The Exorcist


2h 1m 1973

Brief Synopsis

A priest battles to save a young girl possessed by demons.

Film Details

Also Known As
Exorcist, Exorciste, Exorcisten, L' Exorciste
MPAA Rating
Genre
Horror/Science-Fiction
Adaptation
Horror
Religion
Thriller
Release Date
1973
Distribution Company
WARNER BROS. PICTURES DISTRIBUTION (WARNER BROS. PICTURES); WARNER BROS. PICTURES DISTRIBUTION (WBPD)
Location
Georgetown University, Washington, DC, USA; Morocco; Mossule, Iraq; Georgetown, Washington, DC, USA; Washington, DC, USA; Wilmington, North Carolina, USA; New York City, New York, USA; Rome, Italy; Spain; United Kingdom; United States

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 1m
Sound
70 mm 6-Track (1979 re-release), DTS (director's cut), Dolby Digital (director's cut), Mono (original release), SDDS (director's cut)
Color
Color (Metrocolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1, 1.85 : 1

Synopsis

When a 12-year old girl is possessed by demons, a young priest takes it upon himself to selflessly save her at the behest of her famous movie-star mother.

Crew

Charles Bailey

Assistant Art Director

Bill Beattie

Wardrobe Assistant

Thomas Bermingham

Technical Advisor

William Peter Blatty

Screenplay

William Peter Blatty

Producer

William Peter Blatty

Source Material (From Novel)

Steve Boeddeker

Sound Designer

David Borden

Music

Fred J Brown

Sound Effects Editor

Joseph M Caracciolo

Property Master

Norman E. Chase

Technical Advisor

Aldo Cipullo

Jewels Provider

George Crumb

Music

Louis Digiaimo

Casting

Terence A. Donnelly

Assistant Director

Jean-louis Ducarme

Sound

Bill Farley

Hair Stylist

Robert Fine

Sound Effects

Florence Foy

Wardrobe

Joseph Fretwell

Costume Designer

Edward Garzero

Scenic Artist

Gonzalo Gavira

Sound Effects

Norman Gay

Editor

Michal Goldman

Assistant Editor

Alan Green

Assistant Director

Hans Werner Henze

Music

Augie Hess

Editor

Nessa Hyams

Casting

Robert Knudson

Dubbing Mixer

Hal Landaker

Audio Consultant

Jennifer Law-stump

Visual Effects

Jordan Leondopoulos

Editor

Ross Levy

Assistant Editor

Evan Lottman

Editor

Bill Malley

Production Designer

Gene Marks

Music Editor

Noel Marshall

Executive Producer

Craig Mckay

Assistant Editor

Robert M Mcmillian

Consultant

Michael Minkler

Sound Mixer

Anne Mooney

Coordinator

Ron Nagle

Sound Effects

Chris Newman

Sound

John Nicola

Technical Advisor

Jack Nitzsche

Music

Reverend William O'malley

Technical Advisor

Mike Oldfield

Music

Krzysztof Penderecki

Music

Dan Perri

Titles

Jonathan Pontell

Assistant Editor

Dick Quinlan

Gaffer

Eddie Quinn

Key Grip

Gary Rizo

Sound Mixer

Owen Roizman

Director Of Photography

Owen Roizman

Dp/Cinematographer

David Salven

Associate Producer

Nick Sgarro

Script Supervisor

Albert Shapiro

Assistant

Doc Siegel

Sound Effects

Bud Smith

Editor

Dick Smith

Makeup Artist

Arthur I. Snyder

Technical Advisor

Juliet Taylor

Casting

Ross Taylor

Sound Effects Editor

Marcel Vercoutere

Special Effects Supervisor

Herbert E. Walker

Technical Advisor

Anton Webern

Music

Josh Weiner

Photography

Billy Williams

Dp/Cinematographer

Billy Williams

Director Of Photography

Jerry Wunderlich

Set Decorator

Marv Ystrom

Visual Effects

Film Details

Also Known As
Exorcist, Exorciste, Exorcisten, L' Exorciste
MPAA Rating
Genre
Horror/Science-Fiction
Adaptation
Horror
Religion
Thriller
Release Date
1973
Distribution Company
WARNER BROS. PICTURES DISTRIBUTION (WARNER BROS. PICTURES); WARNER BROS. PICTURES DISTRIBUTION (WBPD)
Location
Georgetown University, Washington, DC, USA; Morocco; Mossule, Iraq; Georgetown, Washington, DC, USA; Washington, DC, USA; Wilmington, North Carolina, USA; New York City, New York, USA; Rome, Italy; Spain; United Kingdom; United States

