Make Love the Bruce Campbell Wayby Bruce Campbell, Craig Kif Sanborn (Illustrator), Mike Ditz (Photographer), Craig Sanborn, Mike Ditz (Photographer)
“This approach generates some of the most witty showbiz lunacy since This Is Spinal Tap.”---Sacramento News & Review
What you’re reading right now is known as the “flap copy.” This is where the 72,444 words of my latest book are cooked down to fit this space. But how does one do that? Do you reveal pivotal plot points like the one at/p>/b>/p>/i>
“This approach generates some of the most witty showbiz lunacy since This Is Spinal Tap.”---Sacramento News & Review
What you’re reading right now is known as the “flap copy.” This is where the 72,444 words of my latest book are cooked down to fit this space. But how does one do that? Do you reveal pivotal plot points like the one at the end of the book where the little girl on crutches points an accusing finger and shouts, “The killer is Mr. Potter”?
I have too much respect for you as an attention-deficient consumer to attempt such an obvious ruse. But let’s not play games here. You picked up the book already, so you either:A. Know who I am
B. Liked the cool smoking jacket I’m wearing on the cover
C. Have just discovered that the bookstore restroom is out of toilet paper
Is it a sequel to my autobiography If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor? Sadly, no, which made it much harder to write. According to my publisher, I haven't “done” enough since 2001 to warrant another memoir.
Is it an “autobiographical novel”? Yes. I’m the lead character in the story, and I’m a real person, and everything in the book actually happened, except for the stuff that didn’t.
The action revolves around my preparations for a pivotal role in the A-list relationship film Let’s Make Love! But my Homeric attempt to break through the glass ceiling of B-grade genre fare is hampered by a vengeful studio executive and a production that becomes infected by something called the “B movie virus,” symptoms of which include excessive use of cheesy special effects, slapstick, and projectile vomiting. From a violent fistfight with a Buddhist to a life-altering stint in federal prison, this novel has it all. And if the 72,444 words are too time-consuming, there are lots and lots of cool graphics.
Bruce “Don’t Call Me Ash” Campbell
- St. Martin's Press
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- First Edition
- Product dimensions:
- 6.38(w) x 9.48(h) x 1.06(d)
Read an Excerpt
The Bruce Campbell Way
By Bruce Campbell
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2005 Bruce Campbell
All rights reserved.
Let's Make Love!
* * *
I read the e-mail out loud and wrinkled my nose when I got to the "another book of this type" part. "What kind of horseshit is that?" I wondered aloud.
I dialed Barry's office in New York, stabbing at the numbers on my phone.
Pat, Barry's loyal secretary, answered: "Barry Neville's office."
"Pat, how the heck are you? This is Bruce Campbell."
"Oh, hello, Bruce, I'll see if Barry is in."
That's one of my favorite phrases in the "get past the secretary" game: "I'll see if he's in." Pat knew whether Barry was in or not — he was only twelve feet away in his ten-by-ten cubicle. I was expecting to hear "he just slipped out," or maybe "he's tied up in a conference call," but suddenly, she jumped back on the line.
"I'll put you right through, Bruce."
Getting an editor on the line first try made me instantly suspicious — that meant Barry had either good news ... or the opposite.
"Hello, Bruce," Barry said, sounding reasonably happy to hear from me.
I decided to get right into it. "Okay, so you don't want to do the book."
"Well, no," Barry replied. "We kicked it around, but we couldn't make it work."
"I understand that, but what's with 'another book of this type'? You told me that travel books were hot stuff."
"That's true, but I said they could be — if they were done right."
"And what's so wrong with Walk This Way?"
"I guess, yeah."
"This book made me feel like I was walking."
"Good. You felt in the moment — what's wrong with that?"
"I'm referring to the pace," Barry clarified. "It made me tired."
"And how many suburban walks can a person take? I know you were filming on location a lot, but I'm not so sure a book about the routes you took to keep from being bored would be a big seller. Call me crazy."
"Okay, you're crazy."
