Often billed as “the scariest movie of all time,” ‘The Exorcist’ is coming to TV this fall as a series from Fox. The movie, itself based on the 1971 novel of the same name by William Peter Blatty, dealt with the demonic possession of a young girl, Regan, and a Catholic priest’s struggle with his own faith as he attempted to save her. The TV series will follow a completely different storyline, but retain many of the same themes.
During a recent interview, the show’s Executive Producer/Director, Rupert Wyatt, revealed that he and several other members of the creative team reached out to the Catholic Church for their guidance and input, but were initially met with “a stony silence.” Once word started to get around that the show’s crew were attempting to contact the church, a priest in Chicago reached out with some information. Per Wyatt:
“He made it clear that it wasn’t necessarily a lack of willing[ness] to talk to us…but it really comes down to protecting the exorcists. They don’t like to show their faces; they don’t like to break their cover, and that comes from the fact that there are many, many potential cases than have nothing to do with what is ostensibly possession. They can be really hounded and chased by members of the public, so they keep to themselves.”
After a discussion with the priest – who apparently claimed he had never done an exorcism himself, but Wyatt believes otherwise, based on how much first-hand knowledge the priest had – the team gleaned an understanding that, while many cases of potential possession that are reported to the church are debunked as alcoholism, psychological diseases, and the like, there are still many, many cases that are deemed as “real:”
“It goes on, and it’s very much a part of the modern Catholic church. It’s for a long time been considered a dirty secret of the Catholic church, and they’ve attempted to bury it and distance themselves from it — something that we explore in the show itself — but it’s a community outreach, basically.”
Here’s a sneak peak video and the full synopsis of the show, directly from Fox:
“THE EXORCIST” is a propulsive psychological thriller following two very different priests tackling one family’s case of horrifying demonic possession. FATHER TOMAS ORTEGA (Alfonso Herrera) is the new face of the Catholic Church: progressive, ambitious, and compassionate. He runs a small but loyal parish in the suburbs of Chicago. He has no idea that his quiet life is about to change forever.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, another priest finds himself locked in a life-and-death struggle with evil. FATHER MARCUS BRENNAN (Ben Daniels) is a modern-day Templar Knight, an orphan raised since childhood by the Vatican to wage war against its enemies. Father Marcus is everything Father Tomas is not: relentless, abrasive, and utterly consumed by his sacred mission.
Caught in the middle is the RANCE family, members of Tomas’ parish. On the surface they’re a normal, suburban family, but all is not as it seems in this household. The patriarch, HENRY RANCE (guest star Alan Ruck), is slowly but surely losing his mind. Eldest daughter KATHERINE (Brianne Howey) has become a recluse who refuses to leave her room. Her younger sister, CASEY (Hannah Kasulka), thinks she’s hearing strange noises coming from inside the walls. And mother ANGELA (Academy Award and Golden Globe winner Geena Davis) has been plagued by recurring nightmares, each more frightening than the last. Angela believes there is something in the house, a demonic presence, growing stronger by the day. Desperate, she begs Father Tomas for help, unwittingly setting the naïve young priest on a collision course with Father Marcus. Separately, each faces an insurmountable task, but together they become the only hope against an evil force that has been mobilizing for centuries.
‘The Exorcist’ is scheduled to premiere on FOX on September 23, 2016.
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