RAY SANTIAGO INTERVIEW
Interview conducted by John Dowding
Ray Santiago is precisely one-third of Ash Williams' ass-kicking team in Ash vs Evil Dead, which returns to TV screens on the 25th February 2018 and will be available in the UK the day after its US premiere. Ahead of the insanely popular and blood-soaked series' return, we had a chance to chat with Ray about his character, Pablo Boliviar, and where things are headed for the evil-fighting trio.
John Dowding: Tell us a bit about Season 3 of Ash vs Evil Dead and what we can expect and look forward to?
Ray Santiago: The main theme of Season three is family, we’re going to be viewing Ash as a father and him stepping up to the plate to be the best Dad he can be. Along with that, Pablo will come to fulfil his unknown destiny following his family’s lineage of being brujos and he’ll finally come to understand and control this battle he’s had with the Necronomicon and how good and evil lives within him. We’ll finally see him become the hero he never thought he could be. After three seasons of following Ash and learning from him, this season we will definitely get to see something pretty amazing, what we’re calling brujo especial, where Pablo will come into his own with a set of powers to either help the team for good or maybe we might see a turn where Pablo uses his newfound powers to help evil. You’re just gonna have to tune in and see how it all unfolds!
JD: In each season your character Pablo has evolved and got stronger, so what can we expect from him in Season 3 and if a Season 4 does happen what sort of direction would you like to see your character to go in?
RS: I’ve been through so much as a character, I’ve already been dead and the Necronomicon lives within me, so what we’ve done is take all these seeds that have been planted each season and now you can fully watch them grow. What’s great about what’s happened to me, in a very iconic way, is I’m very much attached to something that relates to the Evil Dead force; I lost my face, I burst demons out of my mouth, I was cut in half and brought back to life! Now I think what’s cool is what lives forever within me, living on the spectrum of good and evil will always be something I will have to control. But IF Pablo makes it to Season 4, what I would like to see is him committing to one of these extremes, whether it be him being his own hero and saving people alone or maybe trying to find and connect with other family members who are brujos and finding out why this happened to him.
We can go in that direction or we could go another where he’s got his head shaved and he’s just a badass at a bar who’s really fucked up and he’s just purely evil and we force Ash to have to deal with his naïve, young sidekick. We may or may not dive into that this season… it’ll be really interesting how it unfolds. Season 3 does end in an unexpected way where things will be left changed forever. When we shot the end of the season, all the principal cast members were very emotional and invested and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house, including the crew who were watching on the monitors.
I think the way we left it and the unexpected end could change the franchise forever.
JD: When Ash vs Evil Dead was first announced some hardcore Evil Dead fans were not happy with Ash having “sidekicks”, but now everyone adores Pablo & Kelly and you can’t imagine the show and Ash without them. How do you feel about the fan response for your character and did you ever expect that sort of fan base or for your character to become so big in the Evil Dead universe?
RS: The beauty of this experience is that Dana and I have always had each other’s backs. My philosophy has always been that I was chosen by Sam Raimi and Bruce [Campbell] and the creative team behind the franchise, so hopefully I was a good pick for the role. These guys know their stuff, right?
I tried just to go forward with it, not looking back and just hoping the fans would accept us. I didn’t want to have any fears in my heart over that because I had enough fear on my face as a character! The reality, though, is we couldn’t ask for better fans or fans that are more open or loyal. What’s awesome is what we’ve done with this version of the franchise, we’ve diversified the demographic of the people who watch Ash vs Evil Dead and proven time and time again it can transcend from generation to generation because of its absurdity and because we don’t take ourselves too seriously and we stick to the practical effects that Sam used to create the franchise.
The fans have been super loyal and accepting. As a kid, I watched a lot of TV and loved horror films but I didn’t get a chance to meet my heroes because we didn’t have conventions around at that time. Now we do and you can reach out to people on social media, meet them at conventions and one of the best things about that as an actor is I get to experience the joy when people meet us, which just inspires you to do a better job and just be humble. There’s nothing like that moment when a fan meets you and you realise that in some small way you’ve made a difference to their lives, whether that’s making them laugh or empowering them to be who they want to be. It goes both ways, we are feeding them and they are feeding us.
JD: Season 3 introduces two new characters, Brandy played by Arielle Carver-Oneill and Dalton’played by Lindsay Farris. Can you tell us a bit about their characters, how they fit in to the new season and how did they cope with the pure madness and the physical demands that comes with a character in Ash vs Evil Dead?
RS: They were impeccable in dealing with the copious amounts of blood and viscera we baptised them with! Brandy is Ash’s daughter and they had no idea that each other existed, but now it seems that evil is after his seed. She’ll have her loyalty tested as evil tries to convince her that Ash is not who he seems. Arielle was so good. Dana and I were happy to have some new thespians to play with because, as you know, Kelly has not given it up to Pablo yet so I thought it was nice we brought in a beautiful young girl for Pablo to look at so it’ll be fun to see him go after a new girl. It should be interesting to see how El Jefe reacts to Pablo chasing his offspring too!
Dalton, on the other hand, is not to be trusted. He turns up with the girl Pablo has been pining for for three seasons and you kinda know when someone turns up and says they want to help that they’re gonna try and kill us or turn evil. In this case Pablo’s not buying it and you will definitely see that tension rise to a head and see him take matters into his own hands to protect Kelly Maxwell, so Dalton had better watch out.
JD: Thanks for your time, Ray.
RS: My pleasure. Make sure your readers know: this season of Ash vs Evil Dead is going to be completely epic. It's going to be so insane. We're talking post-apocalyptic. Like the world is ending, Deadites are coming. The Dark Ones are coming for us. It's going to be bad, and nobody is safe except for maybe the brujo especial, because I'm down with them!
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