"Look, Bruce, I hope I am. As your friend, I hope you go and sell a million copies. We've been wrong before. But look, this doesn't have to end here. I want to pitch a book to you. I think you're a great match for the material."
"What is it?"
"A relationship book."
The intensity of my laugh startled Barry, but he pressed on.
"I'm serious. I can get that book approved," he assured me.
"Well, yeah, but, wow, that's a whole new deal."
"Relationship books are huge. If you win with one of these, you win big."
"I dunno," I hemmed. "I'd have to think about that and call you back — I'd have to see if I could get my head around it."
"Okay, sure, I understand. Take your time. The offer stands."
As I hung up, I pitied Barry. Poor bastard. My editor still remembered me from the TV show The Adventures of Brisco County Jr., where I successfully managed a new girlfriend almost every week. He couldn't shake the images of my character Ash from the film Army of Darkness, where I coolly manhandle my leading lady with lines like, "Gimme some sugar, baby."
He'd seen me up close and personal with some damn sexy women, the likes of Vanessa Angel, Alyssa Milano, and Elizabeth Hurley, so in the world according to Barry, I was the living embodiment of a chick magnet — the perfect choice to write a relationship book. Barry is a nice guy, but he's also a fool. What he fails to realize is that the Bruce Campbell who romanced his way through a succession of beautiful leading women bears no resemblance to the Bruce Campbell who forgets anniversaries and hoards Victoria's Secret catalogs. In the real world, none of what he sees on the silver screen relates to me, the actor — or any actor, for that matter.
Let me walk you through a few of the key differences. For starters, love scenes are never the result of an actor's romantic prowess, or insistence. These are obligatory elements of any cinematic romance story, and actors in leading roles are often confronted with them. In reality, shooting a love scene is about as exciting as groping my sister – and thankfully, I don't have one.
Actors don't make up all that clever dialogue. I'll throw in a quip or two, sure, but I'm mainly hired to say words that are written for me. And when it comes to scenes about relationships, I'm happy to have the help of a clever writer who is, at the end of the day, manipulating a given situation into how it could play out, not necessarily how it would.
As an actor, I don't have any say in how the relationship will go, or even who my romantic partner will be. The writer has determined my on-screen fate far in advance — and that's a really scary thought, because the only people who have worse relationships than actors are writers, because they spend most of their time alone, never talking to anyone, staring at a computer screen.
Hollywood is successful at portraying relationships because it manages to bring our fantasies to life; it presents a "what if" world in which we can lose ourselves for a few hours. In movies, when it comes to men and women, everything happens at the speed of light. Couples fall in love at first glance. Later, during sex (which happens on the first date), men get instant erections and can make love for hours. Women achieve orgasm in record time, some going for three in a row. The sex will always be good, and it must always be in some imaginative place, like a freight elevator or a nuclear submarine. Poor Barry, I can see why he was so confused — like all of us, he had been brainwashed for years.
Aside from all that, what the hell does a guy who lost his virginity at age twenty-three know about the opposite sex? Jack shit, that's what. When it comes to women, I don't know my ass from a hole in the ground. I learned about sex through the mass marketing of the early 1960s, when Fred Flintstone was doing cigarette ads and products like Space Food sticks, Tang, and leaded gasoline were the order of the day. Sex back then meant sleeping in separate beds, closed mouth kissing, wearing PJs to bed (even adults), and no sex before marriage. No wonder I had such a bogus view of the world.
As my "female awareness" sprang to life in the late sixties, the sexy babes on television at that time were Anita Bryant, a conservative singer selling orange juice; Julie Newmar, who played Cat Woman in the TV show Batman; and Marta Kristen, the teenage daughter on Lost in Space. I didn't know right from left, but I can tell you this: it wasn't the intricate plots, or the acting that held my attention, it was the way these foxy women filled out their skin-tight costumes week after week.
Women didn't seem like people who had sex; they just wore lots of makeup and smelled funny. Sears catalogues, and later my dad's Playboys, helped straighten a few things out, but there were more questions than answers.
