I wasn’t planning on getting stabbed during our set visit for Deliver Us from Evil, nor on standing outside in the pouring rain. But as we were trying not to get soaked, a man suddenly came running down the New York City street past us, barefoot and covered in tattoos, shouting and carrying a weapon. Right on his heels was a New York City cop—wearing a Boston Red Sox hat? And carrying a knife? And who looked suspiciously like The Soup’s Joel McHale?
We had a chance to chat with stars McHale and Chris Coy on set of the Scott Derrickson film. While we did get some information from them, it also felt like a mini improv routine, with the two constantly trying to top one another’s jokes and get the bigger laugh. Joel also promised we’d get to see his penis; no word yet on whether or not that will be true. He also then stabbed me with his plastic knife to show it was fake. Thankfully. Hit the jump to read the whole hilarious interview.
CHRIS COY: They take them off every night. The guy who made these is brilliant, it’s like a decal, like when we were kids, temp tats.
So what can you tell us about your part in the film?
COY: I play a marine who has post-traumatic stress disorder, when we’re overseas we encounter something other worldly and extremely powerful and it kind of creeps inside of me and Sean Harris’ character. And I’m not allowed to give you too much but it affects us in an extreme and negative, dare I say evil, way.
How much preparation have you done to play a possessed person?
COY: A lot, my character is more of a wolf, so it’s a lot of growling and running on all fours.
[Joel McHale enters.]
JOEL MCHALE: Hello nerds.
What led you to take your first role in a horror film?
MCHALE: It’s my fourth.
MCHALE: Nah, I can’t remember. What made me want to take it? Because it’s an incredible script with people like Chris Coy. The script is fantastic, and I get cast in films that are mostly comedies and this opportunity came up, and I jumped at the chance. And to work with Scott Derrickson.
Scott said you guys are really old friends and he actually wrote the part for you in your voice, so what new aspects of you that we haven’t seen will we see in this character?
MCHALE: You haven’t seen my penis yet. That’s featured prominently. You will see the more violent side of me that I only really unleash on an attacking bear, so yeah, it’s definitely not a comedic role but I do tell jokes. But hopefully you’ll see, it’s not like I was hiding anything. I’m just glad, I know Scott he wrote with me in mind, and I’m still surprised I got it. And you will see my obsession with knives on camera. As evidenced by me running after Chris as a cop [in the scene we just watched being filmed.]
MCHALE: We’re offered a night job and we motivate each other by switching knives.
What’s the training and motivation for these physical scenes?
COY: We meet at 5 in the morning and we just beat the shit out of each other for hours.
MCHALE: Well we’re both doing fight training out at Kaufman studios, so there’s a lot of that. He’s a master of numerous martial arts so he’s in good shape. You think I’m joking. And then I just go lift weights.
COY: He’s being modest, he’s a bad ass. And can certainly move.
So why do they have you guys doing this instead of stunt guys?
MCHALE: They looked for stunt guys that looked like us from the back and they couldn’t find anyone. Look, it’s a Jerry Bruckheimer production, SONY funded, so I think we only have like 30 million. So…you have to cut some corners.
How many ride alongs did you do to prepare?
MCHALE: I didn’t do any. I just talked to Sarchie. And my cop is very unorthodox so…I’ve done it before and I only got 3 days notice with this movie. But talking to Sarchie and the other cops that helped immensely. Every time I look at Sarchie and I go, ‘ did that look like I was a cop’ and he goes ‘Yeah! You look like a cop!” [looks at Coy] And then you’re like ‘did that look like I was out of my mind?’
COY: Yeah, I mean I asked them to bring a wolf on set. They couldn’t find one that would do it for this little amount of money.
Why are you wearing a Boston hat in the Bronx?
MCHALE: Because my character not only prefers knives to guns, police batons or Tasers, he just wears stuff to piss off other cops. I’m not joking, there’s a whole scene about the hat.
Is your character based on a real guy?
MCHALE: Scott wrote him with me in mind, but he’s not based on a real guy.
How about your character, is he based on someone?
COY: I just found out today actually, he’s just based on every psychopath that Sarchie ever ran into through his entire career.
MCHALE: Which is a lot.
COY: No, I’m an actor, I don’t read shit.
MCHALE: I performed an exorcism on a friend of mine. He’s pretty mad about it, apparently he wasn’t possessed, but I did heat up a cross and press it against his forehead.
Can we ask you about the make-up, obviously you’re all tatted up here, but do you have more elaborate prosthetics as the transformation goes on?
COY: Yeah, there’s some progression, there’s a couple of different stages.
How long is it, is it like seven or eight hours in the make-up chair?
COY: Stage Three is like four hours, something like that.
Is that tonight?
COY: No, this is like an hour and a half.
Are we getting to that tonight?
Are you seriously like a lycanthrope or something?
COY: (sighs) God. I don’t even-
He doesn’t even know, he didn’t read it.
MCHALE: What did you say?
A lycanthrope, like a werewolf.
MCHALE: Yes, this is very much like Underworld.
So how’s it been shooting on location in the Bronx?
COY: It’s been great. The other night we were running by and there were about a hundred locals just hanging out on the sidewalk, like kind of cheering us on.
