I'll have to admit it, I never heard of Sam Raimi before starting work on The Quick and the Dead. One of the first questions I asked when signing up to be an extra was, "Who's directing?". "Sam Raimi" was the answer. Didn't ring a bell.
After a couple of days on set, I began to realize what a very nice and likeable guy the Director was. I felt that, if I were to get to know him personally, I would really like him. This is what made me look into what other movies he had made. After seeing Darkman I was hooked. Then I saw Army of Darkness and Evil Dead 2 and I wondered how I could have missed his movies before. This is just the kind of stuff I really love, and here I am working on a movie with Sam Raimi. Needless to say, I loved every minute of it.
Sam is, perhaps, the nicest person I've ever met. He wore a tie on set every day. He was extremely polite to everyone (even extras), calling people "sir" all the time. One time in Craft Service (a roomful of snacks and beverages for the cast and crew), I talked to Sam for a couple of minutes. He even called me "sir" during that conversation.
At one point during the production, the cast and crew had "Quick and the Dead" ballcaps made up. The extras, of course, didn't get any. I just happened to have, however, a Darkman ballcap that I got when I worked at a radio station that promoted that movie when it came out, so I started wearing it on set. The first time I actually wore it on a live set, we were shooting a scene in the saloon. The interior was filled with dense smoke. I looked over and, from across the room through the smoke, I could see Sam staring at me. When our eyes met, he said "Where'd you get that hat?" I told him it was a promotional perk from my radio days. He later signed that hat for me (and drew a picture of a cowboy), as did Bruce Campbell the day he was on set.
During the shooting of the scene right after the Ellen vs. Cort gunfight, where Cort rushes Herod, then brawls with a couple of councillors, I watched as Sam Raimi actually did a flip in the street to show a stuntman how he wanted it done!
I haven't said anything yet about what an impressive artist Sam Raimi is. I don't think I need to convince anyone of that. Watching him at his craft was the treat of a lifetime.
I've been in radio for over 25 years and have worked as an extra in movies and TV shows for over 5 years, so I've rubbed elbows with many, many famous and interesting people. I'm not trying to brag here. The point is that NO ONE has EVER impressed me as much as Sam Raimi did.
Regrettably, I didn't get any personal photographs of Sam on set. My golden opportunity came, but I had left my camera somewhere down the street.
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