Fans hoping Joel McHale will play a version of his “Community” character, Jeff Winger, in the new horror film “Deliver Us From Evil” will be sorely disappointed. McHale plays Butler, the experienced partner of Eric Bana’s Officer Ralph Sarchie, and he’s not exactly the nicest guy.
Zap2it spoke with McHale about the role at WonderCon Anaheim 2014, and he reveals he really likes his character. Director Scott Derrickson wrote the role of Butler just for McHale, as this is someone McHale easily could have become if his life had followed a different path.
Zap2it: You have been absent from all the movie’s promos, so what can you tell us about your character?
Joel McHale: Ahh, he’s very mysterious. He is a jerk. His entire mantra is he’s basically there to protect Eric’s character Sarchie. He’s not a moral man, but he follows the code of “Well, he’s my partner so he is the person that I will protect, and everything else is fair game.”
I liken it to the sentiment of Viggo Mortensen’s character in “Appaloosa” with Ed Harris where he’s just like, “So just wear badges and we’re allowed to kill people and we don’t get arrested, but if we didn’t have a badge then we would get arrested and hung. There’s no real difference between us and them.” And Ed Harris is like, “You’re a lunatic. We’re justice.” And that’s how my character would kind of see it, is this is just an excuse for me to mix it up.
My character wears a Boston Red Sox hat and it takes place in Yankee central. He’s only doing it just to piss people off.
Is there any comedy to it, or do you play it pretty straight?
No, my character definitely has a sense of humor, but I think cops and paramedics have a gallows humor that we don’t all share because it’s too intense, and that is definitely my character’s kind of bent on the whole thing. He would much rather pull a knife and kill a person than taser them or properly read them their rights and handcuff them. He would just much rather have them make a move so he has an excuse to kill them.
Do you get to be a part of the paranormal aspects of the movie?
I can’t really tell you because it would reveal a huge part of the movie. Maybe it’s already been revealed.
Scott, since he’s known you for so long, said this is who he imagined you would be if you become a cop instead of a comedian. Do you take that as a compliment?
Oh yeah. F***. F*** yes. If I didn’t go into acting, I probably would have definitely gone into the military. There would definitely be a side of me that would go there, or something like that. I have always enjoyed it, I have always admired it. That’s why Scott is so good at what he does, is because he’s able to think like that.
“Deliver Us From Evil” is due in theaters on July 2, 2014.