Home / Blu-ray / William Friedkin talks Exorcist remake, 3D, IMAX and Blu-ray re-releases.

William Friedkin talks Exorcist remake, 3D, IMAX and Blu-ray re-releases.

The Exorcist director William Friedkin recently had an interview with MovieWeb and discussed the possibilities of The Exorcist being re-released in 3D, on IMAX, remake rumours and the upcoming Blu-ray disc. Thankfully, he states, as long as he is alive a 3D version of The Exorcist is never going to happen. I personally find this very comforting. While some might think 3D is the second-coming, I still find it very clunky and gimmicky. Friedkin elaborates on 3D in this interview and touches on points I strongly agree with.

Thanks to James Cameron’s mega-blockbuster 3D epic Avatar, many upcoming films are suddenly being announced as 3D, with the idea that it’s what audiences desire. It’s becoming such a popular move by studios, in fact, that many older films are rumoured to be getting a 3D overhaul and re-released to cinemas. Not unlike the re-release of The Exorcist in 2000, only with new technology that breaks the image up to render it viewable as a 3D film.

The Exorcist is effective enough without 3D. The idea of seeing the film in this format might excite those who believe The Exorcist is a monster movie… but it’s not. I feel like 3D would be very out of place in Regan’s room, but I can’t help being intrigued by the idea. The idea of an IMAX release is also interesting. IMAX works well for action sequences, and there was a 70mm print of The Exorcist in 1979 that could be used, but I’m not sure it’s completely necessary.

The Blu-ray disc, on the other hand, is one-hundred-percent necessary and is coming our way in September 2010. Friedkin touches on how he has remastered the film for the new format release. We also know that extra special features will be included, and both the original cinema release (1973) and The Version You’ve Never Seen (2000) will be available on the one disc.

Here’s a link to the interview, and a snippet of the juicy bits pasted below.

Warner Brothers is obligated to come to me. And they do. The point is, it’s a totally different medium. I currently have control over every single frame of film when converting it to Blu-ray.

I don’t like 3D. I don’t believe there is any film that I have seen and loved that would have been improved by a scintilla in 3D. To me, it’s just a gimmick. To me, the art of cinema is the same as the art of painting. The artist takes a 2D medium and gives you the illusion of depth. If you look at any of the great paintings, you have the illusion of depth. Which is part of the art. The same with the great movies.

Billy Wilder said it best. You should never really remake a picture. If a picture was great, it will stand. And you can’t top it. If it was a piece of shit, why would you want to do it again? I’m pretty sure that with the way things are going, and the lack of imagination that exists amongst the major studios these days, they are going to eventually remake everything. That is the way of the world.

About Jason Stringer

Former Webmaster of captainhowdy.com

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  • JPM73

    With how much “The Exorcist” was done so believably, with the performances and how it was shot(Docu-dramaish feel), I think the 3-D would add to that. It wouldn't just be about the 3D during the exorcism, it would be all the other parts of the film, when they are in the the staircase inside the house, those beautifully done night shots outside the house with the iron fencing outside in the foreground, Georgetown, Iraq that you would feel as if you were witnessing something right in front of you. William Friedkin is of an older generation from back even before the 80's 3D movies, so his perception of those types of movies, are gimmick nothing movies. Most from back then were, but things have changed and they are using it as an uprgade of viewing experience to tell your story, like changing your film stock from B & W to color. I honestly don't think it would be down grading the film. I think it would enhance it.

  • Toonloon

    I'm so pleased that he is releasing both versions of the film on the disc. I couldn't buy The French Connection because I HATED the way the colours bled because of the new timing. The plastic orange chairs in France and Popeye's Santa suit had great big halos around them.

    If there was only one version of The Exorcist available on BD and it was TVYHSB cut, then I wouldnt upgrade my current DVD, as I think that's good enough. I really liked TVYHSB at first, but on further viewings I noticed all the extra colour timing and the sound effects, which made it more like a film made in the 2000's instead of the modern classic that it was in its previous form.

    I hope WB make a documentary about The Exorcist as a franchise, and include stuff on the sequels, as well as include all the previously available materials and commentaries, although I found Mr Friedkin's TVYHSB commentary to be little more than a description of you are looking at.

  • Gabriel1975


    I hate hate HATE 3D! It's a gimmick now and it always was. Apart from the fact that a sizeable minority of us can't see 3D films comfortably, if at all, post-converting movies is no more than artistic vandalism.

    The only reason so many big films are being released in 3D is because it's much harder for pirates: stick a handheld camera in a cinema showing Clash of the Titans and you're left with an incomprehensible mess to sell on DVD in Camden Market the next day. Then again, the same could be said for Clash in 2D! 😉

    William Friedkin's dislike of 3D is nothing to do with his age: it's purely good taste. I'm an 80s child and have seen plenty of (crap) 3D films. They're a waste of time and look even worse in 2D!

    We've had nearly 20 years of excessive CGI bombast trying to cover up third rate movies and just as CGI has moved to a better level, particularly with its use in TV, along comes neo-3D in a trite, otherwise third-rate, sci-fi spectacular that looks like a cross between Ferngully and The Smurfs!

    The 3D backlash is already brewing on the web and after next year when 20-odd movies are issued in post-converted 3D and a lot of us stay away, waiting for the 2D Blu-ray, hopefully the studios will find some other way to keep the pirates at bay!

