Following a WonderCon presentation of Sony's Deliver Us From Evil (read more about that here along with our interview with director Scott Derrickson), stars Eric Bana and Edgar Ramirez sat down with Shock to shed a bit more insight on their roles and tease us a bit about the film's "exorcism scene."
The supernatural thriller, opening July 2nd, follows New York police officer Sarchie (Bana), who is struggling with his own personal issues. As he begins investigating a series of disturbing and inexplicable crimes, he joins forces with an unconventional priest (Ramirez), schooled in the rituals of exorcism, to combat the frightening and demonic possessions that are terrorizing their city.
Shock Till You Drop: Did any personal beliefs about the so-called "real life events" that took place seep through into your performance or did you stick to simply what was right there in the material?
Eric Bana: Not so much. I'm a believer in once you get to day one of production, it's really all about what's in front of you. You fill you brains with facts, figures, mush, but what the audience is going to see is what's on the page and what gets shot that day. That's when I start to narrow my focus and think about what's missing or what can be elevated.
Shock: Describe your character a little bit, is he representing the audience to a degree?
Bana: He is, but in the best possible way. Sarchie has a dark secret that's not alluded to in any of the clips and trailers and it's fundamental to him and the film. That was exciting because it's very dramatic and, in a way, somewhat spiritual, somewhat real. It's a cool nugget from his past. It was a combination of him being a facts guys, dealing with real brutality and the things he saw in the Bronx every day. There's no shades of gray. It's just black and white, you either did something or you didn't. He's a reference point for the audience, but there's a whole other side to him that you slowly learn about.
Shock: And for you, Edgar?
Ramirez: I've got my own beliefs in the movie. He's a priest, but a Jesuit priest. He's aware of the lack of completion that both religion and science don't have all of the answers to. He knows both religion and science are limited. He's a liberal, particular, non-conventional priest who believes in what he stands for, but he doesn't judge for those who don't believe. He doesn't need to convince anyone. He's a lone wolf. His path crosses Sarchie and they have to cooperate.
Shock: You said on the stage that this character came out of two real-life priests – how did you find the voice that accurately portrayed both men?
Ramirez: It was on the page, and Scott crafted a beautiful character. It's a complete and complex character. Something that definitely you see very rarely. I worked closely with Scott to try and find the right voice. A lot came from research that we did. We're very happy with how he turned out.
Shock: There is one unifying story thread, yes? Or is it just you guys taking on random cases?
Bana: There is. There's a couple…
Ramirez: There's an investigation of a certain case that brings the two of us together. We're investigating it from different points of view and then somehow he happens to have a piece of information I don't. And I have information he needs. We're forced to work together. And then we discover something that will complete us on a greater level, beyond the case.
Shock: Without giving anything away, of course, talk a bit about shooting the big exorcism scene. That's my presumption that there even is one?
Bana: [laughs] It was pretty brutal. At that point in the production…we were on location the whole time. But then you get to the last week and you’re on a sound stage. The clock comes off of the wall and suddenly you’re in Vegas. [laughs] Until we finish this exorcism, we're here. No one is going home until we banish this demon.
Ramirez: We took it very seriously. It's not an action scene, it's a dramatic scene. A battle between two forces. That makes it different from anything you've seen before. We were faithful to the Rites of Exorcism and…I'm trying to not give anything away. The entire movie leads to that moment though, that breaking point. If you enjoy these kinds of movies, you'll see something different and unique.