Today sees the release of Deliver Us From Evil, a gritty supernatural thriller based on the accounts from a real NYC cop by the name of Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana), who faced some incredibly bizarre and haunting experiences while working on the force years ago.
Directed by Scott Derrickson, Deliver Us From Evil was co-produced by Jerry Bruckheimer Films and Screen Gems. During the recent press day for the film, Daily Dead spoke to producer Jerry Bruckheimer about his involvement with the project and taking this leap into the horror genre. The juggernaut producer also discussed why Derrickson was the perfect filmmaker for the project, his thoughts on the true-life terrors that inspired the film and what projects are next on his always-busy plate.
When you were first thinking about optioning the book, what was the thing about this story that stood out to you as a producer? This isn’t the typical movie for your wheelhouse.
Jerry Bruckheimer: I really love true stories. We understand police procedurals because we’ve done so many of them. So I loved that part of it and I loved that it was scary and not the typical movie I’d necessarily go see as a moviegoer.
Do you feel that because this story is rooted in reality that it makes it all the more terrifying then for audiences?
Jerry Bruckheimer: Absolutely. When you think about how these things can really happen to people, it sends chills down your spine. I know our actors and Scott all watched these videos of real exorcisms that absolutely terrified them, but I didn’t watch them. That’s too much (laughs). This stuff is out there though; whether you want to believe it or not, it’s all very real.
We’ve had a few screenings of this and when you’re watching these people, they’re scared. You see them grabbing each other and looking away and that’s when you know you’ve got them and that you’ve got a great horror movie in your hands. And when they’re leaving and giving the movie high marks, that cements it even more. Audiences always appreciate a good horror movie.
Was there a reason in particular this felt like the right movie to do as your first venture into horror?
Jerry Bruckheimer: I just think that Ralph is such an interesting character. There’s some real depth to him which you don’t see in a lot of other horror films. That to me was the biggest appeal- I just thought he’d make for such an incredible character on the big screen.
What did Scott bring to the table, in terms of talent, for Deliver Us From Evil? You’ve been working with him for so long now, you must have recognized his immense talent early on?
Jerry Bruckheimer: Honestly, it came down to just reading stuff that he’s written. That’s a clear indication of talent. His storytelling is so unique and he always finds a way to bring a great sense of characterization to any project he’s working on. He’s also immensely talented when it comes to plot because he really understands where the scares live in those moments. He knows how to scare people and that’s so important.
Plus, Scott just knows so much about horror; he can talk about any movie or book with such authority, going all the way to the beginning of film. He’s an encyclopedia, truly one of the best.
Has working on Deliver Us From Evil changed your perspective any in terms of what kinds of projects you’ll consider producing in the future?
Jerry Bruckheimer: I definitely think it will. We’re always looking for interesting stories and there are some films floating around out there that I’d like to see on the big screen.
And in regards to what’s coming up next from us, we’re working on Beverly Hills Cop with Eddie Murphy, which has a script but is being rewritten right now with a draft hopefully by the end of July. Then we are going to be working on another Pirates (of the Caribbean) too. We also have a project called Dogs of War about this Marine who goes to Afghanistan and is paired up with a dog to find IUD’s, which is based on a true story.
Is Deliver Us From Evil is the kind of movie that you think can sneak up on some of the bigger movies of the summer and find its legs- maybe even lasting in theaters for a few months?
Jerry Bruckheimer: I do, I really do. It’s only going to happen with the right support because the movie is that good. I’m just hoping the theaters get behind it, we get some great word of mouth on it once it opens and that audiences will continue to discover it after they get their blockbuster fix. But the previews have been fantastic and there seems to be a genuine enthusiasm for the film from the press here today so I’m very happy.
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