I loved series one of Ash vs. Evil Dead, and am extremely excited to see season two, and very eager to pick your brain about all things Evil Dead related, if that’s cool with you?

Absolutely! That’s what I’m here for.

 

Brilliant. Let’s crack on. First off: what is like working on Ash vs. Evil Dead? Is it a lot of fun, or a lot of hard work?

Well, it’s both! Lucy (Lawless) tends to say that it’s less fun than it looks, but I like to think that it’s a pretty good job! When I was a kid, I wanted to be a superhero – the good guy saving people from the monster, and running from the monster – and now I get to do that. I’m the first Latino sidekick in a horror comedy TV show and I am super stoked to have that opportunity because every day on Ash vs. Evil Dead is like Halloween. We play dress-up, there’s blood all over the place, there’s monsters, there’s demons, there’s deadites, and we have tons of laughs.

 

And is it fun working with Bruce and Lucy?

Bruce Campbell is a perfectionist. He makes the worst lines sound so good, and he hits them out of the park on the first take so it’s an awesome job. I get to work with so many great people, like Lucy Lawless and Bruce, who are cult classic icons.

 

You mentioned all the monsters and gore – have you got a favourite monster you’ve battled, or a favourite kill so far?

I would probably say that my favourite monster would be the Necronomicon. There’s a… I have a connection to the Necronomicon that is undeniable this season, and last season, and there’s nothing I can do to escape the Necronomicon – it’s like a bad girlfriend that I need a restraining order from.

[both laugh]

You know, having that book on my face was pretty awesome, getting to go from sweet naïve Pablo to the dark Necronomicon Pablo, and having that deep voice and being a little bit evil, so it’s kind of nice to do that. I have a kill right at the end of this season – can’t reveal that – but it’s my favourite kill, and the entire gang is involved.

 

Nice. How did you go about deciding on what your deadite Pablo voice would sound like?

I [laughs] I actually used to do to this voice, imitating Eminem on a rap song many, many years ago. It’s a really obscene song and there’s this voice that he puts on, and I used to do this other thing where I had like a bizzaro voice box and I combined them, watched a lot of horror movies, and tried to come up with the physicality of what having the Necronomicon take over my body would be. It was pretty amazing, and I did hurt my voice doing it, and they did use the voice that I put on – they didn’t put a lot of effects on.

 

Tell me about how Pablo is different this season.

This season… Pablo is a little bit darker this season – partly from the trauma of having the book on his face, and birthing demons out of his mouth. He is not as sweet and naïve anymore – he is sort of disturbed, and I would run around the streets of Auckland, New Zealand listening to Requiem for a Dream’s sountrack at 4:30am, because it’s a deep disturbing haunting soundtrack and it definitely helped keep me on edge and scared.

 

If you want another soundtrack to put you in that kind of headspace, you should check out the It Follows soundtrack by Disasterpeace.

I definitely will check that out.

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How does Pablo and Kelly’s relationship progress this season?

Well… If only I could just spill it all out, and tell you everything! [laughs] I think that Pablo wants three things in the Evil Dead world: stay alive, be a hero, and get the girl, and I can tease that ONE of those things happens this season. You know, I think that Pablo and Kelly are the Ross and Rachel of comedic horror. Each day I go to work and am around Dana more and more, and *I* want Pablo to bang her because Pablo’s in love with her!

Dana was asked a question at Comic-Con, “What would be the thing that stops Kelly in her tracks?”, and she said, “Love”, and I thought, “Oh, interesting”. She is very hard to get, both Dana and Kelly show me very little love because they have this tough exterior, but it’s cracking, I’m cracking it because Pablo is super charming and I think that this journey is proving that he can kind of be the hot hero as well. I think the audience will be very interested to see where they go. I mean she’s kind of like the hot step-sister that you wanna bang, but you just have to wait for the right moment. You HAVE to wait for the right moment.

 

[Ummm…

She’s hot! I want her to smack me around! She’s really good at smacking people around!

 

Errr… Have you always been a fan of the Evil Dead franchise? And what was your first exposure to the movies?

