- Created: Tuesday, 17 November 2015 16:34
- Published: Thursday, 19 November 2015 16:28
- Written by Lupe Rodriguez Haas
Ray Santiago was 19 when he hit the actor jackpot to star opposite Ben Stiller,Robert De Niro, Barbara Streisand and Dustin Hoffman in Meet The Fockers (2004). Ten years later he’s starring with another cinematic icon - Bruce Campbell in Ash vs Evil Dead directed by Sam Raimi. CineMovie talked to the Ash vs Evil Dead star about the important advice he got from Campbell and Raimi about improvising and how to play his character in the horror comedy.
Getting to play monsters and heroes with the original creators behind the Evil Dead franchise has Ray Santiago still feeling “super excited.” The Bronx native was a fan of the original 1981 movie starring Bruce Campbell and director Sam Raimi. He counts Raimi’s other film credits such as the Spider-Man series and Drag Me To Hell as some of his favorites.
As Ash’s sidekick and slayer-in-training, Santiago tells CineMovie Bruce Campbell was a mentor as much as he was his scene partner. He watched Campbell closely on set to learn the tricks of the trade and what qualities make an iconic character. Santiago describes Campbell as an “uncle.”
“Bruce is an amazing leader. It’s a great game of follow the leader. His character idolizes Ash but doesn’t want to be him. He’s like an uncle. He tells the best story and jokes. He’s very precise and pays attention to detail.”
When it came to improvising, it was encouraged on the set, but Campbell had some advice. “If you’re going to improvise make it short and sweet. So it’s easy and memorable.” Raimi was equally collaborative trusting Santiago to improvise freely, but he always gave them a clean take and then on the second take he went for it keeping in mind Campbell’s words to him.
Since Pablo is the heart and conscious in Ash vs Evil Dead, Raimi also gave him specific direction when it came to inhabiting that character.
“Always play the reality of the situation. Don’t try and create the comedy.”
The Latino actor improvised a few Spanish lines during the shoot and some of them made the cut. In the first episode, Pablo refers to Ash as “Jefe,” meaning boss in Spanish. “Jefe” eventually became the title for the first episode. An another occasion, he threw in the line, “Si Se Puede” (yes we can) and Bruce repeated it in the scene. He was thrilled when that Spanish catch phrase made it into the show.
Not only is Santiago adding some Latino flavor to his character, but Pablo’s cultural background will be explored in upcoming episodes. CineMovie for one interested to know how Pablo will live up to his full character name -Pablo Simon Bolivar. Being named after the Venezuelan leader (Simon Bolivar) who freed most of South America from Spanish rule can certainly be an intriguing plot line.
You can’t have an Evil Dead revival without the blood splatter. Santiago is covered in it for the majority of the series. Santiago says he personally asked Raimi to be covered in as much blood as possible. Made with corn syrup and dish washing soap, the 31-year-old admits it doesn’t taste good and it’s very sticky. He describes the application process.
“When they’re applying it, it’s like five chihuahua’s licking you all over the place.”
Ray Santiago is not complaining. He’s more than happy to be drenched in fake blood for the STARZ series. After all, he says he’s a superhero in training.
“Pablo is dope. He’s in training to be the best superhero he can possibly be. He falls a lot throughout the season, but he perseveres. He’s trying to be just as good as Ash.”
Ray Santiago is “really happy” to add Ash vs Evil Dead to his body of work. He feels it will be another iconic role that will sit right up there with Meet The Fockers. Santiago says he is recognized on a weekly basis as “Jorge” from Meet the Fockers, but he doesn’t mind after 10 years.
“I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to play such an iconic character. And I didn’t realize the scope of what I was entering with that franchise. I think I’m doing the same here now.”
At least we know Ray Santiago's Pablo lives through the season one. Santiago tells us he's excited to explore his comedic chops further when production begins next year in New Zealand for season two.
Catch Ash vs Evil Dead on STARZ Saturday nights at 9pm.