It seems like an unlikely pairing, but seeing Eric Bana and Joel McHale interact with one another is a thing of beauty. The “Hulk” badass and the star of NBC’s “Community” play New York cops in the horror thriller “Deliver Us From Evil,” a film based on the true accounts of a Bronx police officer who encountered unexplainable evil during his midnight shifts. The film, which is directed by Scott Derrickson and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, follows Ralph Sarchie as he delves into the world of demons.
Bana and McHale stopped by Phoenix during their press tour and College Times got a chance to pick their brains about scary movies, knives, and their blossoming bromance, which is fairly top notch. They don’t need very much to keep the party going all on their own. The film opens on July 2. Keep an eye out for our review online.
College Times: Did you two know each other before filming this movie?
McHale: Yeah, we did “The Time Traveler’s Wife” together. I played the wife.
Bana: We had a lot of kissing scenes.
McHale: He was a big fan of mine, so he was aware of me, but we didn’t know each other.
So were all the kissing scenes cut from this movie?
McHale: No. Did you see the movie?
I did. Maybe I covered my eyes for that part.
McHale: See? It was terrifying.
Bana: In the exorcism [scene]we subliminally planted images of Joel and I kissing, so about 12 months from now you’ll start getting nightmares and you’ll see visions of Joel and Eric passionately kissing. That’s where it comes from.
So there was passion…
McHale: You think that we would kiss without passion? You think it would be a loveless kiss?
Bana: Press pause a lot when you get the Blu-ray. Watch it shot-by-shot and see if I’m lying or not. If you’ve got the time, you might find something.
Do you remember the first horror movie you watched as a kid?
Bana: It must have been “The Exorcist.” I must have been like 10 or something.
McHale: You saw that when you were 10?
Bana: Yeah, I had an uncle that let me see everything. I would sneak into the drive-in in the trunk of his car with him and his girlfriend, and then they would hop in the backseat, I would hop in the front seat, and I would sit through whatever we went to see.
McHale: And then they would be doing stuff in the backseat?
Bana: Perhaps. I never looked over my shoulder.
McHale: What’s your uncle up to these days?
Bana: Let’s not go there.
McHale: He’s in that much trouble? That’s terrible.
Bana: I saw a lot of films thanks to that uncle.
McHale: I’m trying to think of the first movie that really scared me and I think it was this movie called “The Watcher in the Woods,” which had a very old Bette Davis in it. It’s from the late ‘70s or very early ‘80s and it’s a Disney film, I believe. But it’s about these kids that go away to their weird great aunt’s mansion for the summer and they start disappearing into the woods. It’s terrifying, especially as a kid. I lived in the woods basically so I was like, “this is going to happen to me.”
Joel, your character uses knives in the movie, and from what I understand, you really enjoy knives.
McHale: I have a lot of knives of my own. I have some Samurai swords and some short swords. I have a lot of switch blades and Bloody Marys.
Bana: What’s a Bloody Mary?
McHale: It shoots out the front.
McHale: That’s an automatic knife that is very legal. You hit a button and the knife…
Bana: Oh, it’s like a flick knife.
McHale: I’ll bring one tomorrow. They’re amazing. Very illegal.
Do you travel with them ever?
McHale: Not that you know of! But when (director) Scott [Derrickson] wrote the script, we’ve been good friends for many years, he wrote the part [of Butler]as if it were me, not that I was going to get the role. So I have an obsession with knives. I always have.
Bana: Do you worry about the kids getting a hold of them and playing and cutting each other up?
McHale: I’m being this kind of father where I go, ‘Well, you better handle these things and learn how to use them and be very careful.’ If I’m ever cutting something I give them the knife to cut it. So far no fingers have been lost. I have knives all over the house in almost every room. I have a whole bag of them.
How old were when you started playing with knives?
McHale: Like five. My mom and dad—we lived in Europe, thank you. In my parent’s travels in the ‘60s, they picked up all sorts of weird weapons from the Middle East and Africa. So now I collect wine and knives. It’s great. The best combination is booze and weapons.
Yeah, cheese is stupid.
McHale: So the knives I use in this movie are a ka-bar and a double edged dagger are the ones that I fight with. But when I was actually doing the fight scenes they were made of rubber…
Bana: [Sighs] Talk about taking the air out of the movie. Come on, we are promoting the film, not demoting the film!
McHale: Excuse me. The knives were real but during the fight I was wearing a rubber.
Bana: That’s much better.