At WonderCon, Sony Pictures previewed a new trailer for their upcoming ‘based-on-a-true-story’ release Deliver Us From Evil. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer, director Scott Derrickson (Sinister) and stars Joel McHale (Community), Olivia Munn (Attack of the Show!), Edgar Ramirez (Domino) and Eric Bana (Munich) were on hand to discuss the real life exorcism the film is based on, whether the cast believes it to be true and just what separates exorcism films from other genre films. For a full recap of the Deliver Us From Evil footage shown and bullet point highlights from the Q&A, hit the jump.
The trailer screened emphasized the ‘based-on-real-events’ tag, intercutting footage from the movie with interviews from police officer Ralph Sarchie on whom the film is based. There are a number of creepy images in the new trailer – the rolling plush toy from earlier trailers, a pale man with a whole lot of self-inflicted wounds, a man that can bend his neck way too far back and a number of gruesome looking wounds
& corpses. There’s an added tension to much of these images – as the trailer will cut to Sarchie telling you that all the horrific stuff you’re seeing depicted on screen actually happened. Whether or not you buy into what Sarchie is selling becomes moot, it’s the very questioning of the verisimilitude of the picture that frightens.
After the footage was screened, a brief Q&A was held. Bullet point highlights to which are below…
- Jerry Bruckheimer on the origins of the picture: “About ten years ago, we found the book. We were really excited about it. It’s based on a true story of Ralph Sarchie who’s a detective in the Bronx. We love bringing verisimilitude to audiences. Hopefully they’ll experience things they never had, that Ralph had. Scott Derrickson wrote the first draft of the adaptation. He went on to some other projects and did some successful movies. He came back and very fortunately we got the movie made with this wonderful cast.”
- What is it about the genre that attracted Bruckheimer to the film: “We really love procedurals. We made a lot of procedurals for television. This is part procedural. It has a paranormal element, which I haven’t done before. Scott is the expert on that based on his previous work. We rely on him to bring something that’s extraordinarily scary and true to the screen.”
- Eric Bana on approaching the so-called ‘real’ supernatural elements of the film: “I was coming from a skeptical place. But obviously as an actor you have to be open. [Scott] scared the bejeezus out of me in preproduction. He had access to some materials that Ralph Sarchie had. He shared with me a bunch of things I immediately regretted seeing. So I was really open. There are shades of grey. It’s not as simple as someone’s not possessed and someone is possessed… There’s a point at which it doesn’t matter if it’s supernatural or not. If you’re Rob Sarchie and you’re investigating these crimes or these possession, he conducts these investigations like a police officer [would]. Some of the source material we saw is fascinating because he’s literally a cop who’s interviewing someone who [claims to be possessed]. So it’s actually a very analytical, very procedural point of view.”
- Olivia Munn on watching the tape of a real life exorcism: “To me [the shoot] got serious when Eric told me had seen the actual exorcism footage the NYPD took and he couldn’t sleep for three weeks and he wasn’t even a believer. And I was like ‘But you couldn’t sleep for three weeks? What’s so scary, you big Australian man?’ So then I asked to see the [tapes]. If Eric saw them, than I wanted to too. [Eric] heard [I had asked] to see them and [told me not to see them] because you wont be able to sleep. And that’s when it got real for me — because if I can’t see them, then I have to see them. So I [ended up] watching half of one. I cried and then I slept with the lights on and they’re still on…”
- Scott Derrickson on what makes a good exorcism film: “I like zombie movies even though the audience knows there aren’t really zombies or vampire movies – even though there’s no real vampires. Exorcisms, though, are a fact. They’ve really happened. And the footage I showed Eric and Olivia was real. This has all happened to real people. Two things about that – I like that it allows a different kind of fear to enter into the audience, if you do it properly. It’s a fear that’s deeper than other kinds of genre films. But I also like that it opens the mind for the mysteries of life. I’m a big believer that horror films are meant to be fun and a source of escape like all good entertainment is… but a good horror film, and a good exorcism film certainly, makes you think that the world is a bit more magical and mysterious than what you’re often told.”
Deliver Us From Evil opens July 2nd. Click here for all our WonderCon coverage.