Yeah! I’m a huge Evil Dead fan. I watched them at a movie night at a friend’s house in L.A., maybe like ten years ago? We binge watched all the movies. I knew of them – but I had never watched them. After I watched them I was like, “Oh, cool – that was where it all started”. I feel like Sam (Raimi) invented the genre that we are adding on to right now, and that it’s quite the honour to be part of the franchise, and I think the network has done a great job of diversifying the franchise and making it appeal to a new generation by adding new characters. I think it’s awesome that it’s been around for thirty-five years, and I hope it’s around for thirty-five more years.

 

Hear, hear. How did you first respond to the idea of it being a series?

Oh, I loved that idea, because there was a possibility that that could be my new TV home! I’d been jumping from show to show and when I saw Pablo, and who Pablo was in the franchise – a positive portrayal of a Latino on television – I thought, “What an excellent idea”. In a world where people wanna build up walls around us, Latinos, I think it’s cool to show that he can be a hero if he wants to be a hero.

As far as the move to television? It could go wrong, it could always go wrong, but I sort of trusted that the people who made it would make it the same way, and he (Sam Raimi) said to me, “You’re the heart and the eyes of the audience, Dana is the brains of the operation, and Bruce is the muscle behind the unit, so if the three of you just stick to that you will not be led astray”, and there’s one thing that Bruce has, that Ash has, and that is confidence. So was I scared? No, because Ash has confidence, Bruce has confidence, so therefore I kind of get a “Get Out of Jail Free Card” because I knew there wasn’t any room for anything but that in this franchise. Now we’ve planted that seed in the first season, I think that all the characters are going to begin to have their own journey with the Evil Dead force this season – particularly with Pablo perhaps coming out of this season in a way that resembles what happens to Bruce in the films.

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Interesting… If you could replace any of Pablo’s body parts with a weapon to fight the deadites more efficiently, which woud it be?

OK, I… Yeah, you know, I really searched hard last season for my weapon of choice and teased about having a rusty chainsaw, but I think I’ve come to realise that I don’t need a chainsaw – because I’ve got my “guns”, I think my arms are looking pretty big, and Pablo’s best weapon lies within himself, so I wouldn’t change any of my limbs, I’d keep what I have… Maybe if I could take my moustache of my face and make it bigger and use that as a weapon?

[both laughing]

 

In terms of the movies and the show co-existing, do you think that the series could ever cross over with future movies given that Ash turned up after the credits of the remake?

Ahhhhh, right. That is very true. We have talked about that. But there’s a difference and I think that Freddy (Alvares, director of Evil Dead) is on the way to great things with Don’t Breathe and… you never know, you never know, but I do think that tonally Ash vs. Evil Dead is a very different machine, but it could be one of those things where if it is a film we could make it a blend of what the fans want – so sort of what you’re already seeing, but we would amp up the horror.

 

If you could star in the remake of any film, which one would it be and what character would you like to play?

Jacob’s Ladder, and Tim Robbins’s part. Yeah, I would love to do a remake of Jacob’s Ladder, it’s one of my favourite movies.

 

Awesome choice, man. My last question for you is: If you could be killed by any movie monster, which one would it be and what would your last words be?

Ummm… I would say it would be Freddy Krueger, and my last words would be… “It’s an honour to be killed by you Freddy” [takes a massive crunch of an apple]. I wouldn’t mind if Ash decapitated Pablo.

[both laugh]

Maybe not for a while though!

[both laugh]

Maybe never – but I do think that it would be a cool image to see.

 

Thank you very much for taking the time to talk to me today, Ray. It’s been great fun to talk to you

Thank you so much. Same here, man. Take it easy.

 

You too. Bye!

 

 

Series two of Ash vs Evil Dead will be available from the 3rd October for Virgin Media TV customers to watch through its TV on demand service and available to all Mix TV, Fun TV and Full House TV customers, as well as existing M+ and above subscribers. Virgin TV customers can still catch up on the first series of Ash vs Evil Dead, available as a full binge-worthy boxset.

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