ComicsVerse had a chance to talk to Ray Santiago at NYCC 2017; who told us all about ASH VS EVIL DEAD!

This transcript has been edited for clarity.


Ray Santiago: Good, good. It’s actually bringing me back to life being able to talk to you guys because we’re doing the signing and… where was I before that? I don’t even–

Speaker 2: The panel.

Speaker 3: Something.

Ray Santiago: The panel, the signing, so it’s nice to… be in the little table and talk. The panel’s a little, like, nerve-wracking, cause… we’re all hopped up on coffee, Red Bull, and I’m sitting there, and I’m like “you’re biting your lip, you’re like moving your legs, like you’re hunched over because your neck hurts because you haven’t slept properly in like three days.” But anyway, “wah wah wah.”

Speaker 3: Yeah, I mean, I can only imagine how stressful it is having thousands of people staring at you on a crowded–

Ray Santiago: It’s, you know, it’s weird. It’s more comforting to be in that panel than it is to go into a room– I had the worst meeting with a director for a huge movie with a person that I would die to work with whose from New York, whose from the same place that I’m from and I was in New Zealand, visiting… it’s an actress…

Speaker 4: Oh okay.

Speaker 3: Oh sh*t.

Ray Santiago: Uh, anyway, I was in New Zealand, I fell in love with a kiwi. So I went — I came home from shooting then went back to visit, and of course, when I went back, they were like “you gotta come in for this movie, blah blah blah,” and I was all the way over there, so I made a tape, they loved the taped. Went in. And then I met the director. It was like, I couldn’t read the room. And there’s no way to mistake the vibe of a room full of fans.

Speaker 3: That’s true.

Ray Santiago: So if it’s a room full of fans, we’re good!

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Speaker 3: Yeah.

Ray Santiago: If it’s a room of people judging me, it’s a little bit different, you know?

Speaker 3: That’s fair, yeah.

Speaker 4: So you– there was Frank, because we just had Lindsey and Ariel here, and they were… and they said, you know, they’re the new guys. And you and Dana were like, the new people in EVIL DEAD. And you had to be welcomed in and read the room when you first walk in. So what’s it like now, you’re up to Season 3? And getting used to having newbies on the cast, that way you and Dana can now, you know, play off of…?

Ray Santiago: Yeah, well it’s nice to have some hot young people to hang out with because I love… Daddy Warbucks Bruce. And I love Auntie. But you know, to be fair, they actually partied just as hard as we do and they are like, they’re my… they’re my family.

RS: They are absolutely my family. We live in New Zealand for five months out of the year; they take such good care of us, I see them more than my family. But yeah, having the two new people, it opens up a whole new world of the– for Season 3 because you know, the “will they, won’t they?”, Pablo and Kelly thing.

RS: Now we’ve got this new hot girl who comes into the mix, and she’s Ash’s daughter. So what happens if Pablo falls for Ash’s daughter? What does that do between Kelly and him? And what does that do between Pablo and Ash, does he approve of Pablo going for her? And what happens if, you know, maybe Pablo falls for the girl who turns out to be not who he thinks she is? There are all these different things that could come into play.

RS: Also, Dalton comes along, and he shows up with my chick that I’ve, like, done everything I possibly can to get and it’s clear that she’s just not into my hair.

RS: But yeah, so that brings a whole new– new variables to the mix of where we can go, and I think what we’ve done this season, a lot of people ask, well how are you changing it? You know, we still have all the great stunts and the horror and the stuff like that, but what we’ve done is we’ve taken the formula of a family sitcom situation where you put all these dysfunctional people that we’ve been with for a while, put them in a household and ask them to not be dysfunctional and force them to try to be a normal family. And that just doesn’t exist when you’ve got evil at your doorstep. So it’ll be really interesting to see how it all turns out.

Speaker 4: You gave the audience quite the scare last year when you were killed off, and uh, how was that, for you, being dead and now not dead?

Ray Santiago: It was so cool to see how people reacted to that. A lot of people actually, I meet them, and they think that was the season finale. So when I go to these conventions, and they meet me, they’re like “but they killed you!” And I’m like “yo, you still got two episodes to watch.” Like, I’m not dead, you know? So they– but what did it do to me? You know, you never know what will happen on the show. And we’ve had a lot of people that I care about that have died, and they’re not there. We lose them as a colleague in the space where we create, like Joe Marie Jones. So you just learn to go to work every day and really give it your all.

RS: And I was really touched that fans really really cared so much, “bring back Pablo,” and you know, that kind of thing. Also too, I didn’t really know, but between us and whoever you’re writing for– I do know because I fucking steal those scripts when no one’s looking. I break into peoples’ offices, I– and they’re like “don’t give them the scripts, don’t give them the scripts,” and like, they always think it’s like my make-up person or my wardrobe person, but I’m like “I’m not going to go down like that.”