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 1m
Sound
70 mm 6-Track (1979 re-release), DTS (director's cut), Dolby Digital (director's cut), Mono (original release), SDDS (director's cut)
Color
Color (Metrocolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1, 1.85 : 1

Award Wins

Best Sound

1973

Best Writing, Screenplay

1974

Award Nominations

Best Actress

1973
Ellen Burstyn

Best Art Direction

1973
Bill Malley

Best Cinematography

1973

Best Director

1973
William Friedkin

Best Editing

1973
Norman Gay

Best Editing

1973
Jordan Leondopoulos

Best Editing

1973
Evan Lottman

Best Picture

1973

Best Supporting Actor

1973
Jason Miller

Best Supporting Actress

1973
Linda Blair

Articles

The Exorcist


How many horror films can you name which received an Oscar nomination for Best Picture? We're not talking about mysteries like Spellbound (1945) or science fiction like A Clockwork Orange (1971) but out-and-out HORROR films. You'll be hard pressed to come up with any title other than The Exorcist.

There has been no other film in the horror genre that has received so much attention or aroused such controversy among filmgoers as this 1973 release. Not only was The Exorcist plagued by production problems and behind-the-scenes power struggles, but it also ignited a heated debate among the religious community, film critics, and audiences who were alternately repulsed and fascinated by its disturbing tale of good versus evil.

The Exorcist was adapted for the screen by its author, William Peter Blatty, who in turn had based his original novel on a strange incident which took place in Mt. Rainer, Maryland in 1949. It seems that during his days as a student at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., Beatty had come across some unusual newspaper accounts about the exorcism of an adolescent boy. The facts surrounding this case and another demonic possession incident that occurred in Earling, Iowa in 1928 were partial inspirations for Blatty's best-selling book.

It wasn't until The Exorcist went into national release that people began to read about all the disturbing things that went on prior to and during the film's hectic production. For instance, Jack MacGowran died one week after completing his scenes in the film. The brother of Max von Sydow died the week Max arrived in New York for his first scenes. The son of Jason Miller was struck down at the beach by a motorcyclist and was almost killed. Ellen Burstyn seriously wrenched her back and was out for several weeks. A carpenter on the set accidentally cut off a thumb and a gaffer lost a toe.

There were also numerous reports of on-the-set friction between director William Friedkin and various cast and crew members. Composer Lalo Schifrin was fired just before putting the final touches on the music score and replaced with Jack Nitzsche who effectively utilized selections from Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells" album. Jazz legend Ken Nordine sued Friedkin for non-payment of sound effects and voiceovers commissioned for the film. And Mercedes McCambridge, who was the voice of the demon, made a public fuss over being denied a screen credit (It has since been added to the film) and also revealed several tricks of the trade: Her vomiting sounds were achieved by swallowing 18 raw eggs and a pulpy apple.

As for William Peter Blatty, he was barred from all post-production work by Friedkin after a major dispute. He also incurred the anger of Shirley MacLaine, his former neighbor in California. Apparently, Blatty modeled Chris MacNeil, the mother/actress character, on MacLaine and wanted her to play the part in the film version. Unfortunately, MacLaine's business partner, Sir Lew Grade, discouraged her from taking the role and the part went to Ellen Burstyn. Later, when reviewers began to suggest that the Chris-Regan relationship was really just a thinly disguised version of MacLaine and her own daughter Sachi, MacLaine began to accuse Blatty of exploiting their friendship.

But enough of these petty intrigues. Here's what everybody really wants to know. How did they do those levitating scenes? How did they get Regan's head to revolve in a 360-degree turn? What is really in that concoction which spews out of the demon's mouth? How did they get Linda Blair's parents to allow their twelve-year-old daughter to appear in this film, especially that crucifix-jabbing scene? (Linda's mother was quoted as saying she "thought it sounded like a fun part.")

In an interview with Cinefantastique correspondent David Bartholomew, special effects artist Dick Smith revealed a few (but not all) of his tricks: "The vomiting - by all means - was the most difficult...it involved making flattened tubes that fitted across the cheeks of the actress. They were connected to a tube which went across the mouth from corner to corner - kind of like a horse's bridle - and it had in it a nozzle. Now, the rear part of this apparatus went back below her ears and was connected to rubber hoses which went down her back. Now that's where the special effects man came in. He had the responsibility of having the pea soup at the proper temperature and properly seasoned. We never realized that people would tumble onto the fact that it was pea soup so rapidly. It was picked as a convenient item that seemed to be a color close to bile-like vomit...The final effect then, with the makeup and all, and a wig on top to cover the harness that held it all on, was a very good duplication of the demon makeup with the mouth open."

