In his directorial debut, The Man with the Screaming Brain, cult-film fave Bruce Campbell plays William Cole, an American pharmaceutical magnate who finds himself on the business end of a mad scientist's scalpel.
"He winds up with half of his brain being that of a KGB operative, and he has to find the evil gypsy woman who killed them both," explains Campbell from the Tampa stop of his "Summer of Love" tour, which features Brain screenings introduced by Campbell in addition to discussion/signings of his autobiographical novel, Make Love the Bruce Campbell Way. And -- surprise, surprise -- the tour's been a bit more grueling than he may have originally anticipated ("If we ever catch Osama bin Laden, I'd make him go on a book tour," Campbell deadpans).
Though the film was originally set in LA, Brain bankroller the Sci-Fi Channel had other ideas. "The whole thing was like a UCLA film experiment in which the Sci-Fi Channel said, 'Let's take your script and figure out where not to film it,'" says Campbell. "We ended up in Bulgaria. As you can imagine, things are a bit different in Bulgaria. The average Bulgarian makes about $10 a month, and there are all these unfinished potholes and projects left over from when Communism fell. No one speaks English there, so everything has to be translated. I had to use a dry-erase board to draw out what props I wanted."
So his Win, Lose or Draw skills came in handy? "Yeah, it was like I played and lost every day for a year. I had issues with getting a Vespa. The transportation department assured me that they could get one, and that I could paint it pink and wreck it. Then comes shooting time, and I look over and my translator, Assia, is crying her eyes out. It was her Vespa, and it was a gift from her father on her birthday. I asked her to translate 'You sons of bitches!' to the transportation department. We still had to wreck it, but I told them they had to buy her a new one. I told her to tell them I'd kill them if they didn't."
This is all well and good, Bruce, but tell us: What's it going to take to get an Evil Dead 4? "For [director] Sam Raimi to stop making so much money," Campbell says. "But after you make all those movies in those big series, no one remembers the plots anymore and the whole thing turns into a big bag of mush. The old adage is 'leave 'em wanting more,' you know?"