Joel, they kind of have to accommodate your “Soup” schedule, right? You’re shooting that here?
MCHALE: Yeah, I’ve been shooting that on Wednesdays, it takes about three hours, so thank god the “Soup” staff is incredibly efficient and they sent a couple people out here. We’re renting out the Rachel Ray studios. I get in at 11 and I’m usually done by 1:30 and then I come back here, so it’s incredibly convenient and ideal.
MCHALE: Yeah, but these are days that I’ve always dreamed of. It’s not like uh, I don’t have to swing a hammer. Believe me, so many people have a thousand times harder jobs, so I skip to work.
Can we talk about the physical aspect, because we’ve seen you guys run down the street in the rain and the cold, what’s like the toughest thing you do in this movie, physically? If you can tell us.
MCHALE: Can we tell you?
COY: I don’t know if we can tell them.
MCHALE: I get into a pretty crazy fight. And that will demand a hell of a lot of… it will take days to make.
So you haven’t shot it yet?
MCHALE: Not shot yet.
Are you guys horror fans or fans of occult stories in general?
COY: Yeah, I’m a fan of all movies, but certainly a fan of horror. The Exorcist was the first movie to make me piss myself for sure.
MCHALE: I am too. I love Scott’s movies, but I love horror films when they’re good. Just like any other genre, there are lots of shitty ones. And I’m glad the whole torture porn movement has moved on, because that was non-scary.
COY: I dunno, Hostel Part 3 was pretty amazing.
MCHALE: I’m very excited about Human Centipede. I really like the movie Session 9, how about that? I really do, I love that movie… You’re out of questions, that’s it? We stumped the bloggers.
What else would you like to say about this project?
MCHALE: Oh c’mon. Not that general.
What about the filmmaker, obviously you’re friendly with Scott, what’s it like working with him? What does he bring to this project?
MCHALE: He’s amazing. I know you hear a lot of actors say things like that while they’re on set, it’s true though. He’s very light-hearted on set, which is great, which permeates the whole set, and he knows exactly what he wants. There’s no wavering. We’re not shooting endlessly because we’re trying to find something that’s going to appear from magic. He knows the things he wants and when he gets them he’s like, “Great, let’s move on.”
COY: He knows how to communicate with his actors really well too. You run into a lot of directors who are maybe visionaries but don’t know how to speak. He’s certainly not that guy, he’s such a great director to work with. This is the second movie I’ve done with him, the first one he stepped in halfway through and saved it from being a complete disaster.
What was that?
COY: I can’t say.
How long have you known Scott?
MCHALE: We met in a restaurant called Fred 62 in Silverlake. I ordered the… We met through a mutual friend. I made some sort of pussy joke which he laughed at. And I was like, that guy I’m gonna know for a long time.
What’s it like working with Eric?
MCHALE: He’s a dick. No, much like Scott he is light-hearted, very calm.
COY: He’s so funny, too. I for one was not ready for that. He’s hilarious.
MCHALE: He was a stand up comic, and he had his own variety show. Look at the way he’s built and how good of an actor he is, and he’s funny. It’s like God just went, “That will be a movie star.”
He said you guys spent about 40 minutes, like a 40 minute long take?
MCHALE: We were driving around as partners, just going around in circles in the Bronx, and they just had us improvise as what our relationship and how- my character is just kind of.. He has fun, he kills people who are bad and protects people who are good.
COY: And he has fun killing people.
MCHALE: He enjoys it, he is like a robot, kind of, but a fun-loving robot. And then Sarchie is so grounded. He’s insanely good at improvising, it’s nuts. He’s also a great impressionist, the bastard. He healed me earlier! I’m honored to work with him, and Chris.
What’s it like working with Olivia Munn?
MCHALE: I only had one scene with her, but I’ve known Olivia for years. In real life, she’s hilarious, which is always displayed on “The Newsroom.” And not attractive. It’s a crime, the combination of beauty and comedy that she has. And then she’s a really good actor. I only have one small scene with her. But all the families – like her family came, my family and Scott’s family we all actually went down to the 9/11 memorial on the Fourth of July. She actually got us all in.
MCHALE: I don’t blame her. What happened in Cabo…
COY: It was a whole painful…
MCHALE: It’s good to rub your microphone into your soaking shirt.
Can you talk about the tat you’ve got here?
MCHALE: I’m a former Army ranger, and this happens to be a lady who carries a bazooka around for me. As you can see, I’m obsessed with knives and guns. And these are people that I’ve killed. Just as a character, it’s kind of marking where I’ve been, what I do.
COY: I have a chick with a bazooka too.
How much humor actually ends up in the film?
MCHALE: Scott is actually a very funny writer, and there’s a lot of gallows humor. Cops tell pretty morbid jokes, soldiers do too, and a lot of that type of humor is in the movie. My character has zero- he has some fear but he doesn’t really care about a lot of stuff, so he sees bodies and shootings and stabbings, he’s happy to joke and have a warm meal afterwards. Because the movie is pretty dark, there are definitely jokes in it, but I don’t want anybody to think for a second it’s a comedy. It’s not. Don’t write that!