  • Gabriel1975


    I agree about The French Connection. With luck, another release at some point will see the proper timing restored!

    The Version You've Never Seen (a stupid name as, once you've seen it, it can't be a version you've never seen!) is an interesting alternative version of the film, but it lacks the quiet subtlety in some scenes that contrast with the louder scenes in Regan's room. While the scenes in the hospital arguably add something to Regan's plight, the endless stream of new subliminals, the CGI additions and much of the restored material add little to an already powerful film. Like Donnie Darko: The Director's Cut, the busier sound mix is also distracting and overkill!

    In the case of the original film, Billy Friedkin was absolutely right to shut out William Peter Blatty and streamline the film. What TVYNS proves is that it's The Version You Never Needed to See!

    Fair enough if the Blu-ray contains the revamp. I'll be happy with a stonking clean-up of the original . . . dare I say 'definitive' version of the film!

  • Prestonp08

    I think a remake would be awesome! Add in scenes that weren’t shown, like when Burt went into Regan’s room and she turned his head around and threw him out the window. I would like to see her chase him around the house in the dark, or be hiding behind the door when he walked in to check on her. I think the 3D idea is horrible. When a film goes to 3D, it almost degrades it a little. I think with the right director, actors, and directing style, it could be an awesome remake. Maybe cast Linda Blair as the mother of Regan. Or maybe show a little of Regan’s point of view. When she’s in her room, creepy things start happening. She hears whispers, something pulls her blankets off of her, thing fly across her room, she sees shadows, bad dreams, etc. etc. Maybe the priests bring cameras in the document the exorcism, which will make it seem more realistic. They can do so many things to it to make it awesome.

  • Cheetahwings

    it allready awesome and all of the things u say would make it better would make it worse, the simplisity is one of the things that make the film so memorable and scary

  • Pituquasi

    I think a remake would be great if it were done so closer to the spriit of the novel than that of the 70’s movie. The remake should be mainly from the point of view of the detective. Like the novel, ample room should be left open for the possibility of mental illness rather than possession. The storyline involving the mom’s friend showing up dead with a broken neck outside her window should be explored further. The detective needs to be better used as well as the young priest’s doubt. Less shock and more unease. No 360 neck turns or levitation, nothing which could not be explained rationally. The movie should NOT reach the conclusion for me “oh yes she was possessed” and allow me the audience member to reach my own conclusion. At least that’s how I read the novel. The movie entertained me but it did insult my intelligence.

  • Rogerio Barbosa

    I don´t like remakes that much, but I don´t entirely agree with William Friedkin. Of course, some movies are just impossible to remake, like The Exorcist, or A Clockwork Orange or Blade Runner because they are so unique. But if you look at John Carpenter´s the Thing or David Cronenberg´s The Fly, they´re remakes that surpassed the originals.

  • I would like to see it in 3D as the reason is. Once the glasses are on.. It brings more focus to the screen. A 3D fog, 3D breath of the cold is what I would like to see enhance not take away.

  • Carl Daigrepont

    Back in 1971 “The Exorcist” emerged and became a sensation as well as stayinng on the “New York Times Best-Sellers list for over a year.
    When the movie was announced, the public waited a year and a half, certain that the A-List cast and crew was a sure sign that it would be a tamer, but well-made film.
    Well, when it finally came-out, people were in SHOCK!
    It was horrifyingly explicit and frightening.
    Yes, it was beautifully produced AND received many Golden Globe nominations, which it WON including “Best Motion Picture”!
    The audience screamed, fainted and vomited and ran to the nearest stores that carried the Paperback, only to discover that the book was even MORE nauseating!
    But those were less-jaded days and so the “Legend of THE EXORCIST” continued to grow.
    There are so many factors that would render a remake useless.
    The importance of the link the film had…combined with a viewing public that hadn’t read the novel and you had a film that basically traumatized at least a million people.
    Every single thing Morgan Creek has done with this property has FAILED!
    They’re Morons who don’t even have the common sense to READ the scripts or view dailies!
    So, they got a well-made, slightly boring film from Paul Schrader, shelve it and have Harlin make a pathetically sick movie for $40 Million more!
    All they had to do is give Schrader about $10 Million for more frighteninng effects and make-up and save $30 million for another film.
    Morgan Creek really needs to just fuck-off…!

  • Dockerby

    The comments regarding exploring more deeply events that happened in the original movie but were not seen is interesting, the viewer had to accept that Burke Dennings was murdered by regan in the manner that was explained, but wouldn’t it add to the story if those happenings were included. to see dennings go into regan’s room and witness the events as they unfold, we get an insight into regan’s inner torment on a psychological level. The movie depicts the physical symptoms of the possession and concentrates on the anti-social elements of the disorder, swearing, agressiveness and other anti-social behaviours but not much on the psychology of regan’s torment nor does it explore how the possession came to be in any great detail aside from seeing regan interacting with a ouija board. The book is very succinct in this, the onset is gradual and manifests over time and in many ways, noises, whispers and other paranormal goings on. I accept a movie has to edit the book to create something which wouldn’t be overlong and tell the story more concisely.

    I think they should remake it, not to try and surpass the original but if only to give it a modern slant and to see how any additions would work. I’m sure there would be a massive audience for it if that was the only reason the film studio made it to cash in on the franchise. I would go and see it. I am quite an expert on this movie and would be interested in how it plays and how it was recieved.

  • Philip Hartry

    Burt whom?