David Dastmalchian in 'Late Night With the Devil'

David Dastmalchian Interview: ”Late Night’ Was a Life-Changing Experience’

IFC indie horror hit Late Night With the Devil has rightfully placed actor David Dastmalchian in the spotlight. Following that success in a truly unique take on the horror genre, Dastmalchian opened up about his relationship with horror and the film’s impact on his well-established career.

Recommended Videos

Late Night With the Devil follows the down spiral of a live late-night talk show after all hell breaks lose on set—literally. “I’m so lucky, I’m so grateful, I’ve been in the right place at the right time” Dastmalchian said when recounting how he knew he wanted to work on Late Night With the Devil. “There are so many moments in my career—from the stages of Chicago to the first film I worked on—I am so lucky that people seem to think that I’m the right person for certain jobs. The material, the work, the collaborators are often so exceptional. Late Night With the Devil is just a perfect example of that.”

The actor said that the directorial duo, brothers Cameron and Colin Cairnes, had been crafting their film for years before approaching him with their pitch: “I was so impressed with the vision they had for this view of 1970s American television culture, and this whole study of ‘me, me, me-ism.’”

Dastmalchian said that to him, Late Night With the Devil is an exaggerated display of what happens when people lose themselves in not only their work, but in their inability to tend to the needs of their own mental health: “I was so moved by the project that I just said ‘okay, we’re gonna go make this special little film,’ and it ended up being a really life-changing experience for me. I don’t think I’ve looked at my acting the same since I left the set of Late Night With the Devil.”

He credits DePaul University in Chicago, Ill. as a “huge launchpad” for his career, and thanks his time in higher education for allowing him to work with material that he wouldn’t have had the opportunity to play with: “Personally and professionally, Late Night With the Devil changed not just the way I look at genre filmmaking, but the way I look at myself as an actor in all forms of storytelling.” The performer reflected on his time making Animals in Chicago, and it was the first time that he put his own experience into work, while choosing to tell a narrative in a way that he’d hope would be compelling to audiences regardless of his own personal stake in the movie. Dastmalchian found that experiences like that, which are “utterly terrifying” to him, build some of the most rewarding results.

“With Late Night With the Devil, [my character] Jack Delroy doesn’t seem to have much in common with David Dastmachian at all. When I started to pick apart the psychology and the spiritual journey that Jack is on, I actually found plenty that I could relate to.” Dastmalchian cited his promotional appearances and freedom to share his personal opinions as a guard between reality and the perception of himself that he projects to the world. “We feel a need to share a part of ourselves, and Jack Delroy does that to the extreme. He’s always smiling and he’s always on top of his game. He’s always going to capture your heart as an audience, but as soon as those cameras stop, he’s darkly troubled.”

Dastmalchian felt that this was an amazing way to “climb” inside of a character when taking risks and being afraid of something, both personally as an actor, and from a character’s perspective. He said that he learned that when he jumps into things that scare him the most, he has the potential to make something “really cool” when surrounded by those who care about him—such as the Cairnes brothers.

“One of the things that I love about being an actor is that I build characters from the outside in,” Dastmalchian said about becoming Jack Delroy in Late Night With the Devil. “I’m thinking about the environment in which they live, how they talk, how they move, and how they present themselves to the world. Jack was like learning a whole new voice, a whole new dialect, a whole new rhythm of speech, learning a whole new set of skills that I could bring to life.” That was the challenge for Dastmalchian when working on Late Night With the Devil, and he said it was “scary” because he thought ,“If I don’t convince people that I’m similar to Johnny Carson or Don Lane, they’re gonna think this movie sucks!” The actor mentioned that he carried a lot of weight of expectations on his shoulders, but leaned on his skills of using voice, body, and face when fully transforming into the role—aspects of performance art he learned at DePaul.

“I’m happy with [the final cut] of Late Night With the Devil because I watched it first,” Dastmalchian said. “I watched it with the people that I love and care about. We all had a blast. We watched it and we went ‘This is really good!’” He acknowledged that such a positive reaction isn’t always given in response to his films, and he understands that audiences won’t always connect with his work. “With Late Night With the Devil, I not only thought ‘wow, this is really great,’ but I thought that he knew it was going to find an audience.” Those who are open to it might respond to the film, and he’s called it an honor and a thrill to see reactions to his latest foray into horror. 

The Late Night With the Devil star was delighted by the outpouring of support given to him across the internet. “Every time I log into Instagram, I feel like I’m tagged in another hundred posts that are all very positive, and cool, and people going to the cinema. That blows my mind that someone would go to the cinema, for example, three times in the last three weeks to see this movie. It’s mind-blowing!”

Outside of Late Night With the Devil, Dastmalchian teased that he’ll be spending more time working with horror, science fiction, and the superhero genre. His company, Good Fiends Films, is nearing the pre-production phase for two new horror films. Dastmalchian’s ongoing comic book series Count Crowley will continue to release new issues, which the actor encourages those who enjoyed Late Night With the Devil to read for themselves. Additionally, he’ll be teaming up with Todd McFarlane and Image Comics to launch comic series Knights vs Samurai. The actor promised that there would be “more announcements” shared at San Diego Comic Con 2024. Late Night With the Devil will be available to stream on April 19th during Shudder’s Halfway to Halloween event.

(featured image: IFC Films)


The Mary Sue is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more
related content
Read Article ‘Back to Black’ Really Is as Bad as You’ve Heard
Marisa Abela as Amy Winehouse in 'Back to Black'
Read Article ‘Hit Man’ Is the Right Kind of Rom-Com for 2024
Glen Powell and Adria Arjona in a bathrub together in Hit Man
Read Article Fans of the ‘The Strangers’ Will Have To Wait Until Fall for ‘Chapter 2’
Madelaine Petsch in 'The Strangers: Chapter 1'
Read Article Here’s How ‘Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga’ Fits Into the Franchise’s Timeline
Anya Taylor-Joy as Furiosa in 'Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga'
Read Article Jessica Alba Marks a Return to Movies with ‘Trigger Warning’
Jessica Alba in Trigger Warning.
Related Content
Read Article ‘Back to Black’ Really Is as Bad as You’ve Heard
Marisa Abela as Amy Winehouse in 'Back to Black'
Read Article ‘Hit Man’ Is the Right Kind of Rom-Com for 2024
Glen Powell and Adria Arjona in a bathrub together in Hit Man
Read Article Fans of the ‘The Strangers’ Will Have To Wait Until Fall for ‘Chapter 2’
Madelaine Petsch in 'The Strangers: Chapter 1'
Read Article Here’s How ‘Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga’ Fits Into the Franchise’s Timeline
Anya Taylor-Joy as Furiosa in 'Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga'
Read Article Jessica Alba Marks a Return to Movies with ‘Trigger Warning’
Jessica Alba in Trigger Warning.
Author
Annie Banks
Annie Banks is a professional entertainment journalist from Chicago, Illinois. She holds degrees in journalism and marketing, and has been incredibly fortunate to watch her career path collide with her passions. Throughout her six years of entertainment journalism experience, Annie has fervently written about movies, television shows, anime, manga, K-Pop, comics and video games. To this day, she still proudly retains her title as a Rotten Tomatoes-approved Tomatometer critic.