As for working with Linda Blair, Smith admitted, "she's a most unusual little girl and I can't imagine anyone else enduring - being as patient - as well as she. She was, of course, a child, and the most patient child in the world is not the same as an adult. The makeup involved approximately two hours or more every morning. We would start around 7 A.M. She was bored by the whole thing - you can't blame her - so we had a little TV set sitting on a shelf on the opposite wall which she could see by looking in the mirror. It got to be a bit dodgy at times, because if I would get in the way of the reflection of the TV set, she would move her head in order to continue seeing what The Flying Nun [the TV series starring Sally Field] was up to, and it just made it difficult to do the makeup....We were working for the most part....on a refrigerated set. It averaged about 10 degrees."

Needless to say, The Exorcist was a smashing success and unfortunately inspired numerous imitations which glutted the horror market for years. Titles like Beyond the Door (1975), Abby (1974), The Tempter (1974), and The Devil Within Her (1975) expanded on the demonic possession theme and took the genre to a new low. However, none of these films suffered the scorn and critical abuse heaped on John Boorman's ambitious and weirdly allegorical sequel, Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977).

Producer: William Peter Blatty
Director: William Friedkin
Screenplay: William Peter Blatty (based on his novel)
Production Design: Bill Malley
Cinematography: Owen Roizman, Billy Williams
Editing: Norma Gay, Evan A. Lottman, Bud S. Smith
Music: Jack Nitzsche, Mike Oldfield, Krzysztof Penderecki
Makeup: Dick Smith, William A. Farley
Special Effects: Marcel Vercoutere
Cast: Ellen Burstyn (Chris MacNeil), Linda Blair (Regan MacNeil), Jason Miller (Father Damien Karras), Max von Sydow (Father Merrin), Lee J. Cobb (Lt. William Kinderman), Kitty Winn (Sharon Spencer), Jack MacGowran (Burke Dennings), Peter Masterson (Barringer).
C-121m.

