Cult filmmaker Don Coscarelli (Phantasm) served up a certified genre classic a few years back when he dressed Bruce Campbell up like an aged Elvis Presley and had him fight a mummy in Bubba Ho-Tep. Based on a short story by Texas writer Joe Lansdale, the movie imagined that The King had not died, but had instead swapped places with an Elvis impersonator years ago in order to escape the pressure of the spotlight. Now he was living out his golden years in a retirement home with nothing to do and a growth on his pecker. He found new purpose when an actual, honest-to-gosh mummy began killing the community’s residents, forcing him to team up with the brain of John F. Kennedy, currently residing inside an elderly black man’s body, and defeat the soul-sucking undead critter.
While Bubba Ho-Tep didn’t exactly break the bank, it did earn a cult following, and fans have been clamoring ever since for a follow-up. That sequel was purportedly going to be titled Bubba Nosferatu, but the project has been lingering in development hell for years, with Bruce Campbell supposedly more interested in other projects. Now actor Paul Giamatti has dropped a new update on the project, which may be changing names, genres, and locations to become Bubba Roswell. That’s right, The King could be squaring off against little green (or gray) men…if only they could find a replacement Elvis and some funding.
Giamatti tipped off MTV News about the Bubba Roswell idea while hyping his and Coscarelli’s John Dies at the End at the Sundance Film Festival. Giamatti said, “Oh, we have all kinds of plans for a Bubba franchise. We’ve been thinking Bubba Roswell, is what we’ve been thinking.”
Unfortunately, Coscarelli is less optimistic. Here’s what he said about the would-be franchise:
A key ingredient declined to participate in the film: it was Bruce Campbell, who — as far as I was told — decided he wanted to work on other projects and didn’t want to do it. That was pretty much the end of it. Then we talked to another terrific actor in Ron Perlman, who was interested, but at that time, a couple of years had gone by, and it was very difficult to get the funding together.
Look, Bruce. I realize you might be weary of fighting the undead. You’ve done that plenty as Ash. But now you’re robbing us of the joy of watching Elvis kill aliens, and that’s just mean. Help us, Bruce Campbell…you’re our only hope.