Original Exorcist Star Reveals The Real Reason She’s Returning For The Reboot | Pretty Reel

Original The Exorcist star Ellen Burstyn reveals why she’s returning for the next reboot of the supernatural horror series. The new film will serve as a direct sequel/reboot to William Friedkin’s 1973 original, which is widely considered one of the scariest films of all time, and will be the first in a trilogy. David Gordon Green is directing the film, which will retain all previous films in The Exorcist franchise as canon, unlike Green’s recent Halloween trilogy, which skipped all films except the 1978 original. Green co-wrote the screenplay alongside Peter Sattler, Scott Teems and Danny McBride, and Jason Blum is producing the film under his Blumhouse Productions.

Burstyn played Chris MacNeil in the 1973 original, an actress who has just moved to Georgetown when her young daughter Regan (Linda Blair) is possessed by the demon Pazuzu. Although she had a standout performance in 1971’s The Last Picture Show, Warner Bros. considered Burstyn a sufficiently unknown commodity that they were afraid to let her direct the film. They don’t need to be; despite meeting with mixed critical reception, The Exorcist became the highest-grossing film at the box office that year, eventually grossing $441.3 million and becoming the first horror film to be nominated for the Best Picture at the Oscars.

Despite being such an important character in the first film, Burstyn has refused to return for any of The Exorcist sequels, until now. In an interview with THR, Burstyn reveals what convinced her to return after her 50-year absence. The answer lies not in more money (or not just more money), but in something altogether more altruistic. Check out his quote below:

“You know, what happened was that I turned down many versions of The Exorcist 2. I said no every time. This time they offered me a whole lot of money and I still said no. And then they surprised me and they came back and said, “We doubled the offer. I said, “OK, let me think about that.” 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.” And the next thought that came to mind was, “My award is a scholarship program for talented students in our Masters program at Pace University. This is my price. So I went back and upped their level and ended up getting what I wanted. And I have a scholarship program for young actors.

Despite her pivotal role, no offer was made for Linda Blair to return as Regan. Given that Burstyn appears to be the only living legacy cast member who is being asked to return, the 89-year-old actress appears to be using her position to help pay for it. The Actor’s Studio, which was co-founded in 1947 by Elia Kazan, is where Hollywood legends such as Burstyn, Marlon Brando, Paul Newman, Shelley Winters, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Marilyn Monroe and many more perfected their craft. Master’s programs don’t come cheap, but thanks to Burstyn’s contribution, perhaps the financial burden of graduate research will be a little more bearable for some prospective theater students.

Much of the success of the original The Exorcist was down to the acting performances, especially Burstyn, who puts the audience in her place as a mother going through the emotional rut. So it’s heartening to see someone like Burstyn not just use her influence for good, but to see her know her own worth and have that worth recognized by what the studio is willing to pay her. It’s especially heartening given Neve Campbell’s recent departure from the Scream franchise to a studio that didn’t give her a fair salary, despite that franchise leaning far more heavily on Campbell than The Exorcist series on Burstyn. Even if it’s only for a much smaller part, it will be exciting to see Burstyn return to the role that made her a star.

Source: THR

Original Exorcist Star Reveals The Real Reason She’s Returning For The Reboot | Pretty Reel