Exorcist Believer director “sad” William Friedkin never got to see new movie

Daisy Phillipson
Image of William Friedkin and still from The Exorcist: Believer

Ahead of the release of The Exorcist: Believer, director David Gordon Green has said he’s “sad” William Friedkin never got to see the movie. 

In August, Friedkin – the filmmaker behind the original Exorcist – died at age 87. Friedkin was a renowned American movie and TV director, producer, and screenwriter, best known for his work on the 1973 horror, as well as The French Connection, which won five Academy Awards.

Although filming for Green’s The Exorcist: Believer – the first in a trilogy of new Exorcist movies that serve as legacy follow-ups to the original – finished in March 2023, it doesn’t arrive in cinemas until later this week. 

Friedkin famously never got involved in The Exorcist sequels, but Green’s movie features plenty of tributes, as well as the return of Ellen Burstyn’s Chris MacNeil. However, Friedkin never got to see the new flick before he died.

Green “sad” William Friedkin never got to see The Exorcist: Believer

Dexerto caught up with Green ahead of the release of The Exorcist: Believer, where we asked him about whether he got to speak with Friedkin when the project was in development. 

“I never got a chance to meet him. And I was hopeful that when we finished the movie, he would screen it and we could talk about it, because I was really curious,” Green told us. 

“His movie meant so much to me and millions of moviegoers around the world. But I had that weird opportunity of taking the stewardship of this title. And so his opinions would have been very fascinating for me, so I’m sad I never got to meet him. 

“He’s a huge inspiration to me, and so is his career. So I missed that opportunity.”

Later in the interview, the filmmaker praised working with Burstyn, who reprises her role as Chris MacNeil in The Exorcist: Believer

“I never thought Ellen would agree to it,” he said. “But we talked, I pitched her some ideas, she said, ‘Come back when you’ve got a script.’” And the rest, as they say, is history. 

Green explained that she was “nervous” and “excited” about seeing the finished product, adding: “It was so cute and sweet just to think that this Hollywood icon has butterflies in her stomach about the movie. I just think that couldn’t be cooler.”

The Exorcist: Believer drops in cinemas on October 6. You can read more about the movie in the stories below:

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