The Exorcist: Believer director David Gordon Green may not direct the two planned sequels in the new trilogy, including 2025's The Exorcist: Deceiver. The Exorcist: Believer opened at number one this weekend, scaring up over $27 million domestically despite hellish reviews.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Green says, “My intention is just to start making things, and as those plans come together, if I find myself in that [The Exorcist: Deceiver] director’s chair, I’d be thrilled. But right now, I’m navigating it from a story perspective and looking at my realities of life as I pivot.”
According to The New York Times, Universal and Peacock reportedly paid in the neighborhood of $400 million for the rights to The Exorcist franchise. Critics consider the 1973 original directed by William Friedkin and starring Linda Blair as a possessed girl and Ellen Burstyn as her mother, one of the scariest horror movies in history. The Exorcist: Believer, in which Burstyn reprises her role 50 years later as Chris MacNeil, ignores all the other sequels and prequels in the franchise. Universal intends to kick off a new trilogy like Green accomplished with the Halloween series, but now the director seems less certain if he'll be directing more possessed little girls on-screen.
David Gordon Green Is “Proud” of The Exorcist: Believer
“Like so many people, Ellen Burstyn included, I know that there was skepticism at the beginning of this undertaking, but I was excited to show it to [Friedkin],” says Green to The Hollywood Reporter. “As it came together, I found myself more and more proud of what we’d done. And so it’s disappointing that I don’t get to expose myself in that way, which would, no joke, be really intimidating. But I was ready to have that conversation and I was ready to invite him to experience this if he was up for it.” Friedkin passed away on August 7, 2023 before Green had a chance to show him The Exorcist: Believer. Green continues:
“If you look at the original film, sure, it’s one of the scariest movies ever made and arguably the greatest horror film ever made. But it’s also a portrait of a priest struggling with identity and faith. It’s a portrait of a mother struggling with uncertainty involving her child. These are themes that I find relatable, and I’ve explored some of these issues in much of the dramatic work I’ve done. So this is a way that I can disguise some of the conversations I’ve had about my own spirituality and make subversive content under the umbrella of this enormously appealing franchise title.”
Even though Green is unsure if he will direct the next two Exorcist films, he still created a story plan. “I have a roadmap of what I’d like to do with this trilogy and some themes I’d like to tackle and some philosophies I’d like to explore,” says Green. “I’ll process it, take a deep breath, and see how much of my original instincts and ideas apply to where we could go with this. And then I’ll take it from there. But I am far from rigid. I like to keep things loose. I’m always evolving with my creative collaborators, particularly my actors and actresses in front of the camera and bringing their ideas and authenticity to the stage I’m trying to create.”
The Exorcist: Believer is now playing in theaters nationwide.
Robert DeSalvo is a professional writer and editor with over 25 years of experience at print and online publications such as Movieline, Playboy, PCH, Fandango, and The A.V. Club. He currently lives in Los Angeles, the setting of his favorite movie, Blade Runner. Robert has interviewed dozens of actors, directors, authors, musicians, and other celebrities during his journalism career, including Brian De Palma, Nicolas Cage, Dustin Hoffman, John Waters, Sigourney Weaver, Julianne Moore, Bryan Cranston, Anne Rice, and many more. Horror movies, sci-fi, cult films as well as gothic, postpunk, and synthwave music are what Robert geeks over.