By Jeff Stafford
The Exorcist

The Exorcist

How many horror films can you name which received an Oscar nomination for Best Picture? We're not talking about mysteries like Spellbound (1945) or science fiction like A Clockwork Orange (1971) but out-and-out HORROR films. You'll be hard pressed to come up with any title other than The Exorcist. There has been no other film in the horror genre that has received so much attention or aroused such controversy among filmgoers as this 1973 release. Not only was The Exorcist plagued by production problems and behind-the-scenes power struggles, but it also ignited a heated debate among the religious community, film critics, and audiences who were alternately repulsed and fascinated by its disturbing tale of good versus evil. The Exorcist was adapted for the screen by its author, William Peter Blatty, who in turn had based his original novel on a strange incident which took place in Mt. Rainer, Maryland in 1949. It seems that during his days as a student at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., Beatty had come across some unusual newspaper accounts about the exorcism of an adolescent boy. The facts surrounding this case and another demonic possession incident that occurred in Earling, Iowa in 1928 were partial inspirations for Blatty's best-selling book. It wasn't until The Exorcist went into national release that people began to read about all the disturbing things that went on prior to and during the film's hectic production. For instance, Jack MacGowran died one week after completing his scenes in the film. The brother of Max von Sydow died the week Max arrived in New York for his first scenes. The son of Jason Miller was struck down at the beach by a motorcyclist and was almost killed. Ellen Burstyn seriously wrenched her back and was out for several weeks. A carpenter on the set accidentally cut off a thumb and a gaffer lost a toe. There were also numerous reports of on-the-set friction between director William Friedkin and various cast and crew members. Composer Lalo Schifrin was fired just before putting the final touches on the music score and replaced with Jack Nitzsche who effectively utilized selections from Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells" album. Jazz legend Ken Nordine sued Friedkin for non-payment of sound effects and voiceovers commissioned for the film. And Mercedes McCambridge, who was the voice of the demon, made a public fuss over being denied a screen credit (It has since been added to the film) and also revealed several tricks of the trade: Her vomiting sounds were achieved by swallowing 18 raw eggs and a pulpy apple. As for William Peter Blatty, he was barred from all post-production work by Friedkin after a major dispute. He also incurred the anger of Shirley MacLaine, his former neighbor in California. Apparently, Blatty modeled Chris MacNeil, the mother/actress character, on MacLaine and wanted her to play the part in the film version. Unfortunately, MacLaine's business partner, Sir Lew Grade, discouraged her from taking the role and the part went to Ellen Burstyn. Later, when reviewers began to suggest that the Chris-Regan relationship was really just a thinly disguised version of MacLaine and her own daughter Sachi, MacLaine began to accuse Blatty of exploiting their friendship. But enough of these petty intrigues. Here's what everybody really wants to know. How did they do those levitating scenes? How did they get Regan's head to revolve in a 360-degree turn? What is really in that concoction which spews out of the demon's mouth? How did they get Linda Blair's parents to allow their twelve-year-old daughter to appear in this film, especially that crucifix-jabbing scene? (Linda's mother was quoted as saying she "thought it sounded like a fun part.") In an interview with Cinefantastique correspondent David Bartholomew, special effects artist Dick Smith revealed a few (but not all) of his tricks: "The vomiting - by all means - was the most difficult...it involved making flattened tubes that fitted across the cheeks of the actress. They were connected to a tube which went across the mouth from corner to corner - kind of like a horse's bridle - and it had in it a nozzle. Now, the rear part of this apparatus went back below her ears and was connected to rubber hoses which went down her back. Now that's where the special effects man came in. He had the responsibility of having the pea soup at the proper temperature and properly seasoned. We never realized that people would tumble onto the fact that it was pea soup so rapidly. It was picked as a convenient item that seemed to be a color close to bile-like vomit...The final effect then, with the makeup and all, and a wig on top to cover the harness that held it all on, was a very good duplication of the demon makeup with the mouth open." As for working with Linda Blair, Smith admitted, "she's a most unusual little girl and I can't imagine anyone else enduring - being as patient - as well as she. She was, of course, a child, and the most patient child in the world is not the same as an adult. The makeup involved approximately two hours or more every morning. We would start around 7 A.M. She was bored by the whole thing - you can't blame her - so we had a little TV set sitting on a shelf on the opposite wall which she could see by looking in the mirror. It got to be a bit dodgy at times, because if I would get in the way of the reflection of the TV set, she would move her head in order to continue seeing what The Flying Nun [the TV series starring Sally Field] was up to, and it just made it difficult to do the makeup....We were working for the most part....on a refrigerated set. It averaged about 10 degrees." Needless to say, The Exorcist was a smashing success and unfortunately inspired numerous imitations which glutted the horror market for years. Titles like Beyond the Door (1975), Abby (1974), The Tempter (1974), and The Devil Within Her (1975) expanded on the demonic possession theme and took the genre to a new low. However, none of these films suffered the scorn and critical abuse heaped on John Boorman's ambitious and weirdly allegorical sequel, Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977). Producer: William Peter Blatty Director: William Friedkin Screenplay: William Peter Blatty (based on his novel) Production Design: Bill Malley Cinematography: Owen Roizman, Billy Williams Editing: Norma Gay, Evan A. Lottman, Bud S. Smith Music: Jack Nitzsche, Mike Oldfield, Krzysztof Penderecki Makeup: Dick Smith, William A. Farley Special Effects: Marcel Vercoutere Cast: Ellen Burstyn (Chris MacNeil), Linda Blair (Regan MacNeil), Jason Miller (Father Damien Karras), Max von Sydow (Father Merrin), Lee J. Cobb (Lt. William Kinderman), Kitty Winn (Sharon Spencer), Jack MacGowran (Burke Dennings), Peter Masterson (Barringer). C-121m. By Jeff Stafford

Mercedes McCambridge (1916-2004)


Veteran character actress Mercedes McCambridge, who won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar® for All the King's Men, and later provided the scary voice of a demon-possessed Linda Blair in The Exorcist, died from natural causes on March 2 in a rest home in San Diego. She was 87.

She was born Charlotte Mercedes McCambridge on March 16, 1916, in Joliet, Illinois. After graduation from Mundelein College in Chicago, she acted in local radio, doing everything from children's programs to soap operas. By the early '40s, she relocated to New York, where her powerful voice kept her busy as one of the top radio actresses of her day, including a stint with Orson Wells' radio dramas.

In the late '40s she appeared successfully in several Broadway productions, and this led a call from Hollywood. In her film debut, she was cast as Broderick Crawford's scheming mistress in All the King's Men (1949) and won an Oscar® for her fine performance.