RS: I go through peoples’ drawers when they’re not looking. And I find out and so I always know what’s gonna happen.

Speaker 2: We won’t tell anybody though.

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Ray Santiago: It’s fine.

Speaker 3: Tell everyone.

Ray Santiago: But sometimes they do tell you things like, you know, maybe Rob said: “you’re gonna die… but then we’re bringing you back.” And you’re like “okay, but what, how?” You know? Oh, okay, I’m gonna be in this room?

RS: I spent a lot of time last year hogtied. And I had to… I had to come back to, like a softer touch. You know? In the bedroom. Because I started to realize that my threshold for kinky shit was just– I’m like, “wait, if I’m hogtied for like one episode, I’m hogtied at the end of episode eight, I get cut in half…” It’s crazy what this show has done to you.

RS: I fear death. Not because I don’t want to die, not because of how I’m going to die, but because I don’t want to die. I have serious FOMO, I just want to live forever. My high school yearbook quote– I went to the high school for performing arts, the FAME school. And my yearbook quote was: “Fame, I’m gonna live forever.”

RS: What this show has allowed — the opportunity has allowed me, I was sitting in a– watching a Bruce Lee movie in a Chinese restaurant in New Zealand, hung over, and I was like “oh, he’s dead and I’m watching him right now, and someday I’ll be dead, and somebody will be watching me, and I’ll live forever, and that’s just like awesome. And it’ll be in the form of the EVIL DEAD and whatever comes after this and whatever came before.”

RS: But it’s really great to be part of a franchise that’s lasted for so long, and it feels like for as long as we’ve got Bruce, we’ve got him. If I need to wheel him out on his wheelchair and do what we need to do. But in a lot of ways, it feels like this is a franchise that could come back to Dana and me, ten, twenty years from now and say “do you guys want to participate in the remake of blah blah blah?” You know what I mean? It’s a cool thing, it’s a cool gig to have. And I’ve gained so much from it.

Speaker 3: Do you think that you were a fan, or were you a fan of horror or the EVIL DEAD franchise before going into it, or was it something that you kind of grew into? Because I know that Ariel was saying that she wasn’t much of a horror fan and then she now is one. So how did you feel about the genre itself before going in– because I know you’ve been like the comedic aspect of it?

Ray Santiago: Yeah, thank you. I was a huge horror fan, I loved NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. I kind of actually, we play a little bit of homage to something, to Freddy Krueger. Throw some words out for you. The Mask. Freddy. The Mask. Freddy. Michael Jackson. Just some words I’m gonna throw out for you.

Speaker 3: Just buzzwords.

Ray Santiago: Buzzwords, yeah yeah yeah… And then… somebody has a hint of Helen Keller. All sorts of things are gonna happen this season, but for me, I always, like when I was a kid, I used to be a big Buffy fan.

Speaker 3: Yes!

Ray Santiago: And this is such a dorky thing to say, but like, I used to carry wooden stakes in my backpack and like-

Speaker 3: This is the con to say that.

Ray Santiago: Yeah and like, I ran into her at like– I ran into her in Central Park when I was like sixteen, and I was like “I don’t understand why there are no boy Slayers,” and she was like “I think there’s room for a boy Slayer.”

Speaker 3: Aw, that’s so cute.

Ray Santiago: So I have these, and I was like–

Speaker 2: And then she ran.

Speaker 3: Yeah.

Ray Santiago: And but, it’s just so funny because here I am now, slaying demons as an adult. I always wanted to be a superhero as a kid, and I wanted to be the person running from the monster. Like I used to set up booby traps around my house like Nancy in NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. My mom used to get mad because I used to put marshmallows on the floor up the stairs of the house and like, step on them and do shit like that.

RS: But yeah, now I’m one step closer to being the superhero that I always wanted to be, by being Ash’s sidekick. And I think this season we really get to see Pablo explore going from the naïve young guy that he was to becoming his own hero and you know, and having to fight between the relationship that he has with the… Necronomicon and what was given to him from his family as a brew home. Yeah. Thirty seconds? One minute? Done.

Speaker 4: I hope we have an easier season this year than you did last year.

Ray Santiago: No, I spent four and a half hours in makeup for three weeks and did I tell you? They took my fingers away, as an actor. Oh, I couldn’t take a sh*t after I got to work because they took my fingers away.

Speaker 3: Well, continue to have fun!

Ray Santiago: Oh it’s super fun, I love it. Thank you guys so much.

Speaker 3: Thank you!

Want more NYCC 2017 coverage? Be sure to subscribe to ComicsVerse.com! Special thanks to Ray Santiago!

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