‘Community’ Star Joel McHale Joins Eric Bana in Supernatural Thriller ‘Beware the Night’

By May 29, 2013

Looks like Joel McHale is heading from Greendale to the Big Apple. THR reports that the star of NBC’s “Community” and host of “The Soup” for the E! Network is in final negotiations to join Eric Bana in an NYC-set supernatural thriller called Before the Night. Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Sinister) is directing, and Jerry Bruckheimer will produce for Screen Gems.

Bana (The Hulk, Troy) will play the lead role, a cop who has abandoned faith in religion but finds himself targeted by the Devil in the form of a possessed soldier (played by Sean Harris). That might sound a bit wacky, but get this – the whole thing is supposedly based on a true story, written down in his book by the policeman himself, Ralph Sarchie. Here’s a more detailed description of the story from the book’s Amazon page:

A sixteen-year NYPD veteran, Ralph Sarchie works out of the 46th Precinct in New York’s south Bronx. But it is his other job that he calls “the Work”: investigating cases of demonic possession and assisting in the exorcisms of humanity’s most ancient–and most dangerous–foes. Now he discloses for the first time his investigation into incredible true crimes an inhuman evil that were never explained, solved, or understood except by Sarchie and his partner. Schooled in the rituals of exorcism, and an eyewitness to the reality of demonic possession, Ralph Sarchie has documented a riveting chronicle of the inexplicable that gives a new shape to the shadows in the dark.

In Beware the Night, he takes readers into the very hierarchy of a hell on earth to expose the grisly rituals of a Palo Mayombe priest; a young girl whose innocence is violated by an incubus; a home invaded by the malevolent spirit of a supposedly murdered ninteenth-century bride; the dark side of a couple who were literally, the neighbors from hell; and more. Ralph Sarchie’s NYPD revelations are a powerful and disturbing documented link between the true-crime realities of life and the blood-chilling ice-grip of a supernatural terror.

Wow. I’m not sure how they’ll be able to prove that this is based on true events, but I guess they don’t have to. Films have been taking liberties and abusing their relationship with the truth for as long as they’ve been in existence, but I suppose we’ll give Derrickson – who did excellent work on Sinister last year – the benefit of the doubt here and wait to see his take on the story. Olivia Munn has already been cast as Bana’s wife, and Edgar Ramirez will play a Jesuit priest.

McHale will ditch his comedic persona and play Bana’s partner, a tough guy veteran police officer who might be surprised to hear about the supernatural happenings going on in New York. McHale has mostly stayed on the comedic path, but I’m excited to see what his range is like with a darker, more serious role here. Pairing him with Bana is inspired, since I feel like both of these guys are underutilized in Hollywood. Shooting starts this summer, but there’s no word yet on a release date, so we’ll keep you posted with more info and a trailer when that appears. Interested?

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Ben is a writer living in Los Angeles, California. His work has been featured at ScreenRant.com, FirstShowing.net, MySpace.com, GeekTyrant.com, and many more sites across the web. Some of his favorite movies include The Rocketeer, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Tombstone, Lucky Number Slevin, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Collateral, Double Indemnity, Back to the Future and The Prestige. Follow him on Twitter: @BenPears.