Despite her strong start, McCambridge's film roles would be very sporadic over the years. Her strengths were her husky voice, square build, and forthright personae, not exactly qualities for an ingenue. Instead, McCambridge took interesting parts in some quirky movies: playing a self-righteous church leader opposite Joan Crawford in one of the cinema's great cult Westerns, Nicholas Ray's kinky Johnny Guitar (1954); a key role as Rock Hudson's sister in George Stevens' epic Giant (1956, a second Oscar® nomination), and as a gang leader in Orson Wells' magnificent noir thriller Touch of Evil (1958).

By the '60s, McCambridge's career was hampered by bouts of alcoholism, and apart for her voice work as the demon in William Friedkin's The Exorcist(1973, where the director cruelly omitted her from the credits before the Screen Actors Guild intervened and demanded that she receive proper recognition), the parts she found toward the end of her career were hardly highpoints. Some fairly forgettable films: Thieves (1977), The Concorde - Airport '79 (1979) and guest roles in some routine television shows such as Charlie's Angels and Cagney & Lacey were all she could find before quietly retiring from the screen.

It should be noted that McCambridge finished her career on a high note, when in the early '90s, Neil Simon asked her to play the role of the grandmother in Lost in Yonkers on Broadway. Her return to the New York stage proved to be a great success, and McCambridge would perform the play for a phenomenal 560 performances. They were no surviving family members at the time of her death.

by Michael T. Toole

Mercedes McCambridge (1916-2004)

Veteran character actress Mercedes McCambridge, who won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar® for All the King's Men, and later provided the scary voice of a demon-possessed Linda Blair in The Exorcist, died from natural causes on March 2 in a rest home in San Diego. She was 87. She was born Charlotte Mercedes McCambridge on March 16, 1916, in Joliet, Illinois. After graduation from Mundelein College in Chicago, she acted in local radio, doing everything from children's programs to soap operas. By the early '40s, she relocated to New York, where her powerful voice kept her busy as one of the top radio actresses of her day, including a stint with Orson Wells' radio dramas. In the late '40s she appeared successfully in several Broadway productions, and this led a call from Hollywood. In her film debut, she was cast as Broderick Crawford's scheming mistress in All the King's Men (1949) and won an Oscar® for her fine performance. Despite her strong start, McCambridge's film roles would be very sporadic over the years. Her strengths were her husky voice, square build, and forthright personae, not exactly qualities for an ingenue. Instead, McCambridge took interesting parts in some quirky movies: playing a self-righteous church leader opposite Joan Crawford in one of the cinema's great cult Westerns, Nicholas Ray's kinky Johnny Guitar (1954); a key role as Rock Hudson's sister in George Stevens' epic Giant (1956, a second Oscar® nomination), and as a gang leader in Orson Wells' magnificent noir thriller Touch of Evil (1958). By the '60s, McCambridge's career was hampered by bouts of alcoholism, and apart for her voice work as the demon in William Friedkin's The Exorcist(1973, where the director cruelly omitted her from the credits before the Screen Actors Guild intervened and demanded that she receive proper recognition), the parts she found toward the end of her career were hardly highpoints. Some fairly forgettable films: Thieves (1977), The Concorde - Airport '79 (1979) and guest roles in some routine television shows such as Charlie's Angels and Cagney & Lacey were all she could find before quietly retiring from the screen. It should be noted that McCambridge finished her career on a high note, when in the early '90s, Neil Simon asked her to play the role of the grandmother in Lost in Yonkers on Broadway. Her return to the New York stage proved to be a great success, and McCambridge would perform the play for a phenomenal 560 performances. They were no surviving family members at the time of her death. by Michael T. Toole

Quotes

What an excellent day for an exorcism.
- Regan MacNeil
You would like that?
- Father Damien Karras
Intensely.
- Regan MacNeil
But wouldn't that drive you out of Regan?
- Father Damien Karras
It would bring us together.
- Regan MacNeil
I'm not Regan.
- Regan MacNeil
Well, then let's introduce ourselves. I'm Damien Karras.
- Father Damien Karras
And I'm the Devil. Now kindly undo these straps.
- Regan MacNeil
If you're the Devil, why don't you make the straps disappear?
- Father Damien Karras
That's much too vulgar a display of power, Karras.
- Regan MacNeil
Your mother's in here, Karras. Would you like to leave a message? I'll see that she gets it.
- Regan MacNeil
Your mother sucks cocks in Hell, Karras, you faithless slime.
- Regan MacNeil
The demon is a liar. He will lie to confuse us. But he will also mix lies with the truth to attack us. The attack is psychological, but powerful. So don't listen, remember that, do not listen.
- Father Merrin

Trivia

Ellen Burstyn agreed to doing the movie only if her character didn't have to say the scripted line: "I believe in the devil!" The producers agreed to eliminate the utterance.

