Powerhouse horror producer Jason Blum has addressed the passing of William Friedkin, the iconic filmmaker whose 1973 classic The Exorcist is the basis for a forthcoming trilogy his company Blumhouse is producing for Universal.
“I am personally indebted to William Friedkin and saddened by his loss,” said Blum in a statement obtained by Deadline. “More than any other filmmaker, he changed both the way directors approached horror films and also the perception of horror films in the broader culture. We are deeply saddened to hear of his passing and intensely grateful for the body of work he has left behind.”
William Friedkin Dies: Oscar-Winning ‘French Connection’ Director & ‘Exorcist’ Nominee Was 87
William Friedkin: Director’s Career In Photos
Friedkin died in Los Angeles today, aged 87. A cause of death has not yet been disclosed. With his original horror The Exorcist, starring Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow and Linda Blair, the cinema icon told the story of Chris MacNeil (Burstyn), a mother who seeks the help of priests when her teenage daughter Regan (Blair) is possessed by a mysterious entity.
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Burstyn reprises her role in the new trilogy, from Halloween filmmaker David Gordon Green, whose first title, The Exorcist: Believer, is coming up for release October 13th. The protagonist this time around is Victor Fielding (Leslie Odom, Jr.), who, since the death of his pregnant wife in a Haitian earthquake 12 years ago, has raised their daughter Angela (Lidya Jewett) on his own. But when Angela and her friend Katherine (Olivia Marcum) disappear in the woods, only to return three days later with no memory of what happened to them, it unleashes a chain of events that will force Victor to confront the nadir of evil and, in his terror and desperation, seek out MacNeil, the only person alive who has witnessed anything like it before.
RELATED: Remembering William Friedkin: Directors Eli Roth, Guillermo Del Toro & Scott Derrickson, ‘The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial’ Star Kiefer Sutherland Pay Tribute
Rounding out the cast of Believer are Ann Dowd (The Handmaid’s Tale), Jennifer Nettles (Harriet) and Norbert Leo Butz (Fosse/Verdon). Green and Peter Sattler (Camp X-Ray) scripted the film from a story by Scott Teems (Halloween Kills), Danny McBride (Halloween trilogy) and Green, which is based on characters created by William Peter Blatty. Joining Blumhouse’s Blum in producing were David Robinson and James G. Robinson for Morgan Creek Entertainment. Exec producers are McBride, Green, Stephanie Allain, Ryan Turek and Atilla Yücer.
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While the third film in Green’s trilogy does not yet have a title or release date, second installment The Exorcist: Deceiver is currently scheduled to open April 18, 2025.
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