Jennifer Carpenter‘s audition was so convincing and scary that the director decided to cast her right then.152 of 153 found this interesting | Share thisBased on the true story of Anneliese Michel, a young German woman who suffered a similar fate to the fictional Emily Rose in the 1970s, and “The Exorcism of Anneliese Michel”, an account of the subsequent court case by expert witness Felicitas D. Goodman, an anthropologist called in as an expert on possession. Michel’s parents and the two priests who performed her exorcism were prosecuted, though the prosecution asked that the parents be excused from punishment as they had “suffered enough”. Ultimately, the accused were found guilty of manslaughter resulting from negligence, and the two clergymen were sentenced to six months in jail (which was later suspended) and three years of probation. The most significant differences are that Michel periodically fasted for several months as part of her exorcism and remained on medication until her death, while the fictional Rose was incapable of eating due to demonic forces and decided herself to stop taking her medication with the consent of her care-providers. The story was heavily adapted for cinematic purposes.192 of 196 found this interesting | Share thisTo prepare for her role, Jennifer Carpenter spent hours in a room full of mirrors. She tried out different body positions and facial expressions to see what was the scariest.125 of 127 found this interesting | Share thisThe “silent scream” helped Jennifer Carpenter get the role of Emily Rose. Scott Derrickson found it terrifying in her audition.88 of 89 found this interesting | Share thisLaura Linney recommended Jennifer Carpenter for the role of Emily Rose after working with her in a play. Linney described Carpenter as the “best young actress I’ve ever seen. She’s spectacular.”83 of 84 found this interesting | Share thisThere were two dolls constructed for this film. The first was where Emily Rose would lock her limbs. The other was during the dorm scene where she is on the floor in a twisted position. The director ultimately never used a doll in the dorm room scene because he found out that Jennifer Carpenter is incredibly flexible and decided that the positions she was able to contort herself into were more unsettling than what could be accomplished with the dummy. When Emily starts to bend over backwards in the church, Carpenter wore a harness to make the effect more inhuman.192 of 198 found this interesting | Share thisThe jury was not given scripts so they weren’t aware of how the case would turn out. Mary Beth Hurt asked them how they would find Father Moore. The decision was split.57 of 58 found this interesting | Share thisScott Derrickson had planned on using lots of visual effects to make Emily appear possessed. But after seeing how Jennifer Carpenter could contort her body, he decided he would barely need them.68 of 70 found this interesting | Share thisIn real life, Laura Linney‘s TV turned itself on a few times in the middle of the night during production.116 of 122 found this interesting | Share thisThe filmmakers say they weren’t interested in making just another horror movie. They wanted to make a “smart movie about whether demonic possession really exists.”77 of 80 found this interesting | Share thisScott Derrickson wanted this movie to make people ask questions, not think they got the answer.49 of 50 found this interesting | Share thisThe movie was filmed in Vancouver in 2004. But Scott Derrickson wanted it to seem like it could be anywhere and timeless.38 of 39 found this interesting | Share thisEmily’s bedroom and the scratches on the wall were based directly on a painting by Francis Bacon.35 of 36 found this interesting | Share thisSince this film’s release, a persistent urban legend has sprung up amongst students at the University of Minnesota. According to the legend, Pioneer Hall, an allegedly haunted dormitory, was where Emily Rose was first “possessed,” as seen in the film. However, as Emily Rose is a fictional version of Anneliese Michel, a German woman who never attended the U of M, this legend is obviously false.91 of 99 found this interesting | Share thisThe filmmakers say that Rashomon (1950) was a huge influence on this movie. In that film, four different witnesses recount the story of a murder in court from their perspectives.39 of 41 found this interesting | Share thisScott Derrickson was greatly influenced by the work of Dario Argento.30 of 31 found this interesting | Share thisDuring production of the movie, Jennifer would wake up to her radio inexplicably turning on in the middle of the night and playing Pearl Jam’s song “Alive”. More specifically, the lyrics “I’m still alive” would repeat over and over.36 of 39 found this interesting | Share thisThe cinematographer hung a camera on a rope to get some of the odd angles. They called it the “string cam.”28 of 30 found this interesting | Share thisScott Derrickson had Jennifer Carpenter watch The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) to prepare for one scene.26 of 28 found this interesting | Share thisAn extra in one scene actually claims to have underwent an exorcism.43 of 52 found this interesting | Share thisThe colours in the flashbacks were made to look more realistic to mirror the tone of the testimony.18 of 20 found this interesting | Share thisThe filmmakers studied courtroom dramas like The Verdict (1982) and Anatomy of a Murder (1959) to prepare.17 of 19 found this interesting | Share thisAccording to a newspaper article the character Erin reads towards the beginning of the movie, Emily was 18 and attended Danbury State University.23 of 27 found this interesting | Share thisThough the actual story happened in Germany, the movie takes place in US.39 of 51 found this interesting | Share thisScott Derrickson says that as a Christian he relates most to Campbell Scott‘s character.19 of 23 found this interesting | Share thisLaura Linney was excited to work with Tom Wilkinson, having been an admirer of his for some time.24 of 30 found this interesting | Share thisThe bar was actually on the first floor. The crew painted the city skyline.13 of 16 found this interesting | Share thisAccording to the production designer, the courtroom was influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright‘s architecture.13 of 17 found this interesting | Share thisLaura Linney portrayed a lawyer in this film defending a priest. She does the same in the 1996 film Primal Fear.6 of 7 found this interesting | Share thisTo get one shot, Tom Wilkinson had a camera harnessed onto his body and aimed back at his face. Other shots were achieved by placing cameras on dollies and tripods.15 of 22 found this interesting | Share thisJennifer Carpenter wasn’t able to use both sets of her vocal cords. The effect was with sound editing.24 of 38 found this interesting | Share thisDustin Milligan has described his audition for the role of Jason as the worst of his career. Milligan got so caught up in the scene that he knocked a hole in the wall with his elbow. He kept going, attempting to mask the hole by lingering in front of it, but the casting agents noticed immediately, and he was forced to pay for repairs.5 of 7 found this interesting | Share thisMary Beth Hurt‘s husband, Paul Schrader, directed Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist (2005).11 of 21 found this interesting | Share thisMadeline Zima was considered for the role of Emily Rose.18 of 42 found this interesting | Share thisInterestingly, Duncan Fraser got his start in The Haunting Passion (1983).6 of 19 found this interesting | Share thisLaura Linney and Campbell Scott had acted together before, in Lush (2000).6 of 23 found this interesting | Share this
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.Any time something bad or “ghostly” is about to happen, there is a purple glow somewhere, usually purple light emanating from a window.157 of 158 found this interesting | Share thisDr. Cartwright was supposed to have a heart attack, but the studio wanted his death to be more dramatic.