John Boorman had been offered the chance to direct "The Exorcist" but declined because he felt the storyline was "cruel towards children". He did, however, accept the offer to direct Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977).

Dana Plato was offered the role of Regan MacNeil.

Anissa Jones was tested for the role of Regan MacNeil.

Mercedes McCambridge had to sue Warner Brothers for credit as the voice of the demon.

Miscellaneous Notes

Expanded re-release in United States October 27, 2000

Limited re-release in United States March 17, 2000

Limited re-release in United States September 22, 2000

Released in United States April 1981

Released in United States August 1996

Released in United States November 2000

Released in United States September 2000

Released in United States Winter December 26, 1973

Re-released in United States on Video August 25, 1998

Shown at Boston Film Festival September 8-17, 2000.

Shown at Edinburgh Film Festival (Gala) August 17-28, 2005.

Shown at London Film Festival (Treasures from the Archives/2000 re-release version) November 1-16, 2000.

Shown at MIFED in Milan October 1989.

Shown at Radio City Film Festival August 1996.

Limited re-release in United States March 17, 2000 (2000 re-release Version)

Released in United States April 1981 (Shown at FILMEX: Los Angeles International Film Exposition ("Scared to Death": Horror Movie Marathon) April 2-23, 1981.)

Released in United States August 1996 (Shown at Radio City Film Festival August 1996.)

Re-released in United States on Video August 25, 1998 (25th Anniversary Special Edition)

Released in United States September 2000 (Shown at Boston Film Festival September 8-17, 2000.)

Limited re-release in United States September 22, 2000

Expanded re-release in United States October 27, 2000

Released in United States November 2000 (Shown at London Film Festival (Treasures from the Archives/2000 re-release version) November 1-16, 2000.)

Released in United States Winter December 26, 1973

Began shooting June 5, 1989.

Completed shooting August 7, 1989.

In 2002, a version based on a script by Caleb Carr was greenlit by Morgan Creek. During pre-production, the project's first director, John Frankenheimer, suffered a stroke and died. Paul Schrader stepped in. Principal photography took place in Morocco and Italy, wrapping in early 2003. But Schrader's $40-million production was scrapped. Schrader was dismissed and Renny Harlin was brought in. Although elements of Schrader's version remain, "The Exorcist: The Beginning" was rewritten, recast (with Skarsgard persuaded to return) and re-shot - at an additional cost of nearly $60 million. Director Paul Schrader's original version of the film will be given a limited threatrical release by Warner Bros. on May 20, 2005.

In 2002, a version based on a script by Caleb Carr was greenlit by Morgan Creek. During pre-production, the project's first director, John Frankenheimer, suffered a stroke and died. Paul Schrader stepped in. Principal photography took place in Morocco and Italy, wrapping in early 2003. But Schrader's $40-million production was scrapped. Schrader was dismissed and Renny Harlin was brought in. Although elements of Schrader's version remain, "The Exorcist: The Beginning" was rewritten, recast (with Skarsgard persuaded to return) and re-shot - at an additional cost of nearly $60 million. Director Paul Schrader's original version of the film will be given a limited threatrical release by Warner Bros. on May 20, 2005.

Billy Crawford was also excluded in the re-shoots.

Film was released in three versions. The original at 117 minutes, with the original ending removed at 112 minutes, and a re-edited version at 102 minutes.

Gabriel Mann was replaced as Father William Francis in the re-shoots due to a scheduling conflict.

Lead actor Liam Neeson left during pre-production and was replaced by Stellan SkarsgÄrd.

Tom McLoughlin was previously attached to direct.

Feature screenwriting debut for best-selling author Caleb Carr.

Film debut of Linda Blair.

Released in USA on video.

Based on the William Peter Blatty novel The Exorcist (New York, 1971).

Clara Bellar was written out of the script in the re-shoots and replaced by a new female lead played by Isabella Scorupco.

Prequel to the classic horror film "The Exorcist" (USA/1973), directed by William Friedkin and starring Max Von Sydow, Jason Miller and Linda Blair.

William Peter Blatty's novel, "The Exorcist," was first published in 1971.