If you wish to go to the current Fangoria site, you may click the top logo, "Home" or "News" links. Or click here.
The latest movie to put audiences up close and personal with
the supernatural, THE DEVIL INSIDE (opening this Friday, January 6 as the first
film from Paramount’s Insurge Pictures division) turns its mock-documentary
cameras on cases of possession. In particular, it focuses on a woman named
Maria Rossi (Suzan Crowley), who supposedly killed three people while being
exorcized, and her daughter Isabella (Fernanda Andrade), who investigates the
case. She seeks help from Father Ben Rawlings, played by British actor Simon
Quarterman, who discussed the role, the production and DEVIL’s relationship to
other exorcism films with Fango.
FANGORIA: Did you have any background in horror before you
did THE DEVIL INSIDE?
SIMON QUARTERMAN: No is the quick answer to that one. The
only real genre film I did before this was a fine piece of work called SCORPION
KING 2 a couple of years ago. But before that, no. This is my first foray into
FANG: How did you get involved with DEVIL INSIDE?
QUARTERMAN: Well, I was back in England, actually; I’d been
over to LA a few times, just doing meetings, getting close to jobs, the same
story you hear a lot. And my manager, when I was back in England… Now, at that
particular point, I can pretty much say I’d had it up to here with the whole
thing. I was pretty much done. And I got a call saying, “It’s just a little
independent horror movie. It’s just one four-page scene.” There was no script
attached, so I didn’t know anything about it at all.
I put that on tape back home in England, and at one
particular point, it was quite funny; I really was like, “I can’t be bothered
doing this.” Because there were so many lines; it was an exorcism, I just
couldn’t get the lines into my head at all, and I was like, “I can’t be
bothered, I’ve had enough of this anyway.” It was actually my girlfriend at the
time who said, “Look, let’s just stick the lines up around the room, and we’ll
just shoot it and send it off, and that’s it.” So that’s what we did; I
basically used idiot cards to read this thing. We sent it off, and the next
thing I knew, I had the part. Now, I still hadn’t read any script, and they
sent it to me, and I have to say it was by far the most exciting script I’d
ever read. It was really very exciting. I finished reading it on the tube back
in London, and when I was done, I wanted to tell everyone on the tube how good
it was [laughs]. I didn’t actually meet the filmmakers, Brent [William Brent Bell, writer/director] or Matt [Peterman,
writer/producer] or Morris [Paulson, producer], until my very first day in Romania.
FANG: Are you familiar with the other recent exorcism
movies, and what is it about this one that particularly stands out for you?
QUARTERMAN: Obviously, we had our eye on films like THE RITE
and THE LAST EXORCISM. In fact, as we were filming DEVIL INSIDE a couple of
years ago now, there were just rumblings about LAST EXORCISM, which at that
particular time was called COTTON, and we knew they were taking a more
evangelical sort of standpoint. But still, we were a little bit like, “Hmm,
OK…” but then, “Let’s keep on going on, doing what we’re doing.” Ours is a very
intelligent film, I think, and it’s unlike movies such as BLAIR WITCH PROJECT
and PARANORMAL ACTIVITY. It’s more of a proactive story, rather than a reactive
one; things aren’t just happening to people and then they react to those
things. Even though it’s within the limits of a [faux] documentary, it’s really
got a through-line, with character arcs and development, which is really
interesting. I think it moves at a great pace, and is pretty frightening and
disturbing. There were a couple of moments during the whole filming process
that sort of weirded me out, let’s put it that way.
FANG: There are always stories, from the productions of
films about exorcisms and such subject matter, about frightening incidents on
the set. Are there any you specifically recall?
QUARTERMAN: Not specifically, but there were a couple of
moments in the film that were a little disturbing to shoot, let’s put it that
way. But nothing strange happened, no one died [laughs], no one was in some
tragic car accident or something like that. It’s been a very happy process, a
very exciting one for all of us, to see how we just went off to do this little
film and it’s turned into this big deal. We’re very proud of it.
FANG: Can you talk about your role in the film?
