“Hey Bruce, say ”workshed”.”
That’s how Kurt Russell introduced himself to Bruce Campbell on the set of 1996’s Escape from L.A. In a new THR retrospective on the much-maligned John Carpenter sequel, which turns 25 today, Campbell, who memorably cameoed as the “Surgeon General of Beverly Hills,” remembers meeting Kurt Russell and being surprised by the introduction, which is an in-joke among Evil Dead 2 fans. In that film Campbell, as Ash says, “workshed” awkwardly due to a strange edit, and fans have been picking up on it for years. It turns out, a young Wyatt Russell was one such fan, with Kurt explaining to Campbell, “say workshed, it’s from Evil Dead 2. My son Wyatt saw Evil Dead 2, and he couldn’t get enough of that!”
I love stories like this, and certainly one can tell that Wyatt Russell must have grown up with a soft spot for genre fare, having been cast so effectively in movies like Overlord and Cold in July. Fun story – I was at the world premiere of Cold in July at Sundance, and both Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn were there to support their son in his scene-stealing turn as the movie’s sadistic villain. They always struck me as really cool parents.
The Campbell retrospective on THR is full of little gems, with the cult star saying he had a blast and that Russell was an incredibly chill star throughout who never gave anyone a hard time and seemed to be having fun working with long-time pal John Carpenter. Campbell also reveals the real-life model for his character – none other than Michael Jackson!
As for the film itself, well, it was a bit of a flop, only making back about half of its $50 million budget, seemingly ending the Snake Plissken franchise forever. That’s a shame as the movie is fun, and you could probably do a third Escape movie for a fraction of the budget now as technology has come so far. Man, I wish Carpenter and Russell would team up just one more time! One can dream.