Motion pictures often wind up being an early, vital source of insight into the sexual dynamics between men and women. The problem was, I couldn't get into any movie that might have been of use to me (the cursed M rating, for Mature Audiences Only) so my model for intergender relationships came primarily from John Wayne westerns between 1962 and 1973. My mother was a huge western fan, and since my father couldn't have cared less, she'd drag me along instead.
Given my prolonged exposure to the bizarre, archetypal behavior of cowboys, I shouldn't have been surprised by an incident on the playground when I was nine. I "rescued" a girl who was being harassed by a bully (a cattle rustler, as I saw it) by socking him once in the jaw (that's all Duke ever needed) and down he went. I grabbed the girl (the feed store owner's daughter, Sue), whipped her around, and kissed her but good — closed mouthed, because we did such things proper then. To my shock and horror, Sally Sue Jenkins slapped me across the face.
"Get out of here, you weirdo. My brother was just trying to give me lunch money...."
"Sorry, ma'am," I said, nodding. "Didn't mean to cause no fuss."
Dating? I was too busy making amateur films in high school to take advantage of those prime years. Relationships? That's a good one. The "relationships" in my civilian life can be counted on one hand, minus the use of my thumb. Don't come knocking here, brother, I married the first woman who ever came on to me. The weight of hypocrisy would be too much to bear if I wrote a book about a subject on which I was essentially retarded.
The phone rang.
"Hi, it's Barry."
"Dude, c'mon, I don't have an answer for you yet."
"What are you talking about? I haven't called you in a month."
"Who is this?" I asked.
"This is the other Barry. Your acting agent."
"Oh, that Barry. Hi, what's up?"
"I have a possible gig for you."
"Let me guess — something for the Sci-Fi Channel?"
"A convention in Butt Crack, Kansas?"
"Nope," Barry said with a smile in his voice. "A romantic comedy."
"Get out of town."
"It's a green-lit, A-list romantic comedy starring Richard Gere, Renée Zellweger, produced by Robert Evans, directed by Mike Nichols — shooting in New York in the fall."
"Don't mess with me, Barry. I'm going through some shit right now."
"Bruce, I'm not that kind of a guy," he assured me.
"So, I would play the what, chauffeur? Bus boy?"
"The wise-cracking doorman — he's like the comic muse to Gere. It's the best role in the film. He tells jokes, he gives advice on relationships. You get the idea."
"What's it called?"
"Let's Make Love!"
It sounded good — too good, as they say. "Do I have to audition?"
"Well, yes, unfortunately. I sent them your demo reel, but they still need you to read in New York. But as a little FYI, Mike asked for you specifically."
"Bullshit," I shot back immediately. "Mike Nichols doesn't even know I exist, and his casting people sure as hell don't."
"Hey, don't shoot the messenger, Bruce. I'm just passing the information along so you can make an informed decision."
I sighed loudly. "Barry, you know how much I hate auditions. In twenty-five years I've gotten exactly three acting jobs from auditioning, and I must have had, what, a hundred of them?"
"Two hundred and nine," Barry corrected.
"You keep track of things like that?" I asked, incredulous.
"Yeah, the head of the agency likes charts and graphs."
"What a dismal record."
"That aside, this is a great opportunity, Bruce. Movies don't get any bigger, or better than this."
I glanced in my Frequent Flyer file — America West was looking good for a free ticket. "What the hell ... set it up."
I hung up and stared at the phone. This would be a worthless cause, but at least it was a chance to meet Mike Nichols, a truly big shot director.
* * *
New York City in May was beautiful — trees were starting to bloom, the sky was a freshly laundered blue, and aside from the stench of decomposing trash, I felt positively invigorated. I walked with a spring in my step all the way up West 26th Street, to an old brownstone where Mike Nichols keeps his office.
The first thing an actor does at an audition is sign in. I always take my time with the sign-in sheet, because it's a chance to see the competition. The list tells me who else is or was there, what time, for what role, and who represents them.
The sign-in list for Let's Make Love! made my jaw drop: Bill Campbell, for starters, a namesake nemesis if there ever was one, Ben Affleck, Adam Sandler, John Turturro, Liam Neeson, Chevy Chase, and on, and on.
