On July 2, director Scott Derrickson adds “Deliver Us From Evil” to his cache of creepy horror films including “Sinister” and “The Exorcism of Emily Rose.” Based on the real-life experiences of former-NYPD-officer-now-demonologist Ralph Sarchie, the film stars, along with plenty of demonic possessions, a rich cast including Eric Bana as the pessimistic, skeptic cop Sarchie, Joel McHale as his joke-cracking partner and Edgar Ramirez as Mendoza, an undercover priest. GetOut had the chance to talk with Eric Bana and Joel McHale about the upcoming film.
Q: What drew you guys to the film?
Bana: I loved Ralph Sarchie. The character was so well-written by our director, Scott Derrickson, it didn’t matter what kind of movie he was in — I wanted to play this character. I just loved the journey; I loved his strengths and his flaws. I love Scott’s previous work and thought this would be a very interesting project and a lot of fun, and it was.
McHale: I don’t really have the same choices that Eric has, but my friend Scott wrote the movie as if the character for the part was me. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to get it, but Scott championed me to play the role and it worked. I was thrilled to be working with a friend. When I heard that Eric Bana was on, I was like, ‘Wow, who is that?’ I mean, I’ve always loved Eric and then you get Edgar Ramirez, and Sean Harris and Olivia Munn in there too, and you’ve got a banger.
Q: Eric, was it hard to get into the character of Sarchie?
Bana: No, actually it was a lot of fun. I found a lot of it very easy. I don’t know if this is because I’ve spent a lot of time in New York over the years and heard that accent so much — it was just really exciting for me. I found the accent really easy, so, I wouldn’t say it was difficult. I really enjoyed playing a cop.
Q: The film was shot on location in the Bronx. Did the location play a big part in the movie?
Bana: During the first conversation I had with Scott Derrickson, he promised me we were going to shoot this in New York. Quite often you end up shooting a movie like this in Toronto. Nothing against Toronto, but you can cheat a lot of stuff around the world. We shot every night in the Bronx, and it really adds to the film.
McHale: And people don’t realize how different the Bronx is from Manhattan. It’s a totally different world. The architecture’s beautiful and there’s all these beautiful homes. There’s no Starbucks around, there’s nothing like that.
Q: The movie is said to be based on true events according to Ralph Sarchie. What interests you guys about his story?
Bana: I was intrigued by it, but for me as an actor, I saw Ralph’s journey as an interesting one. I like the idea of a tough cop who would be pessimistic and not open to the supernatural big force. Through Edgar Ramirez’s character, he’s kind of drawn slowly into that world and forced to consider it, whilst, at the same time, he’s blocked by his own demons based on things he’s done in his own life, and he has to pay for that eventually. I love that as a theme, as an idea: that we don’t get away with the things we do — we eventually pay the price for them.
McHale: Scott is brilliant and he had been talking to Sarchie for 10 years. When I first met Scott, he was already researching this and doing ride-alongs with Ralph while he was still patrolling. I followed it for a while and I wanted to be involved, definitely — it was just a great script.
Bana: And that’s what Scott does so well. “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” is like a courtroom drama with horror mixed in and “Sinister” as well. The characters in these movies are so strong, so that is a huge appeal for me as well.
Q: Eric, you started out in comedy, and Joel, you’re also involved in a lot of comedic productions. Do your backgrounds play into the movie at all?
Bana: It does, because when you hang around with cops, and really in all emergency services, you realize they have that gallows humor. … It’s how they get by, it’s part of the dynamic of those kind of jobs. Scott knows Joel extremely well, the two are like best friends, and when he met me, I think he quickly figured out that Joel and I would be able to play that sort of dynamic well and that’s why he was really keen to pair us together. We just kind of mucked around all the way through the shoot and had a great time. And that’s a really important dynamic because the reality is cops just aren’t serious around each other, and even though the film is kind of serious and dark in tone, we can afford to kind of play that dynamic between each other.
• Zachary, a senior at Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, is an intern for GetOut. Contact him at (480) 898-6514 or firstname.lastname@example.org.