Both William Peter Blatty and Paul Schrader were nearly thrown out of this film’s premiere for loudly laughing during the screening.Interesting? Yes No | Share this: Facebook | Twitter | PermalinkLiam Neeson was initially cast as Father Merrin.36 of 36 found this interesting | Share thisMorgan Creek Productions fired Paul Schrader after he had submitted a completed movie, saying that he had given them “footage without any of the bloody violence the backers had wanted”. He had already made it clear in interviews that he was making more of a psychological drama than an all-out gore-fest. He was fired and Renny Harlin was hired to re-shoot the movie. Almost 90% of the movie was re-shot and at least two characters have been dropped from Paul Schrader‘s version of the movie. Following the lackluster reception to Harlin’s version, though, Schrader’s version was finally released as Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist (2005).44 of 45 found this interesting | Share thisStellan Skarsgård is playing a younger version of Max von Sydow‘s character from The Exorcist (1973). Skarsgård is nearly a decade older than von Sydow was during the filming of the original movie.25 of 25 found this interesting | Share thisAfter Merrin has opened the lid of the crypt inside the church, and he lights the crypt, the face of the demon can be seen for just a few frames on the inside of the lid. A same technique of blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearances of the demon’s face was used in The Exorcist (1973).19 of 19 found this interesting | Share thisPeter Jackson was asked to direct.27 of 28 found this interesting | Share thisNearly the entire cast (barring only Stellan Skarsgård) were either unavailable for the reshoots, or refusing to return out of loyalty to Paul Schrader.17 of 17 found this interesting | Share thisLinda Blair was “shocked” when she discovered that Warner Bros. had used her image/voice in the promotional campaign(s), unauthorized.33 of 35 found this interesting | Share thisWilliam Peter Blatty said that watching this film was his “most humiliating professional experience.”29 of 31 found this interesting | Share thisRyan Phillippe and Kerr Smith were both considered for the role of Father William Francis.12 of 12 found this interesting | Share thisWhen Morgan Creek hired Renny Harlin, he told them that Paul Schrader‘s version was complete crap and unsalvageable, and without any intention of actually signing onto the project, said that they’d be better off re-shooting from scratch. Much to his shock, James G. Robinson, the head of Morgan’s Creek, agreed to this and offered Harlin an even bigger budget and paycheck than they had given Schrader. Harlin accepted the offer, and rewrote the screenplay alongside new writer Alexi Hawley.12 of 12 found this interesting | Share thisThe producers considered bringing back William Friedkin to direct.16 of 17 found this interesting | Share thisThe film was originally rated NC-17 “due to the film being too graphic and violent.” The offending scenes were edited and the result was the R-rating for “strong violence and gore, disturbing images and rituals, and for language including some sexual dialogue.”15 of 16 found this interesting | Share thisJohn Frankenheimer voluntarily stepped down from directing the movie one month before his death.9 of 9 found this interesting | Share thisWarner Bros. pushed Paul Schrader into adding more gore than he really wanted to. Matters came to a head after Schrader turned in his first edit. The studio promptly fired him, as they thought the finished product was too slow, too talky and still not gory enough for their liking.13 of 14 found this interesting | Share thisThe film is shot in Univisium (2:1) aspect ratio (developed by Vittorio Storaro, who also acted as the cinematographer), although the theatrical release was presented in 2.39:1.6 of 6 found this interesting | Share thisSeveral changes followed the firing of Paul Schrader, both in crew and cast. Screenwriter Alexi Hawley was called to retool the previous script, and he cut off some characters of Paul Schrader‘s version, besides adding some new ones, like the one played by actress Izabella Scorupco. Actor Gabriel Mann, who played Father Francis in the original version, was not able to re-shoot his scenes due to schedule problems, so new director Renny Harlin replaced him with James D’Arcy.11 of 13 found this interesting | Share thisBoth Stellan Skarsgård and Max von Sydow, who played the original Father Merrin, are from Sweden.11 of 13 found this interesting | Share thisIt is well reported that Morgan Creek fired Paul Schrader and then hired Renny Harlin to shoot the film from scratch. However the trailer used for Harlin’s reshot version is made up of footage completely comprising of Schrader’s original cut. So, bizarrely the studio spent millions of dollars on a completely new film but never went to the trouble of changing the trailer.11 of 13 found this interesting | Share thisPeter Franzén was offered the role of Matti Ristinen.5 of 5 found this interesting | Share thisRoughly 10 percent of Paul Schrader‘s scenes made it into the final film, including two minutes of the Holland village massacre. Schrader’s version of the sequence is at about 20 minutes long.10 of 12 found this interesting | Share thisIn the novelization by Steven Piziks, it was explained that Merrin was always fighting an erection whenever he was around Sarah,7 of 8 found this interesting | Share thisThe screenplay had a long and painful gestation process. William Peter Blatty refused to get involved, resulting in many years being spent trying to get a screenplay together, with the producers eventually settling on a draft by Caleb Carr, which incorporated elements from an earlier screenplay by William Wisher.6 of 7 found this interesting | Share thisAfter director John Frankenheimer abandoned the project, it was rumored that Morgan Creek producers would hire David Rocksavage to go on with the movie. These rumors were proved wrong when Paul Schrader was hired.5 of 7 found this interesting | Share thisJust at the start of the re shoot, Renny Harlin was involved in an accident and broke his leg. He had that leg supported by metal support and a cast.