Ellen Burstyn reveals why she is returning to The Exorcist franchise

As previously reported Ellen Burstyn is back as Chris MacNeil for the upcoming remake of The Exorcist, which is being billed as both a new take on the demonic possession classic, as well as the first film in a planned trilogy.

In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Burstyn reveals why she finally agreed to return to the horror franchise.

In the original film, Burstyn portrays the role Chris MacNeil who is a famous actress who is living temporarily in Georgetown, Washington, DC. Also at the residence with MacNeil is her daughter 12 year old daughter Regan who becomes possessed.


THR reported that the Oscar winner is a lifelong devotee of the famed Actors Studio and that her return to the demonic horror franchise after 50 years hinges on it.

THR: I’m sure you’ve been asked many, many times over the years. Why now?

E.B: You know, what happened was I’ve turned down many versions of The Exorcist 2. I’ve said no every time. This time they offered me a whole bunch of money and I still said no. And then they surprised me and they came back and said, “We doubled the offer.” I said, “OK, let me think about this.” I thought, “That’s a lot of money. Let me think about it.” The next thought that came to mind was: “I feel like the devil is asking my price.” And the next thought that came to mind was, “My price is a scholarship program for talented students at our master’s degree program at Pace University. That’s my price.” So I then went back and upped their up and ended up getting what I want. And I’ve got a scholarship program for young actors.

Check out the full interview here.

Blumhouse and Morgan Creek are producing the movie for Universal and Peacock with David Gordon Green set to direct all three films.

The first film in the new Exorcist saga will be released theatrically on October 13, 2023.

Leslie Odom Jr. and Ann Dowd are set to star in the upcoming film.

The plot details for the upcoming sequel are minimal but state that:

“Odom Jr. will play the father of a possessed child. Desperate for help, he tracks down Ms. Burstyn’s character.”

The Exorcist franchise hasn’t been on the big screen since the 2005 release of Dominion: Prequel to The Exorcist, an alternate version of the previous year’s Exorcist: The Beginning. Those films came in the wake of 1977’s The Exorcist II: The Heretic and 1990’s The Exorcist III.

More recently, “The Exorcist” became a short-lived television series at Fox, which was surprisingly excellent and cleverly took place in the same world as the original classic. The series was cancelled after just two seasons.

To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Actors Studio — the legendary New York (and later Los Angeles) workshop co-founded by Elia Kazan in 1947 where Marlon Brando, James Dean, Paul Newman and scores of other acting heavyweights perfected their craft — the Academy Museum is hosting a series of Sunday screenings. It kicks off Aug. 28 with a showing of 1974’s Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, an early Martin Scorsese drama starring Ellen Burstyn, current co-president of the Actors Studio with Al Pacino. Burstyn will be in attendance for a Q&A following the screening (tickets available here).

Get your copy of The Exorcist (Extended Director’s Cut & Original Theatrical Version) [Blu-ray] on Amazon UK Now.

Get your copy of The Exorcist (Extended Director’s Cut & Original Theatrical Version) [Blu-ray] on Amazon USA Now.

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