QUARTERMAN: I’m a priest, an exorcist, whom Isabella comes
over to meet in a school for exorcists. In the Vatican there actually is an
exorcism school; THE RITE touched on that as well. So she meets me and a friend
of mine, and we’re basically doing a few unauthorized exorcisms behind the
Church’s back. That’s about all I can tell you about it at the moment.
FANG: One of the disappointments about THE RITE was that it
introduces the idea of a school for exorcists, then goes off on a tangent and
doesn’t get back to it. Do we see more about how the school actually operates
in DEVIL INSIDE?
QUARTERMAN: Not really, but it’s always there. It’s in the
background the whole way through; it colors the film, I suppose, if anything.
But it’s not something that’s relevant to the actual story of the film.
FANG: The filmmakers have said they did a lot of research
into real exorcisms and rituals. Did you do any of that kind of research
yourself, or did you talk to priests to investigate your character?
QUARTERMAN: Yeah, I read a lot of books and watched a lot of
clips of exorcisms, how people react in them, how the priest carries himself
during the whole thing. I wanted to do something a little different with my
character and how he sees things. Rather than taking a generalized sort of
route, I wanted to give sort of his own personal take on things and do
something a little different than maybe people had seen before in a priest.
FANG: Is the whole film structured as a documentary?
QUARTERMAN: Yes, it is. Particularly at the start, it’s very
much like a real documentary, and I believe that’s what makes it so
FANG: How did that affect the process of making the film?
QUARTERMAN: Well, you’ve obviously got certain limits, but they
get blown open after a while. It all depends on the documentary maker and what
he wants to shoot, the story he wants to tell. And that may change during the
FANG: In terms of your performance, did you find yourself
doing longer takes or more improvisation than you might’ve done in a
QUARTERMAN: Yeah, that was one of the great things about the
whole process. There was a lot of space, because we had just one camera at a
number of points and could just do whatever we wanted. We were shooting
digitally as well, so we could really change things up. There was a lot of
improvisation going on, and some exciting things came out from that.
FANG: How many of the special effects were done live on the
set, and how many were added later on via CGI?
QUARTERMAN: That’s a good question. There were a lot of
[effects done] just on set; that was the whole point, trying to make it as real
as possible, so that it didn’t look doctored whatsoever. There were things, a
few bits and bobs, that were added later on, but it’s very minimal.
FANG: The filmmakers also said that there was a lot of
guerrilla filmmaking done around Rome and at the Vatican. How much of that were
you involved with?
QUARTERMAN: [Laughs] I didn’t actually shoot in Rome, but I
heard all the stories. I mean, wherever they could pull out that camera, they
would. There’s some great stuff in the movie because of that.
FANG: Any particular stories you can relate about that?
QUARTERMAN: God, I don’t know if there are any I can tell
you without them getting into trouble [laughs].
FANG: Obviously, THE EXORCIST is so well-known, and the way
it presents exorcisms. Was it ever difficult for you and the filmmakers, or a
concern, to try to make yours distinctive and put your on stamp on it?
QUARTERMAN: Absolutely; that’s exactly what we tried to do.
We tried to make it very different. It’s a lot more…full-on, maybe. It’s pretty
out there. The one thing I will tell you is, there’s no green pea soup!
FANG: Are you a religious person yourself?
QUARTERMAN: I knew that question was going to come up! I
would probably say I’m an agnostic, if anything, and we’ll leave it like that.
FANG: Are you a fan of horror films in general?
Oh yeah, I’ve always loved great horror. THE SHINING is one of my favorite
films. And I’ve always been a big fan of a lot of Korean horror. It has always
been something I enjoy watching. People just enjoy being scared, in a weird
way; it’s like, we know when we’re watching these films that we’re safe, but
there’s that little thing in the back of your mind that just gets you a little
worried, and that’s probably why people love them so much.
JOIN OUR COMMUNITY AND BE THE FIRST TO KNOW ABOUT NEWS, CONTESTS, EVENTS AND MORE!
All contents © 2011 Fangoria Entertainment