Happy birthday, Bruce Campbell! The fan-favorite actor, best known for his role as Ash Williams in the Evil Dead franchise, celebrates his 58th birthday today — proving once and for all that you’re never too old to kill Deadite scum.
Over his 40 years in the industry, Campbell successfully transformed from regular working stiff to full-time actor, amassing a huge number of credits to his name and becoming a cult icon along the way. In fact, his talent is so mighty, it can singlehandedly improve almost any movie. With that in mind, we’re celebrating the actor’s birthday with a look at movies that would be better with Bruce Campbell.
1. Starship Troopers (1997)
Campbell is a cult film king, so it’s a surprise he hasn’t made an appearance in the Starship Troopers franchise. While most of the series has been relegated to home video release, we think Campbell would have been perfect for a role in the original theatrical release. We could totally see him as a commander in the Mobile Infantry, leading troops in the war against the alien bugs. And considering this is a Paul Verhoeven action flick, Campbell would have surely gotten a wild death scene.
2. The Exorcist (1973)
Campbell got his start in the horror genre, launching to B-movie stardom in 1981’s The Evil Dead, but we’d love to see him cast in more serious horror fare. While he never would have had a role in The Exorcist— he was just 15 years old when the film was released — Campbell could definitely fit as a conflicted priest tasked with performing a purification ritual. With a new TV series based on the movie coming this fall, our wish might just come true.
3. Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014)
Campbell’s already appeared in several Marvel films, with cameo appearances in each of director Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movies, and we see no reason for the trend to stop. Campbell would have been a perfect fit for Guardians of the Galaxy, bringing his comedic skills to the far reaches of the MCU and making Marvel’s funniest movie yet even better. Hopefully he can sneak in for a surprise role in a future Guardians movie.
4. The Departed (2006)
Martin Scorsese gave us a perfect vision of Boston’s criminal underworld in The Departed, but could you imagine Campbell hanging around as a Boston thug? We really just want an excuse to hear Campbell’s take on a Boston accent, which we’re confident is wicked awesome.
5. The Artist (2011)
The Artist impressed critics with its black-and-white silent-film style, and while it won several Academy Awards, including Best Picture, the movie is pretty forgettable five years later. But it would have been way more memorable with Bruce Campbell. The performer knows how to ham it up and get physical, and seeing him put those skills to the test in a silent film set in 1920s Hollywood would have been a real treat.
6. The Magnificent Seven (2016)
Sure, director Antoine Fuqua’s remake of The Magnificent Seven has yet to hit theaters, but we’re confident Campbell could have bolstered the movie. His starring role on the series The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. back in the ’90s showed he could handle a Western, and it would have been awesome to see him head back to the Old West as part of the action ensemble.
7. The Wizard Of Oz (1939)
It’s admittedly pretty difficult to improve on The Wizard of Oz. The film is a quintessential Hollywood musical, filled with iconic songs, a heartwarming story and gorgeous fantasy sets that are still impressive nearly 80 years later. But we can’t stop thinking about Campbell cast in the title role of the Wizard. We have no doubt that he would have matched up with the cast’s animated performances, bringing even more vibrant life to the colorful classic.
What movies do you think would be improved by Bruce Campbell? Let us know in the comments.