Late Night With the Devil: David Dastmalchian Talks His Scariest Role to Date

Late Night With the Devil: David Dastmalchian Talks His Scariest Role to Date

Late Night with the Devil is the latest cult Aussie horror film hitting screens. But from first glance you might not even realise this is an Australian co-production at all. We broke it all down with the film’s leading star, David Dastmalchian.

Late Night with the Devil: Everything you need to know

David Dastmalchian plays Jack Delroy

In Late Night with the Devil, a long-lost episode of the fictional talk show Night Owls sees the host, Jack Delroy, attempt to summon a demon live on-air. But to portray this extroverted, charming and haunted talk show personality it also required its star, David Dastmalchian, to summon something from within himself.

“[I was] so nervous…” Dastmalchian told Lifehacker Australia over Zoom. “But I want to walk through my fear of things because every time I do it leads to a really important result… every time I confront that fear, and I walk into it, I’ve ended up having an experience that I needed to have, just like I did with Late Night With the Devil.”

Jack Delroy was a completely different challenge for Dastmalchian, who stepped up to become number one on the call sheet after having supporting roles in films like Oppenheimer, Ant-Man, Dune, The Dark Knight and The Suicide Squad.

While apprehensive to take on the role, Dastmalchian said he found an easy point of connection with his character:

“With Jack Delroy, I thought, ‘Wow, that makes complete sense to me.’ I know what that feels like to be a guy who’s trying to be entertaining and captivating and successful, and underneath, some days, it feels like I’m falling apart. Now, Jack is an extreme version of that, he’s not processed or dealt with the trauma of losing his wife. He’s an alcoholic – thank goodness I’m 22 years sober. He doesn’t go to therapy – I do.”

“He’s a man in 1977 when men weren’t talking about what was happening with their feelings, and I think it’s what pushes him over the edge as he descends into the hell of what happens in Late Night with the Devil,” Dastmalchian explained.

late night with the devil
Image: Umbrella Entertainment. Late Night With the Devil 2024

Where was Late Night with the Devil filmed?

Dastmalchian’s new film is a co-production between Australia, the United States and the UAE, directed by Aussie siblings and horror aficionados Cameron and Colin Cairnes.

Late Night With the Devil immaculately recreates the vibe of a 1970s late-night talk show that employs a vintage found footage, sometimes documentary, style. At times, it’s hard to believe the movie was filmed in its entirety in Australia.

“We shot this at Docklands studios in Melbourne with Cameron and Colin Cairnes, and I was the only American on the entire production,” Dastmalchian recounted.

“Every actor was Australian. They did a freaking incredible job. Every single one of the cast did such an amazing job with their dialect work, with their physicality. I was so impressed every day, when I went to work, and was inspired by my castmates. It made me want to keep pushing my game and rising and elevating my performance as much as possible.”

Some of those Aussie castmates in disguise in Late Night with the Devil include Fayssal Bazzi (Shantaram) as celebrated stage medium Christou, Ian Bliss (The Matrix Reloaded) as celebrated sceptic Carmichael Haig, and Laura Gordon (Secret City) as June, the psychologist to the young troubled human host of the pivotal demon, Lilly (a star-making performance by Ingrid Torelli).

“Our production design team, our hair and makeup, wardrobe, everybody really dug in and understood the tonal vision of that 1970s America, late night New York kind of vibe,” Dastmalchian continued. “Many of my friends and family, if they didn’t know that we filmed this in Melbourne, they would absolutely think we shot it at a stage in New York City.”

Late Night with the Devil x Good Fiend Films

late night with the devil
Late Night With the Devil 2024

Late Night with the Devil also marks Dastmalchian’s first role as an executive producer on a feature film, which he did under the banner of his own production company, Good Fiend Films.

“We want to tell complicated stories through the lens of genre. Late Night with the Devil is exactly that,” Dastmalchian said. “…The biggest thing that I kept wanting to talk about and push for, aside from some of my ideas for marketing and promoting the film, were making sure we kept digging in [and] exploring Jack’s internal health and the psychological disarray that was contributing to his perception of the world around him, so that we can have the audience continuously asking themselves ‘is this really happening or is this guy just losing his shit?’”

While Late Night with the Devil may be Dastmalchian’s first major role as an EP, it certainly won’t be his last. The actor shared that he hopes to bring his Dark Horse comic book series Count Crowley to life on-screen in the future.

“It’s one of my big dreams,” he said. “When I think about all the things that I want to do as an artist, as a storyteller, with my new company, I think about Count Crowley. As much as I love the world of comic book storytelling – and I think that it’s a perfect place for us to really broaden the palette of the Crowley universe – I dream every day about getting to make a television show or film based on Count Crowley.

What role would scare David Dastmalchian after this?

Having pushed through his fear of playing a confident talk show host on Late Night with the Devil, Dastmalchian reflected on what role would most scare him next.

“It would scare me to be like an alpha, kind of patriarchal male figure because that’s just so not in my bones. I’m a little you know, wiry and definitely not super proto-masculine. I think that would be a great challenge. Could I be the drill sergeant? Could I be the General? Could I be the president? That kind of stuff would scare me,” Dastmalchian said.

Well, if the results are anything like Dastmalchian’s portrayal of Jack Delroy, the world is certainly in for an unforgettable performance.

Late Night with the Devil: Where is it streaming in Australia?

Late Night With the Devil has been out in the U.S. for a couple of weeks now but it is finally in Australian cinemas as of April 11.

It will also hit streaming on the horror-focused streaming service Shudder from April 19.

Lead Image Credit: Umbrella Entertaiment

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