Edgar Ramirez, The Renegade Exorcist in “DELIVER US FROM EVIL” (Opens July 2)
He had already staked out a hugely versatile career, first in his native Venezuela and South America, then around the world. Now, Edgar Ramirez (“Wrath of the Titans,” “Zero Dark Thirty”) stars in Columbia Pictures' horror thriller “Deliver Us From Evil” as Joe Mendoza, an unorthodox priest who has battled his own inner demons. He enters into a partnership with New York police officer Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana) at first uncertain and then bonded by the recognition of the evil which they are facing.
“At the very beginning,” Ramírez explains, “Mendoza was a mere presence, serving as a catalyst for Ralph Sarchie to solve the cases that he was investigating. I told Scott that I felt that we needed to find a journey for the character, that Mendoza will discover something about himself by getting to know Sarchie, that he shouldn’t only have religious and philosophical answers for Sarchie, but that there’s something that Sarchie brings to him as well. There’s certain access that the priest doesn’t have, and certain information that the police officer doesn’t have, so they kind of feed each other in order to solve these cases. In the beginning, they couldn’t care less about working together, but one has what the other one needs in order to solve the case.”
“The relationship between Sarchie and Mendoza is as important, in many ways, than the relationship between Sarchie and his wife,” explains Eric Bana. “Mendoza is pretty much a Pied Piper for Sarchie, leading him down a path of trying to open his eyes and educate him. They absolutely become partners, and we were aided by a director who understood the importance of dialogue scenes as opposed to just non-stop action. It’s a very special relationship, and it was superbly cast with Edgar Ramírez. His preparation was absolutely fantastic, and Edgar is also really interesting and a lot of fun to hang around with. He brought real intensity but also gentleness to Mendoza, and he put a lot of thought into that character.”
To prepare for his role, Ramírez felt that “it was very important to understand what a priest thinks and feels when he’s not giving the sermon in church on Sundays. I was lucky enough to talk to priests who were open to share their everyday feelings and anxieties. I also researched exorcism, and the psychological and emotional consequences that come from performing such a rite. The interviews that I did and the information that I collected indicated that it’s very close to post-traumatic stress disorder, because when you face the devil, you are going to war.”
The subject matter of “Deliver Us From Evil” raised questions to be pondered not only by audiences, but also by the cast members. Says Edgar Ramírez, “In his previous films, Scott Derrickson gives you the chance to believe that whatever happens in the movie was either the creation of a sick mind, or the influence of an evil force or spirit. So depending on what your beliefs and background were, then you could pick one of the two. In this film, Scott offers us the same choice. I like the possibility of completing the information myself. I think there is a huge amount of evil out there, evil that we cannot understand or grasp. But at the same time, this journey of playing Mendoza also taught me that there’s a huge amount of compassion and solidarity, and people who want to do good for the world.”
In “Deliver Us From Evil,” Sergeant Ralph Sarchie of the NYPD has seen his share of darkness on the mean streets of the South Bronx. He has witnessed behavior on the outer edges of inhumanity, and it has begun to darken his soul, to the point of affecting his relationship with his wife and their young daughter.
But when the increasingly troubled Sarchie is summoned to investigate a bizarre incident, the events which follow will test the pragmatic Sarchie’s beliefs and understanding. He finds himself in a tenuous alliance with Joe Mendoza, a renegade priest whose own faith has been tested more than once, and who tries to convince a skeptical Sarchie that the increasingly horrifying occurrences are nothing less than an encounter with several cases of demonic possession.
Opening across the Philippines on July 02, “Deliver Us From Evil” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.