11:19 AM PDT, July 27, 2021
Oscar-winning actress Ellyn Burstyn, who played the determined mother who battles the devil when her 12-year-old daughter becomes possessed by a demon in the legendary 1973 horror flick “The Exorcist,” is back nearly 50 years later to reprise her role in a new trilogy series, according to published reports.
Universal is spending more than $400 million to buy the new “Exorcist” trilogy with plans to screen some of the films on Peacock, its streaming service, Variety reported.
The 88-year-old Burstyn, who earned an Academy Award nomination for her role as Chris MacNeil, will be joining Leslie Odom, Jr. of “Hamilton” and “One Night in Miami,” whose character tracks down Burstyn’s after his child becomes possessed, the publication reported.
The original film, directed by William Friedkin, was an international cult classic that earned $441 million at the global box office, was described as “the biggest thing to hit the industry since Mary Pickford, popcorn, pornography, and ‘The Godfather,’” as Vincent Canby wrote in The New York Times in 1974,” The New York Times reported.
The supernatural film focuses on the mother played by Burstyn who sought the help of two Catholic priests to perform an exorcism on her daughter, Regan, who was played by actress Linda Blair. One of the most popular scenes in the film is the exchange Burstyn had with one of the priests.
“I’m telling you that ‘thing’ upstairs isn’t my daughter. Now, I want you to tell me that you know for a fact that there’s nothing wrong with my daughter, except in her mind. You tell me for a fact that an exorcism wouldn’t do any good. You tell me that!,” she said.
After the film’s stunning debut, there were two not-as-stellar sequels, according to Variety. The first film in the trilogy is expected to arrive in theaters in late October 2023. Under the terms of the deal, the second and third films could debut on Peacock, according to one of the people briefed on the matter, The Times reported.
David Gordon Green will direct the upcoming “Exorcist” franchise, which will be produced by Blumhouse. Green is currently the filmmaker of the studio’s latest “Halloween” reboot, Variety said.
The New York Times was the first to report on the deal.
The agreement is the latest in a long line of massive deals for movies signed by streaming services, according to the news outlet.
The original film was nominated for 10 Academy Awards and was the first horror film to ever be Oscar-nominated for Best Picture. Burstyn garnered an Oscar nomination alongside director William Friedkin, Jason Miller for Best Supporting Actor, and Linda Blair for Best Supporting Actress. It won for Best Screenplay and Best Sound, People reported.