Here’s one way to avoid a (potentially) horrible remake of The Exorcist: Have the author of the original novel and screenplay pen a brand new take of his own story as a television miniseries, then have the original director agree to direct.
So, a complete miniseries script exists AND a director is keen to go– THE ORIGINAL director of one of the greatest horror films of all time. Now all we need is a network and a budget! Anyone care to speculate?
William Peter Blatty revealed the news in a new extensive interview with Brian Freeman as part of Cemetery Dance Magazine’s 62nd issue (out now). Our good friend Ryan (Life Member and Partner of captainhowdy.com and webmaster of theninthconfiguration.com) dropped the news in the discussion forum earlier today, and included this excerpt:
Cemetery Dance Magazine: Looking back, is there anything you would change about the film now if you could?
William Peter Blatty: Yes and no. I would love to have been able to include the subplot involving Karl and his daughter Elvira, which I did in my first draft, but that script ran to 172 pages, much, much too long. But I might have it my way in the near future, inasmuch as I’ve written an Exorcist miniseries script that not only faithfully includes all the main elements of the novel, but also some rather spooky new material and scenes, as well as a totally new (and perhaps much more satisfying) ending. I’ve also updated it. Billy Friedkin has agreed to direct.
I’ve always voiced my concerns about an Exorcist remake (mostly because the majority of remakes we see are absolutely horrendous). Even with some voicing concerns that the film is becoming dated (albeit gracefully) and a remake would ‘freshen’ things, it would be impossible to re-capture the magic of The Exorcist as it existed the first time you saw it. If ever I was to have confidence in a remake, it would be from a scenario like this one– with the original creators creatively behind it. I mean, who better to honour the original film and novel?
Even the most casual Exorcist fan would interested in the idea of a mini-series, I’d think. This would allow time for exploration of the extra plots from the original novel– all of which have their own level of intrigue and creepiness. And what are these extra scares Blatty is talking about?! How much scarier could the story of The Exorcist get?
Another thing to consider is how horror is ‘in’ on television right now. There’s a plethora of horror and supernatural oriented television shows airing at the moment, so it might be an idea to get The Exorcist mini series off the ground before the trend drops.
As far as I’m aware, Morgan Creek Productions still hold all production rights for anything bearing The Exorcist name, and Warner Brothers still own ditribution while also having a consistent television history. Perhaps someone needs to whisper in James G. Robinson’s ear (Chairman and CEO of Morgan Creek) and let him know a mini series of The Exorcist by the original creators is a damn fine idea.
I know I’m all for it.
The Cemetery Dance issue is absolutely chock-full of goodies for Exorcist fans and is definitely worth a read. It also includes a brand new Epilogue for The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty and a new Prologue to Exorcist III: Legion, among many other things to do with Blatty himself (including his controversial short story that is seeing print for the first time). I’ll be posting more information from it soon, but in the meantime you can check out The Ninth Configuration for complete scans (thanks again to Ryan!)