Home / Exorcist News / “It does not have my blessing”; Blatty speaks out against The Exorcist TV series
William Peter Blatty

“It does not have my blessing”; Blatty speaks out against The Exorcist TV series

The drama surrounding the recently-announced ten-episode TV series of The Exorcist threatens to be more dramatic than the show itself.

Fans on the internet were quick to voice a mix of disgust and intrigue following the stunning announcement made by production studio Morgan Creek that they are planning to bring the epic tale of demonic possession to television. William Friedkin, director of the original 1973 classic, tweeted within a matter of hours: “There is no way I would even watch it.”

Acclaimed journalist and guru of all-things The Exorcist, Doctor Mark Kermode, yesterday spoke live on his BBC radio show and read an email from The Exorcist author William Peter Blatty.

From the horse’s mouth:

As for The Exorcist TV series, in as much as I have no idea what the script looks like,  it certainly does not have my blessing. I was never consulted or even told about it by Morgan Creek.

As it cannot be a TV remake of my novel– to which they have no right whatever– I can only construe that, week after week, there will be an episode in which a Catholic exorcist pursues a one-armed demon.

Listen to that segment of the radio programme by clicking the player directly below. Kermode passionately discusses the topic.

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So it seems Blatty holds the rights to The Exorcist story in his novel (and subsequent film) and it simply cannot (legally) be remade.

With a remake is out of the question, Kermode speculated Morgan Creek may have character rights to proceed with a series surrounding the story of The Exorcist, similar to Morgan Creek-produced prequels Exorcist: The Beginning and Dominion which feature the character of Father Merrin.

Father Karras (originally played by the late Jason Miller) is the only original character that has been named for the TV series so far.

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Have your say: Blatty and Friedkin have spoken out against The Exorcist TV series, but what do YOU think? Are you even slight interested to see how it would turn out? Comment below or join us in the Exorcist Discussion Forum where the topic is heating up!

About Jason Stringer

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  • I still contend that this movie will one day be remade and released theatrically.  It sounds like some kind of tv mini-series is going to be made that will bear a striking resemblence to “The Exorcist” (movie/novel), although, since Blatty won’t consent and still holds the rights (which is good to hear/read), it can’t be called “The Exorcist” and won’t contain all the original characters but may contain some of them.  Regardless, vitae summa brevis spem nos vetat inchoare longam.

  • Paul K. Bisson

    Blatty’s allusion to “The Fugitive” is funny enough. But your “peruses” typo makes it even more hilarious. I, for one, am interested to see what this TV thing is all about. I’ve got high hopes for play, which I’m catching in July.

  • NFB709

     I simply do not understand why every fan of this film FREAKS out when a remake is mentioned.  It would be fun to POSSIBLY see another great film come from this novel/screenplay.  It IS within the realm of possibility.  If,  say,  the film is an objective flop,  then it will STILL give the fans hours of talk and would be great fun poking fun at.  We would also have a great time with hours of comparison talk:  which is better.  Not unlike so many films in the past:  dare I say “Psycho”?  (-: 

  • Dockerby

    I think a mini series of the Exorcist is a bad idea, the book and the movie work on the level that you cannot dip in and out of it, you cannot create a cliff hanger scenario as in a soap opera, because the Exorcist is not a soap opera.

    Most people are familiar with the story and rely on the shock factor of the Movie or book, all of that will be lost if made into a mini series, the outcome is already known and therefore cannot tantalise the viewer with a “see what happens next” scenario.

    A remake of the movie, as a movie, could be more tantalising, given that most classic movies are remade at some time or other and the technology available could make a great movie. The only question is, could a remake ever emulate the original, in my opinion it couldn’t. The Exorcist is a tour de force Novel and movie and cannot be bettered. 

  • Anonymous

    Morgan Creek has shown a consistent disdain for the Exorcist franchise as a whole, first insisting on the dismantling of LEGION into The Exorcist III, then the 2 prequels. It seems they are never satisfied with what is made, and then the execs take over and ruin the film. I am shocked that anyone will still do business with them after all that. What they have done to Mr. Blatty’s works is a travesty and an insult to a monumental novel and it’s equally brilliant sequel. I would not be surprised if Morgan Creek actually HAS the missing footage to LEGION, and are just waiting until they can release the original film Blatty made without having to pay him for it. A tv Exorcist will be another blunder for Morgan Creek. 

  • Slapa

    No one cares what you think, Dockerpants gal.

  • Grasa

    Why do you contend that pinnochio? Why?

  • I’m neither for against this as an idea but to say to say it wouldn’t work as a ten-part television series is nonsense; we’re only really talking about 7.5 hours worth of television without commercials and given the number of characters and the fact that their plotlines don’t converge until well past the half-way point there’s plenty of room for development and if it wasn’t for the fact that Morgan Creek were involved I’d say this would be a much better approach than the inevitable film remake; one only has to look at the likes of Game of Thrones and Homeland to see how effectively character-led slow-burning tension can be maintained over multiple episodes, it doesn’t have to a be self-contained story-of-the-week type show that Blatty has referred to.  And if all went well they could do a proper version of Legion as Season 2…

  • Hinesketchup1993

    If it is to be remade,  it should be made into a movie not a “TV miniseries.” Television has come a long way since the 70’s when it comes to controversy…(there is more violence, sex, gore, etc. today) but putting this classic onto tv would only limit how you could shock audiences. Less blood, less violence, less swearing… it would be too innocent if compared to the original movie or the novel.