Everyone on the goddamn planet is auditioning for this role. What am I doing here?
I scanned the room and my hopes were further dashed: Gary Sinise was sitting next to John Malkovich, who was telling a bawdy joke to John Cusack, who was trying to study his lines.
I was seriously considering feigning a strange illness and making an early departure, when I became drawn into what I feared most at auditions: a conversation.
"So, we meet again."
The husky voice belonged to tough-guy actor Robert Patrick, who stiffed me out of an X-Files role.
"Yeah, I guess so," I said. "You won the last round."
Robert smiled confidently. "I did, didn't I? Good gig, that X-Files."
"Yeah, but long hours, I'm sure," I managed, trying to make it sound like I didn't want the part anyway.
"The pain goes away on payday," he said, smiling. "Hey, you been working much?"
The issue of employment is always an Achilles heel for an actor who hasn't worked in a long time, and Robert wasted no time in going for it.
"Well, not really," I admitted.
Robert raised his eyebrows and whistled silently to himself — the "Oh, I see" expression.
"I was writing for a while," I tried to clarify. "So, then I did a couple conventions, and then. ..." I stopped myself before it got embarrassing. There wasn't anything to brag about in the conventional sense. I knew it, and now he knew it too.
"Hell, I wish I had your problem sometimes," Robert said, possibly trying to make me feel better. "I can barely get back to my Montana ranch, I work so much. I may have to sell it and move to the Palisades."
I smiled and excused myself, feeling a sudden need to use the bathroom. During tense audition situations, the only sanctuary is the men's toilet. Under the right conditions, I can kill an hour or more, reading stall graffiti and making sure my hair is just right. It's a great place to gather yourself, get centered, and have one last frantic look at your lines.
Once inside the tile-and-porcelain sanctuary, I gave myself a pep talk. Okay, chump, you're here, get over it. Do your thing and move on. Enjoy the moment.
As I stepped back into the waiting room full of famous actors, my name was being called.
I followed the secretary down a long hallway and wiped the sweat from the palm of my clammy right hand one last time.
I entered the room and couldn't help but gasp. Richard Gere was there, smiling and shaking hands with an exiting Johnny Depp. As Johnny passed, he winked. "Hey man, have fun."
Have a coronary, that's what I'll have.
The secretary introduced me to Mike Nichols, a very serene man with a wicked handshake.
"Damn nice to meet you, Bruce. Been a big fan for a long time. Hey, nice turn in Icebreaker — convincing stuff."
He didn't actually see that piece of shit, did he? "Well, there's one folks don't usually mention," I said, incredulous.
"Oh, the indies are my favorite," he said, nodding. "That's all I watch, really. It's where the new ideas are."
"From your lips to God's ears, Mike."
Mike gestured to a lit area across the room. "Why don't you go on over there, Bruce, and we'll have a go at this."
"Have you met Richard?" Mike asked, nonchalant.
I turned to see Richard Gere offering his hand, and smiling.
"Hi, Bruce, loved your stuff on Xena."
I stammered a response, losing my train of thought.
"Any questions?" Mike asked.
"Yeah, actually. How 'Southern' should the guy be?"
Mike shrugged. "Why don't we just have a look at one?"
I shrugged too, having only asked the question so I wouldn't appear as terrified as I was. My Southern accent was merely passable anyway, so it was an irrelevant exchange.
"Let's do the first scene," Mike said, nodding to the video technician, who began taping.
I had prepared two scenes for the audition. This first one was snappy, back-and-forth patter between the lead character, Harry Grayson, and the doorman, Foyl Whipple. The second scene — only done if asked — was an eloquent speech from Foyl, to Harry, about true love.
The first scene began like this:
Foyl holds the door open.
FOYL (with a smile)
How are you tonight, Mr. Grayson?
Harry stops on his way out.
HARRY Foyl, how is it that every day, you manage to have a smile on your face?
FOYL (holding his grin) Just another day in paradise, Mr. Grayson.
