Eric Bana Is Terrified; Is A Better Man For It

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ericbana_embPhoto: REX USA/Richard Dobson/Newspix/Rex.
Eric Bana has played his fair share of complicated characters, but none come close to New York City police officer Ralph Sarchie in Deliver Us From Evil. Sarchie is a no-nonsense cop in the worst parts of the Bronx, and his nightly rounds alongside his wisecracking, weirdo partner Butler (played by Joel McHale) include all sorts of human-made horrors.

Deliver Us From Evil was co-written and directed by Scott Derrickson, who scared the pants off moviegoers in 2012's surprising summer horror hit, Sinister, and inspired by the real Sarchie, a no-nonsense Bronx cop turned demonologist, who chronicled his experiences in his book Beware the Night. Although Bana has played all sorts of oddballs, he's never taken a crack at horror before. "I loved his previous films, Sinister and The Exorcism of Emily Rose, and he just wrote an amazing character that was nothing like I'd ever read before. It just happened to be in a horror film," he said.

The real Sarchie is still an active demonologist, and part of the cast's research was watching footage that Derrickson had assembled with some help from Sarchie. What Bana found left him deeply unsettled. Still, at Screen Gems and The Cinema Society's opening for the film, he had nothing but good things to say about taking on the role of this tortured cop. "It's sort of hard to talk about without you seeing the film, but there's a kind of redemptive quality; there's a real brutality to him, there's a complexity. Yeah, it's just all the things you dream of as an actor."

Have you fully recovered from the video footage Scott had you guys watch as research?
"I have. I've washed it off me. [Laughs] Yeah, I have no plans on revisiting it."

What do you do to bring yourself back down to earth after being in this horror milieu?
"I typically watch some sports."

Do you think you're more inclined towards superstition now that you've made this, and you’ve seen footage?
"[Laughs] Oh, yeah. I mean, I'm quite skeptical, but I've definitely had my mind opened a little bit more by hanging out with Ralph and Scott, and learning more about the cultural and religious aspects of the subject matter."

What was the most challenging scene to shoot?
"I'd say the exorcism sequence, at the end of the movie, which was just a week of insanity. But, kind of crazy and fun at the same time."

When I was in high school, I used to try to find the most badass movies I could, and Chopper was one of them. Are you surprised that it's still a cult movie after all these years?
"Oh no! I feel very, very lucky! To do any film that people talk about for more than a week is a challenge, so no, it's awesome!"

How much World Cup have you been watching?
"None! I've been on the road doing this, unfortunately, but Australia's out now so I'm not missing too much."

Where are you vacationing this summer?
"Well, it's our winter, so I'll miss out on the whole summer vacation thing."

Where would you like to escape to after all of this?
"After a movie like this? The bar."