Forgive me and the rest of the planet for being skeptical of Fox's upcoming Exorcist TV series, but when you reboot the most iconic horror film of all time, there's bound to be a little blowback. Then again, maybe we're looking at this thing all wrong? Here's creator Jeremy Slater, who claims the show isn't a remake/reboot at all but a “continuation” of the original film, which I guess is supposed to make us feel better.
“If you watch the pilot, you'll see that we have some…homages to some of the famous moments,” said Slater during Comic-Con press rounds for the forthcoming non-reboot. “If you watch the pilot, you'll see there's a scene where they reference the original exorcisms in Georgetown [the setting of the film]. That's our way of letting fans know that the story you love isn't being written out of existence. This is a new story with new characters that takes place in the same universe as the original film.”
Still not convinced? Neither was Ben Daniels, who plays a priest named Father Marcus. At least, not at first.
“I didn't read it. I thought it was a terrible idea, and I love – love – horror movies, and like any horror lover, it's at the top,” said Daniels. “That movie is a perfect horror movie, even though it wasn't made as a horror movie, but it is. It sat in my inbox. I didn't look at it. I just thought, 'Why are they going to remake that? That's a really bad idea.' My agent called and said, 'No, you should look at it. It isn't a remake,' and I did, and I was like, 'Oh, I see where they're going with it.'”
Brianne Howey, who plays young former ballet dancer Katherine Rance in the series, had a similar response to Daniels — albeit her reticence was based more on intimidation than annoyance.
“I got the audition and I just saw in the subject, 'The Exorcist,' and I was like, 'No,'” said Howey. “It's so intimidating. Those are really, really big shoes to fill. Then I read the sides…and the writing was so good. It's just so real and grounded.”
“I think if you're a fan of [the original movie], then you're going to be a fan of the show because we don't take anything away,” echoed Howey's co-star Hannah Kasulka, who plays Katherine's sister Casey. “We just add [to it].”
Ok, we get it: not a remake. Not a reboot. But is the show actually good? Oscar winner Geena Davis is here to reassure you.
“It actually works to our favor in a way [that] the movie is so iconic,” said Davis. “Hopefully people will come to understand that it's not in any way a remake. We fully acknowledge that that movie took place and 'Uh oh…oh now it's happening again.' It's incredibly iconic to us too, the original.”
If you're still not convinced, you're in damn good company. When asked whether Exorcist 1973 director William Friedkin and author William Peter Blatty had given their “blessing” to the series, Slater said this (emphasis mine):
“Not Friedkin. Definitely not from him but, I hope he watches the show and he likes it. We have the rights to Peter Blatty's novel and he's not very involved creatively but, he's been pitched and briefed on everything. He's incredibly excited. We can't wait for him to come visit on set because this really is his baby. This is the world he created and right now we're just trying to do it justice.”
Good luck with that. Seriously.
The Exorcist premieres September 23 on Fox. You can watch the trailer below.