Q&A: ‘Evil Dead Rise’ cast, crew discuss franchise legacy, filmmaking advice

Ryan Ranc, Senior Film Columnist

At the North American premiere of “Evil Dead Rise” at South by Southwest on Wednesday, The Daily Texan attended the red carpet to speak with its cast and crew members about their experiences with the project and advice they have for college filmmakers. “Evil Dead Rise” marks a continuation of the long-dormant “Evil Dead” franchise and will be in theaters April 21.

The Daily Texan: What’re y’all most proud of in your performances?

Lily Sullivan: I’m most proud of Alyssa and I (because we) did the playground of embarrassment — the playground of how weird, intense and primal you can get without feeling shame and embarrassment (in our performances, which) was the biggest thing for us.

Alyssa Sutherland: All of it! I’m gonna toot my own horn. I went all over the place. The range that Lee gave me was such a gift. I would like to think I took the opportunity and crushed it.

DT: What was it like when you first heard that you were going to be able to take control of an “Evil Dead” movie?

Lee Cronin (writer, director): It was exciting. (The process is never) straightforward when you make a movie. It started with conversations with Sam (Raimi). Then, that extended to talking to Rob Tapert and Bruce Campbell talking about what I wanted to do with the movie. I needed to find a story that inspired me (and) was a really good platform to tell an “Evil Dead” story. To tell something that was really exciting, frightening, full of energy and madness. So, the starting point is really finding those characters, finding the world, and then bringing all of the terror and madness in on top of that.

DT: Did you always know what you wanted the movie to be, or did it go through multiple tonal changes?

LC: I’ve written lots of screenplays. It wasn’t easy, but it was one of the things that came together very quickly because I spent a lot of time thinking about the circumstances, the characters and the world. That was actually a joy to write. It was a real joy to write this movie because I was able to lean back into the DNA and lore of the “Evil Dead” world and bring all of that into play. (It) doesn’t happen every time, but this one was a lot of fun.

DT: How does this project differ from other projects you’ve done sound on?

Peter Albrechtsen (sound designer): I was a big teenage fan of “Evil Dead.” I watched the old “Evil Dead” so much that my videotapes crumbled. For me being able to do this new “Evil Dead” was just an amazing opportunity. We wanted to build on all the old sounds of the (“Evil Dead”) films, take it to a new level and really make a sonic roller coaster for (your) ears.

DT: What advice would you give to college filmmakers?

Bruce Campbell (executive producer): Never imitate anybody. Don’t imitate Quentin Tarantino. Don’t imitate Sam Raimi. Don’t imitate Lee Cronin. You got to tell your own story. You got to tell it the way you’d do it. Look at two movies of Sam Raimi’s without the sound. (Take any two) and they’re directed by the same guy, but you’d never know. (They’re) stylistically so different because Sam altered his style to match the material as opposed to (someone just putting stuff together).

LS: It’s a really hard business, (so) be prepared for it. It’s not going to be easy all the time. Even when you get that first break, there are going to be hard times after that. You have to truly love it to be in it. You have to be persistent and work at it. No one ever knows everything, there is always something else to learn, and if you stay hungry, curious and tenacious, then that’s probably the best.