Spoilers for Bruce Campbell’s cameo in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness below.
Bruce Campbell has been close friends with director Sam Raimi ever since he was cast as Ash Williams in the Evil Dead series. Since then Campbell has made several cameos for Raimi including in the original Spider-Man trilogy and the new Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Campbell reacted to the viral popularity his cameo appearance gained as the Pizza Poppa in Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness.
They reunited during Multiverse of Madness, as Campbell played the irritable New York street vendor known as the Pizza Poppa — something Campbell himself didn’t think would make it into the movie.
“I can’t believe I made it into the movie! I used to joke that Benedict Cumberbatch wasn’t sure he was going to be in the movie because they were constantly reworking the storyline,” he said. “Sam and I are always in touch because of Evil Dead and a lot of other stuff, but we’re also friends. And I know when stuff gets going, and I can always harass my agent and go, ‘Hey, see what’s going on in there.’”
Gaining some newfound viral ‘Poppa’-ularity on TikTok and Twitter as the character has been well received by fans. Campbell diehards out there also recognize that the character pays homage to the Campbell-Raimi classic, Evil Dead II, as his Multiverse of Madness self-inflicted punches and slaps are reminiscent of his approach to slapstick humor in that film.
“As long as the Pizza Poppa gets paid, everything is fine,” he said. “Yeah, the memes are coming out already. You want something to be remembered. Maybe I’ll stop being the Evil Dead guy, and I’ll be the Pizza Poppa guy.”
Campbell’s other Raimi cameos include the first Spider-Man film where Campbell is responsible for naming the titular hero during the film’s wrestling scene. In Spider-Man 2 he played a theater usher that stopped Peter Parker from going to see Mary Jane Watson’s play, and in Spider-Man 3, he played the maître d’ that helped Parker propose to Jane Watson in the restaurant.
Though Campbell said he does not personally rank his cameos, he said that the only criteria he ever needs is that the character in question be pivotal.
“In the first Spider-Man, I named Spider-Man. In the second one, I’m the only character to defeat Spider-Man by not letting him into the theater. And in Spider-Man 3, he comes to the maître d’ for help with his proposal to Mary Jane. How many superheroes come to mortals for help? Like, zero. So, I set a precedent. And if you do put me in there, it’ll change the movie forever. Sam is aware that I’ve made his movies iconic.”
But Raimi and Campbell’s collaboration in Spider-Man doesn’t end with cameos, as the actor shared that he was being considered for the role of Mysterio in the canceled Spider-Man 4, but that the deal to make the film had fallen apart before a conversation could actually take place.
Be sure to check out IGN’s review of Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness and Evil Dead: The Game’s launch trailer.
Diego Ramos Bechara is a Freelance Writer for IGN.