HARRY (starting to walk) If you only knew about the real world, Foyl.
FOYL I know a little something about the real world, Mr. Grayson. I'm holding a door in the dead of winter for a man who doesn't know how to treat a woman.
Harry stops in his tracks and turns back to Foyl.
HARRY I beg your pardon?
FOYL Personally, I treat women like royalty.
HARRY I don't treat anyone like anything, Foyl. I'm just me. I just am. And how is it, a doorman has all the answers?
FOYL A doorman takes the pulse of humanity. Every day, he hears the talk, he watches behavior, he knows what there is to know about people.
HARRY Tell me one thing about me that I don't know.
FOYL You're in love more than you'll ever let yourself be.
HARRY (pegged) That's what I like about you, Foyl. You always give it to me straight.
FOYL (with a wry smile) It's the only way, Mr. Grayson. Well, you have a great day.
(then, after Harry leaves) You should be holding the door for me....
The group around Mike Nichols chuckled politely, and the scene was over. There is always an awkward moment between reading the first scene and the second scene. But before I could even get anxious about it, Mike stood up.
"Thanks, Bruce. Thanks for coming in. I think we've seen all we need to."
The words were: "Thanks for coming in. I think we've seen all we need to." The meaning was: "Thanks for wasting our time, Bruce, I think that's all we can stand."
Excerpted from Make Love! by Bruce Campbell. Copyright © 2005 Bruce Campbell. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
Bruce Campbell's first book, If Chins Could Kill, was a major sleeper hit and became a New York Times and national bestseller. He is the ultimate B actor. In addition to starring in the huge cult hit the Evil Dead series and a series of independent genre films, he has had featured roles in the recent Spider-Man movies as well as the award-winning independent crime drama Running Time. He lives in Oregon.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I have not purchased the actual 'book'. What I DO have is the 6-CD audio-book presented in radio theater style dramatization. It's Bruce Campbell reading his parts with a cast of various others being the voices of the other characters. I did make the mistake of listening to this in my car, and the constant fits of laughter made it difficult to drive safely, I can tell you. Although I wonder if all the accounts in this book are actually TRUE, it was definitely a humorous and enjoyable way to spend six hours. I loved it.
I did not read Bruce's first book, so I can not compare. What I can say is that I laughed throughout the whole story. Bruce Campbell has proven with this book that he is more than the guy in the Evil Dead movies but a talented writer with a flare for anecdotes.
when you think of bruce campbell , you think of either 2 things, " is it that guy from that movie called " evil dead and the other sequals!" or " was he in that tv show burn notice" well if you say those thing then you shoould probley read this book !
It litteraly a part fiction , part real! which makes it a lot funny . Hearing an acter who is known in the " B-rated" as a super star, trying to make his way to stardom...in the A-list.
but theres a bunch of crazey antics along the way that makes it even more addictiv then is first book " if chins could kill" this is one of the funnest book that ash...um i mean bruce have ever made
I have this book in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook. The audiobook is narrated by Bruce Campbell himself. The book itself is a good read; it's ridiculously funny. What makes the book even better is hearing it read by Bruce Campbell. He is a laugh-riot! Anyone who is a fan of Bruce Campbell should check this book out in all forms!
Well the book was actually pretty bad but I can't give anything less that 5 stars to Bruce Campbell.
well I'd have to say I didn't like as much as If Chins Could Kill. It was funny and all but I felt that it was dragging on a little too long. But still is a great book, so I recommend it.
This book is hilarious, mainly a collection of little stories all rolled up into one. I read the thing in the bookstore, just laughed the whole time through.
Big Bruce Campbell fan, and was waiting for this one to come out. But while this book was amusing, it really lacked the wit and humor of 'If Chins Could Kill'. The story really wasn't that deep nor clever. The little pictures on each turn of the page provided the most laughs. Bruce really is a funny guy, it just doesn't come across in this book.
According to the clans, ur a med cat. Im wondering why ur here WITH A MATE? YOUR CLAN IS LOOKING FOR YOU!