Comic-Con 2012: 'Burn Notice' Star Bruce Campbell Goes Virtual in Activision's 'Amazing Spider-Man'

Joe Pugliese

The "Evil Dead" icon has provided voice acting for all four Spider-Man games.

Actor Bruce Campbell will be making his annual trek to San Diego Comic-Con this year, even though his USA Network Burn Notice show and the new Evil Dead remake won’t be in attendance. The actor will be promoting his latest virtual role in Activision and Beenox’ The Amazing Spider-Man game, which serves as an epilogue to the Sony Pictures blockbuster reboot by director Marc Webb.

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Campbell, who plays The Extreme Reporter in the new game, will sign autographs for fans at Activision’s booth at The Con on Saturday at 4 p.m. The actor, who has voiced characters in all four Spider-Man movie games, talks about video games, including an epic arcade battle between directors Sam Raimi and Brian de Palma, in this exclusive interview.

The Hollywood Reporter: Why do you think Spider-Man has translated so well to videogames over the years?

Bruce Campbell: Because of the movement. Your character can do anything, go up, down, sideways, left, spin around, flip, and it’s all in 3D. Sam (Raimi) was more interested in 3D before 3D was 3D, so with the Spider-Man games, that’s the whole deal because he’s a three dimensional guy.

THR: What’s a fond videogame memory you can share?

Campbell: Watching Sam Raimi beat Brian De Palma at the game Berzerk in New York City around 1981. It was an arcade called Fascination around 42nd Street and Brian De Palma was working on his movie Blowout and we were working on our movie Evil Dead in the same building, where you do post production sound. It’s a very tedious process so you always have to get out, go have lunch, go somewhere else.  Right around the corner was this video arcade where Sam and I would always go to play Berzerk, Asteroids, some Pac-Man – although Pac-Man was always lame to me. Brian De Palma was playing Berzerk and Sam Raimi came up and challenged him. They played a duel match and Sam kicked his ass.  That was probably one of the most fulfilling experiences, watching Sam Raimi kick a young Brian De Palma’s ass in Berzerk.

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THR: Do you miss those arcade days?

Campbell: It was pretty loud.  Fascination had like 100 arcade machines and you couldn’t hear yourself think.  At the time it was like we didn’t care.  It was cheap.  We could have lunch and then go in there and spend like $1.50 and play for a half an hour.

THR: How have you see the roles and opportunities for actors in Hollywood evolve when it comes to the videogame business?

Campbell: The people who used to be just voice actors are very upset at people who are normal actors.  Having Mike Meyers and Eddie Murphy and people like that voicing cartoons now, whereas thirty years ago it would have been classy voice actors doing these characters.  Now, because of the economic pressures, you have to have movie stars doing voices even though their voices, they’re sometimes not that great.

THR: Often those same celebrities opt out of voicing the same characters in the videogame versions of those animated features.

Campbell: Yeah. And I feel the pain of the voice actors who do stuff like Grand Theft Auto. I know they put in as many booth hours as Mike Meyers or anybody who’s in the big movies, voicing these games. Because right now that’s all there is. You can’t put out an animated movie now without two or three movie stars doing voices.

THR: Grand Theft Auto V is coming out and that game will have a lot of voice actors.

Campbell: Grand Theft Auto…I mean that poor guy is doing 80 hours in a booth, then they change the game, they upgrade it and now it’s you have to go back and do it again.  They bring you back in because the waterfall is over your head so you have to shout your lines.  Grand Theft Auto is probably the same way.  If the gamer goes this way it can record series A.  If he goes this way series B, and you do that through the whole alphabet.