by: Jay Carlson
Rumors of a sequel to Bubba Ho-Tep have swirled for years. Bruce Campbell was originally attached to reprise his role Elvis/Sebastian Haff with Paul Giamatti enthusiastically joining the project as Colonel Parker. Campbell then announced shortly after Giamatti’s arrival that he was no longer involved with the sequel, telling Fangoria Radio:
“[BUBBA NOSFERATU] is dead to me. It sleeps with the fishes. Don Coscarelli is a very passionate filmmaker. We got to a few points [developing the screenplay] that we couldn’t reconcile. I want to keep our friendship, so we parted ways. So I’m not part of that project.”
A replacement was sought for the departing Campbell and Ron Perlman came on to play Elvis in Bubba Nosferatu. The project never materialized and Giamatti and director Don Coscarelli eventually went on to make John Dies at the End in 2012.
I was in attendance for a screening of The Evil Dead in Boston this past Saturday at the historic Wilbur Theater in Boston with Bruce Campbell in attendance to introduce the film and answer questions after. When asked about what he had coming up he made an interesting comment regarding the Bubba Ho-Tep sequel.
(Campbell turned his head to show the audience his profile where he was sporting uncharacteristic mutton chop style sideburns.)
Campbell: I’m growing a certain hair on the side of my face which you may notice. On the side there’s a slightly uncharacteristic…
Audience Member: Bubba Ho-Tep!
Campbell: It’s not Bubba Ho-Tep. It’s not.
Campbell: Although that is being currently written by Joe Lansdale, the original writer.
(The audio of the nearly complete Q&A can be heard HERE)
What does this mean? Obviously, if Campbell is providing updates to a sequel it would mean he’s involved again, which is great news. I thought it was a huge mistake for Coscarelli to entertain replacing Campbell with Perlman. No offense to Perlman, who is a fine actor in his own right, but Campbell is the major reason the film worked so well. There’s still a lot that’s not known. We don’t know if Lansdale’s sequel is in the form of a movie script or a novel/short story. And we don’t know what the plot will be. It’s entirely possible it’s not about Elvis fighting Nosferatu at all.
Bubba director, Coscarelli would certainly be involved in the sequel telling Hero Complex during the promotion for John Dies in the End:
I would love to do a sequel to it (Bubba Ho-Tep). Maybe in time I’ll reconnect with Bruce and we’ll figure out a way to make it happen. Certainly there’s a fan base for it. Whether the people that put up money would ever recognize that or not, I don’t know. I’d love to see it. I’m willing. Send any financiers willing to invest in a movie my way.
For those unfamiliar, Bubba Ho-Tep, directed by Don Coscarelli, starred Bruce Campbell as an elderly Elvis Presley, penniless and living out his remaining years in a nursing home. Ossie Davis co-starred as another elderly man who believed he was John F. Kennedy who was patched up, dyed black and then abandoned after the assassination “attempt” was made in 1963. The two band together to fight an Ancient Egyptian mummy who is terrorizing their retirement home. The film quickly became a cult favorite and has become Bruce Campbell’s biggest hit outside of The Evil Dead Trilogy.
How do you feel? Are you as excited as me at the prospect of Campbell reprising his role of The King in a Bubba Ho-Tep Sequel?