Hitting theaters July 2, is Deliver Us From Evil, a new supernatural crime thriller that writer/director Scott Derrickson describes, “Serpico meets The Exorcist.” While this may seem like the most unlikely pairing since Abbot and Costello first encountered The Wolfman, it’s actually a pretty good assessment of the film’s tone and style. The Jerry Bruckheimer production tells the very-loosely-based-on-fact story of Ralph Sarchie, (Eric Bana) a hardboiled Police Sargent from the Bronx who, – with the help of a knife-wielding partner (Joel McHale) and the guidance of a Priest (Edgar Ramirez) carrying a dark past of his own – slowly discovers that the perp in his latest murder investigation just might be Satan himself. As the walls close in and the bodies pile up, Sarchie and his cohorts race against time to find the culprit and protect his own family (Olivia Munn).
Recently, Collider sat down with McHale to discuss his ‘psychotic’ role in the film. During our interview, he gave us a prophecy about the return of his then-still-canceled sitcom’s rise from the crypt, his affinity for knife fights, his deeply ingrained fear of Tom Selleck, how Derrickson looked deep into the bowels of the Golf Channel to cast this film, whether we are living in the darkest timeline and more.
Here’s the interview followed by a full transcript:
McHALE: I’ve been here for two days.
Wow, all just in this one room doing interviews?
McHALE: My legs are asleep.
McHALE: They’re useless. This is covered in feces and urine.
You hid it well. I mean, it is yellow.
McHALE: Yeah, that’s why I wore these pants.
So, now that Community is possibly over, you’ve jumped right into being an action star?
McHALE: Right, right. That was my transition. That’s exactly how I planned it.
So, sort of the Bruce Willis model?
McHALE: Yes, yes. When they cancel your television show you are given a ticket to be in a thrilling action horror film.
Has it actually, officially been canceled.
McHALE: Well, NBC has canceled it, but there is talk of it coming on an internet platform which would have to happen soon because all of our contracts expire. But I know that it got reported about so it very well could happen. So we’ll see. I’d love to do it.
In this movie – because I do want to talk about this movie – you don’t like guns very much. You have a lot of good knife fights though. Why don’t you like guns?
McHALE: Uhh… Knives are way deadlier. You get stuck a little bit a knife and you bleed out. My character is a little bit psychotic and would prefer seeing people cut than shot because if you’re an experienced knife fighter, that makes it a little bit more unique. Also, I have my own knife collection at home, so it was a dream come true.
What is the freakiest thing you’ve ever seen?
McHALE: In my life?
Yeah, in your life?
McHALE: Any time ever in my entire life, the freakiest thing I’ve ever seen, ever?
The freakiest thing you’ve ever seen, ever that scared you to your core – like a demon?
McHALE: Boy, I don’t know. Probably when I was getting into a car accident or something. I’m not sure.
But you’ve never seen anything supernatural?
That does sound scary. In this, you’re working with Olivia Munn, who worked on Attack of the Show, and obviously you with The Soup, were you cast specifically ‘against type’— or was there a connection between those two?
McHALE: Scott Derrickson raided E! and well, G4 and the Golf Channel – that’s where Eric Bana was working at the time. No. Well, Scott is a good friend of mine and he wrote the role. He didn’t say he wrote it for me, but he says, ‘I wrote this as if you had decided to go into police work’ and made me a little psychotic… or more psychotic. So I had to still get the role, or audition for it. Which was wonderfully bizarre. And that’s how I ended up getting it. But for Scott, we were already very close and he knew me. And I knew, I’d done a bunch of dramatic acting before The Soup in graduate school with plays and that. So for him it wasn’t like a big leap at all. It wasn’t for me. I was thrilled to do it.
Are we living in the darkest timeline?
McHALE: Well, I do have both arms. So either I am wearing a prosthetic, or we are.