With Hail to the Chin: Further Confessions of a B Movie Actor (St. Martin’s/Dunne, Aug.), Campbell, star of the cult Evil Dead movies, recounts more wild tales from his life and career.
What took you so long to write a sequel to your first memoir, If Chins Could Kill?
It’s been a decade and a half, and I had to have enough for an act two. It’s a trilogy. The third, in 15 years, will be “The Final Confessions.” In act one, I’ll do anything: any script, any director, any pay. Act two, I’m a seasoned veteran. Moving out of L.A. to Oregon was a big deal; I grew as an individual. Act three, you know what you like, and you’ve experienced the things you don’t ever want to do again.
How did you decide what anecdotes to include in this volume?
You only tell the best stories, and you only tell the best parts of the best stories. You weed out the boring or tedious ones. Shooting a movie in Bulgaria or Bogota is weird enough, but each time I shot in these unusual places, unusual things happened.
You portray yourself as an ordinary guy who gets to do extraordinary things, on-screen and off. Can you talk about your penchant for adventure?
The average guy, who can bowl on Tuesday night, is someone I envy. And I suppose some people envy my life, going off and doing crazy things in foreign countries. I can’t book a fishing trip at any given time because I don’t know where I’m going to be. When I come home I want to go to the Elks club and pave my driveway. I seek normality. I’m a joiner. I recommend the Elks. They are a lot of fun, and provide great local flavor. It’s an American institution that was formed as an after-hours drinking club.
Your voice in the book is sarcastic with a touch of dryness. Can you discuss writing vs. acting?
You described that like wine; a “buttery Chardonnay.” Writing, particularly if it’s autobiography, is way more personal than reading a script written by someone else. You always try to go for that extra dimension. Actors try to make one-dimensional characters two-dimensional at least. Books are that third dimension. I try to reveal more of myself without being obnoxious. I play tough guys, but I also have lavender on my property and I think it smells good. We always have a dichotomy. You’ll get a piece of somebody in a movie, but books show you that he cares about bunny rabbits and likes chicken soup. Who knew?