Hollywood seems to get a caffeine high out of meddling with potentially good movies that should have been left alone. The fourth installment of The Exorcist franchise was filmed last year in Italy and Morocco, directed by Paul Schrader and starring Stellan Skarsg?rd. So the fact that it has already been filmed means we will be able to see it, right?
Well… yes and no.
Actually, Schrader is the second director brought on board for Exorcist: The Beginning, a prequel to the 1973 classic. The original director was John Frankenheimer, but he died in 2002, so Schrader was brought in to replace him. Whether he did a respectable job with the film may never be known, because Schrader and most of the cast have been replaced and the movie is essentially being reshot.
So who replaced Schrader, you may be wondering? None other than Renny Harlin. Let that sink in for a minute or two. The guy who wrote Taxi Driver and Raging Bull and directed Auto Focus is being replaced by the guy who directed Cutthroat Island and Cliffhanger.
I really hope the suits behind this movie know what they’re doing. I really have to wonder what Schrader did that was so wrong he had to be replaced by a guy who had no business poking his head out of the sand. Who knows? Maybe Renny Harlin has gotten better as a director. If a hack like Brett Ratner can do a halfway decent job with Red Dragon, I suppose we can’t count Renny Harlin out completely. But the odds… those pesky odds… we could be in for a stinkfest that makes Exorcist II: The Heretic seem like Citizen Kane.
That’s Hollywood for you, always fixing what ain’t broke.