Ellen Burstyn: Why She’s Back For ‘The Exorcist’ Sequel

by Thomas Tuna

Some actors just do things for the right reason.

One of the best surprises of the upcoming sequel to the iconic horror staple The Exorcist is that Ellen Burstyn will reprise her key role of Chris MacNeil. But why, horror fans may wonder, did the acclaimed actor agree to return after all these years?

The answer may surprise you.

Burstyn–during a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter–admitted she had “turned down many versions of The Exorcist. 2. I’ve said no every time. This time, they offered me a whole bunch of money and I still said no.”

Then, Burstyn said, “they surprised me and said, ‘We doubled the offer’. So, I thought, ‘That’s a lot of money. Let me think about it’. The next thought that came to mind was, ‘I feel like the devil is asking my price’.”

But her next thought turned the tide. Burstyn said her price was “a scholarship program for talented students at the Master’s degree program at Pace University. That’s my price. So, I went back and upped their up and ended up getting what I want. And I’ve got a scholarship program for young actors.”

In the sequel (one of three planned), Burstyn will join Leslie Odom Jr. and Ann Dowd in a story that follows “the father (Odom) of a possessed child who tracks down Chris MacNeil (Burstyn),” according to the brief logline. Dowd’s character has not yet been revealed.

This first sequel–from Universal Pictures, Peacock and Blumhouse Productions–is directed by David Gordon Green from a screenplay he wrote with Danny McBride, Scott Teems and Peter Sattler. The film–slated for an Oct. 13, 2023 release–is produced by Jason Blum and David and James Robinson.

The original The Exorcist--the first horror movie to be nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award–follows a mother’s struggles to save her 12-year-old daughter from a demonic possession through an exorcism performed by two priests.

Keep reading Horror News Network for all updates on these sequels to The Exorcist.


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