We’re just four episodes into the first season of Starz’s audaciously fun new series, Ash vs Evil Dead which has brought everyone’s favorite boomstick-toting lothario, Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) back into our lives. In just this short amount of time though, co-star Ray Santiago has already quickly become just as beloved as the show’s namesake, with his equal parts humorous and genuinely endearing portrayal of Pablo, Ash’s co-worker-turned-sidekick against the Deadites who is much more than just another wingman.
Daily Dead recently participated in a conference call interview with Santiago who discussed how his character fits into the Evil Dead universe, becoming the heart of the Ash vs Evil Dead series, how he prepared for the insanity (and various fluids) that would be thrown at him throughout production, and much more.
Check out the highlights from the call with Santiago below and be sure to check out Ash vs Evil Dead when it airs on Saturday nights on Starz and 9 pm EST.
Santiago on why he thinks Pablo is a really good addition to the Deadite fighting team:
"As you see in episode four, Pablo’s pretty tech savvy and we haven’t really explored that side of him or showed that side of him other than this episode. But, you know, he’s there to give Ash a hand in fighting evil and he’s pretty much doing that as you can see.
So along with Pablo being the heart of this team and always being the good conscience and making sure that everybody’s mind is in the right place and doing the right thing, Pablo’s also smarter than most people would expect him to be. He’s got a really good tech savvy background and throughout the season, you’ll see that come into play and him help out with that.
And I think Pablo wants to leave his mark in the world and he’s been struggling to do it. He sort of finds an opportunity with Ash and Kelly to sort of do better for all of mankind so he’s just really excited to do that."
Santiago’s thoughts on coming into the beloved Evil Dead franchise:
"I think the team behind the show is always working to make sure that everything about this has quality to it that could stand along and stand strong against the originals.
And one of the qualities that Sam said that was important was that Pablo has a really big heart. And we just want to make sure that throughout the entire series we see Pablo’s heart because he is the eyes of the audience in a lot of ways. So I’ve tried to do that and I think that Pablo is the heart, Kelly is the brain, and Ash is the muscle and together we sort of become this ultimate monster fighting squad. I think all of the characters are all running from who they’re supposed to be and so when they decide to embrace who they’re supposed to be. To me, Pablo is sort of trying to escape his cultural background but he realizes in the process that once he embraces that it sorts of leads him to the past to being the man he was always supposed to be.
So I just try to stay true to that and I think that we all just try to bring what we could to the table and just try to stay as dedicated and work really hard to be covered in as much blood as possible. Because I knew that the fans were clamoring for this and as a kid, I was a huge horror fan and now I get to do that every day when I go to work."
Santiago discusses the dichotomy of the character of Ash Williams:
"When you look at the show, on the surface it seems like simple. It’s horror. It’s comedy. But it is also this fine balance of knowing, what tone you’re working with. And coupled with that is Pablo being blind to some things and aware of other things. But it’s not like he necessarily wants to be Ash, but in idolizing him, Pablo finds the road to becoming the man that he wants to be and so I think he chooses when he wants to see Ash’s faults or, the pros and cons to who he is, but still sees the inner hero in him when he wants to.
But as you see throughout the season, Ash gives him the love and acceptance that he’s sort of been seeking from the world and Ash sees past him just being this immigrant. So we support each other and we just choose to see; I just see the hero in Ash every day, even if he lets you down."
Santiago on his experiences working on the set of Ash vs Evil Dead:
"When I met with Sam in that last initial meeting, he said “Are you ready to be doing these stunts and all these long hours and going to New Zealand for months and being covered in blood all the time?” And I said, “Sam I want to be covered in as much blood as possible. I want to run through the wilderness of New Zealand completely naked, being chased from death. And he saw the look in my eye and knew I meant it.
So I just went full throttle into it and it feels like a bunch of Chihuahuas are licking you when they’re putting this blood on you because it’s basically like a bunch of different make-up artists coming at you with all their paintbrushes covered in fake blood.
But I just had to be like, wow- this is my life and this is great. And there’s an initial initiation that happens with Sam, which is where he basically gets a bucket of paint and he splatters you with it. And to me, you kind of feel like you’ve got to go with the punches and due diligence to the franchise and so I just try to do that every day. We just had a meeting for season and I told them I want more situations where Pablo is going through some stuff. You know, I have a hashtag that’s #PabloHasSeenSomeShit (laughs).
And as you can see, I’m embracing it because I think that’s what the fans want and love about this show and the franchise and I’m just so happy to be a part of it."