Exorcist: The Beginning
August 20, 2004
Despite rather vociferous opposition from the author and screenwriter of the original Exorcist, Warner Bros. is going ahead with this prequel to the 1973 horror classic. In fact, the studio recently showed a rather hefty sign of confidence in the film as they scheduled it as a tentpole release for July 2003
Alas, it wasn't mean to be. Esteemed director John Frankenheimer (The Manchurian Candidate), who was the original director hired to handle the film, bowed out of the project due to back problems. Only a short time later, he passed away due to complications of surgery.
And so it was that director Paul Schrader (American Gigolo, Cat People) came aboard to helm the project. He basically completed an entire film before Warners decided they were totally unhappy with what he'd done. They brought on Renny Harlin (Cutthroat Island) to clean it up, and he determined that the best move was - wait for it - to completely reshoot the film from scratch. In essence, there are two complete films out there that tackle the subject matter of the events that took place before Father Merrin tried to save a young Regan MacNeil.
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As a result, Warner Bros. has actually announced their intent to make both versions available on DVD. It will be fascinating to see what movie unfolds as the best - if either is good at all. (Kim Hollis/BOP)