Paramount’s The Devil Inside has hit a certain saturation point (at least in Los Angeles) with its eerie billboards and provocative trailers. But the scope of the film apparently stretches out beyond the snippets we’ve been given. I recently hopped on the phone with Simon Quarterman, who plays Ben in the film, to get an idea of how this film sizes up against other recent exorcism movies (and found footage films in general). What he had to say made me hopeful that this film might set itself apart from the pack.
“In 1989, emergency responders received a 9-1-1 call from Maria Rossi (Suzan Crowley) confessing that she had brutally killed three people. 20 years later, her daughter Isabella (Fernanda Andrade) seeks to understand the truth about what happened that night. She travels to the Centrino Hospital for the Criminally Insane in Italy where her mother has been locked away to determine if her mother is mentally ill or demonically possessed. When she recruits two young exorcists (Simon Quarterman and Evan Helmuth) to cure her mom using unconventional methods combining both science and religion, they come face-to-face with pure evil in the form of four powerful demons possessing Maria. Many have been possessed by one; only one has been possessed by many.”
The Devil Inside hits theaters on January 6th, 2012. Hit the jump to check out the interview! Can you get us up to speed on your character? “I can’t say a huge amount about it apart from what’s already out there. But basically Isabella Rossi (Fernanda Andrade) has travelled to Italy to see her mother for the first time since she murdered those people back in 1989. She meets my character in a school for exorcists. As you may or may not know, in the Vatican there is actually a school for exorcists where anybody can go train and learn more about it all. She meets my character and a friend of mine who are two exorcists and we bring her along to see a few things”.
The past few years there’s been a glut of religious horror films and found footage movies. How is this movie different? “I remember when we were shooting two years ago, there were rumblings of ‘The Last Exorcism’ and we were all like, “Oh sh*t. Are we too late?” But we just kept on going with the whole thing and obviously it’s an extremely different movie. Very very different indeed. But I’ve always been a fan of this particular genre. And the thing about ‘Devil Inside’ that is different from ‘Blair Witch’ or “Paranormal Activity’ is that it’s a real pro-active film, as opposed to being a reactive one. It may still have a bit of that documentary vibe, but pulsing all the way though it is a movie throughline with character arcs and development which is very interesting and intriguing. As an actor it’s great to be a part of it.”
It’s more rewarding for an audience as well. “Oh yeah. It’s more rewarding for everyone involved I think. That was one of the exciting things about doing this, from the very first moment when we started shooting – from the first day actually – all of us felt that we were on to something special. It’s something I’m very proud of.”
Was the entirety of the film shot in Italy? “No, actually the main bulk of the film was shot in Bucharest, Romania. And then obviously a lot of the exterior work was done in Rome. So yeah, we shot for 3 or 4 weeks in Romania and then a week in Rome. We actually went and did some more reshoots a couple of months ago just to fill out a few bits. But yes, Bucharest doubles really well for Rome.”
You’ve also done a bit of TV work, I was wondering what your thoughts are on the storytelling possibilities of both mediums (Television and Film)? Do you feel that TV is expanding and Film is contracting? “The great thing about television obviously is it’s just a medium where you can extend things so much more. Movies are very much contained into an hour and a half or whatever you might have. There’s been some incredible TV in recent years that has been satisfying not only for actors but for audiences.”
Where do you see yourself going from here as an actor? Any dream projects? “Obviously there’s a lot of exciting things going on at the moment. A lot of them I can’t talk about. But I’m hoping this will launch me towards not only more film work but also a lot of very good TV work. I just want to be involved where the good work is”.
Is there anything about The Devil Inside that we don’t know yet? “I think the one thing I would say about it is that it’s probably not what people might be expecting it to be. I think people could be quite pleasantly, maybe that’s the wrong word, surprised. I think people will like it. It’s a very intelligent film. A very intelligent horror film. I think people will get a kick out of it.”