Exorcist Beginnings: Director Speaks
Harlin added, "The key is that they wanted to make sure that the movie would be faithful to the original 1973 film [The Exorcist], and because it is the most famous horror film in the world, they wanted to make sure that this film was suspenseful and offered the kind of experience that the original film had. So I guess that they didn't feel that the script that they had had or the film [Schrader had] shot, for whatever reason, ... quite [gave] that experience. ... They first considered just doing some reshoots and doing some additions. But [they] then came to the conclusion that the movie had a certain structure and certain style and certain nature, and they wanted a different kind of a film. So that's what we tried to do."
Exorcist: The Beginning, the fourth film in the supernatural franchise, takes the story back to its roots, following a young Father Lancaster Merrin (Stellan Skarsgard) in his first encounter with evil in post-World-War-II Africa. Schrader (Auto Focus) was the first director to shoot the film and completed it last year. He turned in his cut to Morgan Creek, who eventually fired Schrader, shelved the movie and hired Harlin to shoot a completely new movie, with a new script and several new actors.
"[We] follow the same type of themes and ideas and maybe solve some of the questions and mysteries that were established in [the original Exorcist]," Harlin said. "Because this is a prequel, we really, really have the chance to set up some of the things that are not explained in the 1973 film, and at the same time I think that they felt that it was very important that the audience would experience the same kind of discomfort and fear and unsettling emotions [as in] the first film. ... They really were concerned that ... there would be a certain similarity in the genre and make sure that the film, while a character study and the study of the battle between good and evil, was scary and suspenseful like the original, and didn't rely on any kind of wild special effects that wouldn't really make sense. ... In a way, this film feels like it could have taken place before the 1973 film, so it's definitely ... not about gore. It's not about flying monsters and special effects at all." Exorcist: The Beginning opens Aug. 20.
Reported by Paul at www.pulpmovies.com, source is SciFi Wire