Joel McHale Interview for DELIVER US FROM EVIL

The star of Community is ready to take on the world of demons in the new horror movie.

Q: Has this shoot been interesting for you, because we know you as a funny guy, but this is adramatic thriller and different from what we’ve seen you do...

A: Well, I think you said it in that it’s something different than you’ve seen. But I did 100 plays and I did guest stars where I played very different characters than what you see on The Soup or Community, but it is different, because my character is kind of nuts. He’s not necessarily in it to just stop crime. He enjoys fighting and he’s more than happy to kill people if he has permission to. So there’s that. So for me, I wasn’t like, this is so out of my comfort zone, I was more than thrilled. I was thrilled. So, this shoot has been very fun. It’s disorienting because we shoot mostly nights, and Eric, he’s in every single scene, so he is way more exhausted than I am. But it’s just been the time of my life. And Scott Derrickson, who is a very good friend of mine, the director and writer, all I dreamed of was doing a movie with him. So, it’s happening. And then you’ve got Olivia Munn and Edgar Ramirez in the show and it’s just ideal, I am just thrilled.

Q: How did you get the part?

A: Well, when Scott (director) wrote the role, he wrote it with me in mind to play it. And he wrote it as me, because I actually do have a knife collection in my house. I am not kidding and it’s a very large collection of illegal knives. Yep, I am a little weird. (laughter) So, ask anybody, and again, because it was not a typical casting, I had to read for it and thankfully, Scott was fighting for me and thankfully Jerry Bruckheimer and Clint Goldpepper and I guess Amy Pascal took pity on me and allowed me to be in the movie and I was just over the moon. I got to live in New York for a couple of months and play this great character, the opposite of Eric Bana, I felt like I had won some sort of prize, like I had won a lottery or something.

Q: Did you spend time with Police agents to kind of get into the character?

A: I spent time with a friend of mine named Dave Hoffman, who I used to play college football with, who is one of the scariest people I know next to Ralph Sarchie. Dave could rip your arm off and beat you to death with it if he chose to. He trains secret service agents. So we did some stuff where he showed me different procedures and stuff, but having Ralph here is so valuable, and he’s the consultant, and so we would be working every time and Ralph has 100 stories, like we were in this apartment building last week and he was like, yeah, this was one of the bad ones. And they had just the regular entrance, where there was three inch thick bulletproof glass and I was like what the hell and he was like, well, people just take shots at security guards here. They shoot out their windows. And I’m like, is it better now, and he’s like yeah, it’s a lot better now, because we cleaned it up, we kicked everyone’s ass. So he’s been great.

Q: Is your character based on a real character or is it an amalgamation of a bunch of people?

A: It’s based on the book. There’s no actual me, but he needed a partner and Ralph has had multiple partners, so there’s some things but the character was based on, according to Scott, my interactions with Scott, and how I am a smart ass to everybody. But it was no actual person.

Q: Do you believe in demons and exorcisms?

A: I don’t believe in demons but I believe in exorcisms. Yeah, I think that stuff really scares me. You can show me a horrific murder scene, you can show me almost any video of something horrifically violent and I am like, yep. But if you tell me a horrific exorcism story, I will not sleep well. And I feel like I have a capacity to handle that sort of thing maybe more than average, but that stuff scares me.

Q: Has there been a scene here that you shot, that kind of freaked you out? I know you are acting, but even in the moment, did it kind of scare you a little bit?

A: Well I haven’t had to have those creepy conversations where you have in movies, my character is usually showing up, because it’s Sarchie who is tortured and I am always just kind of like, you okay? So he sees things that I don’t see, so I am always kind of checking on him, so actual filming, not yet, but, just reading the script, when I started reading the Mendoza/ Sarchie conversations, that gives me the willies, bad.

Q: Are you excited to just finish up with this and then go right into another season of Community?

A: I think you are forgetting that I am doing the Adam Sandler movie, Blended right after this, thank you. I am having a ball here, so I will look back at this as kind of like a wonderful summer camp time, fun thing, so I know I will be kind of sad when it’s over, because it was such a good experience, so the sequel. But, yeah then I am home for less than a week and then I go to Georgia to shoot the Adam Sandler movie, thank you for casting me Adam Sandler, (laughter) and then I am home and I think I return home the day before I start shooting Community. I have a few days. So the principal shooting on Community is on the and then we have the table read and all the fittings and all those meetings the week 20th before, so I will go into that. But believe me, it’s not hard. I’m not saying it’s easy, that’s the wrong word, I love working, so I am thrilled. And it was great because my family was able to join me here, so it was kind of like a vacation and a summer in New York. It was really ideal, other than the weather, which melted my children, (laughter) so no, working on a movie is really as much fun and making a movie is such a privilege, and when people talk about how hard it is, it’s like, what are we really talking about here? Are you a ship breaker in Mumbai? I just read about them, which sounds like the worst thing ever, but they take derelict ships and they literally just have to cut them apart into pieces this big, and I am so blessed to be able to be in a movie at all.

Q: Physically did you have to change your shape?

A: Yeah. I am now oval. (laughter) Sometimes I am a hexagon. Yes, cause my character is a droid, and I can just remove, (laughter) we borrowed a lot from Star Trek the Next Generation. (laughter) Brent Spiner is going to be pissed. Eric is in really good shape, I was in pretty good shape, but my character, since he’s an ex-Army Ranger, and likes to fight people, he should be in good shape. So yeah, I have been going to the gym a lot. And this woman, this very petite woman named Ally Gritz is kicking my ass all over the place. And I have been sore for about four weeks in a row, cause she just hits a new muscle group each day, and I am like, I didn’t even know I had those. So I actually haven’t changed weight, but I’ve definitely been lifting weights.

Q: From a nerd perspective, so scary wise, is this on a scale from one to ten, what do you think that the fans can kind of expect to experience?

A: I don’t know, I think it depends on who you are, it’s not a boo movie, and it’s not going to be like sinister, I mean there’s very violent cop procedurals, we are trying to solve a crime, and then there just happens to be this very crazy, with a demonic in it, I know there will be some very scary scenes, but it’s not going to be a horror movie. You will be scared. I know my wife will be not happy, she will be scared in the movie theater and not happy.

Q: What are you own favorite horror movies?

A: Well, Session Nine was one of my favorites. It was great. Session Nine 2, not as good. No, they didn’t make one (laughter).


DELIVER US FROM EVIL is at Irish cinemas from August 20th!