Slash Film pointed us to a story over at Bloody-Disgusting (who got it from Cemetery Dance Magazine) talking about how author William Peter Blatty and director William Friedkin might be re-teaming for another take on The Exorcist, the book/screenplay/movie that made both men famous back in 1973-74, when The Exorcist became a horror film sensation, taking home multiple Oscars including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay.
So is The Devil (aka Hollyweird) at work here? Not so much. The actual word is that Blatty has been working on a (spec?) script for a new Exorcist project for some time now, and that Friedkin may be onboard to helm it.
Now, if you’re a careful reader (fewer and fewer of those these days…) you’ll notice that I said “new Exorcist project.” That project is NOT another unnecessary movie remake, but rather a new TV miniseries version of The Exorcist story, which would reportedly be a closer, more in-depth adaptation of Blatty’s novel. Here’s what Blatty had to say to Cemetery Dance Magazine:
“I would love to have been able to include the subplot involving Karl and his daughter Elvira which I did in my first draft, but that script ran to 172 pages, much, much too long. But I might have it my way in the near future, inasmuch as I’ve written an Exorcist miniseries script that not only faithfully includes all the main elements of the novel, but also some rather spooky new material and scenes, as well as a totally new (and perhaps much more satisfying) ending.”
Now, as hesitant as I am about tampering with a classic, as far as remakes (or new takes, re-imaginings, or whatever…) go, this possible new Exorcist project already has several things (possibly) going for it:
- The original writer/creator and director re-teaming for the project.
- A different structure and medium (TV miniseries) in which to play.
- New (hopefully expansive) ideas being introduced into the story.
If you’re going to tinker with that-which-should-not-be-messed-with, this is, at least, a better way to do it.
To be clear: no deal has yet been struck guaranteeing that we’ll be seeing this Exorcist miniseries – nor has there been any indication that Friedkin has been locked down to helm the project. However, I can’t imagine Blatty having that new script burning up a hole in his briefcase for too long before somebody comes calling for it – it’s not everyday that you get the mind behind a great story in a place where he/she is willing to go and revisit the work they’ve already done.
As for this whole miniseries angle? Hey, Stephen King wrote the teleplay for the 1997 TV miniseries version of his novel The Shining. And while I didn’t enjoy that miniseries anywhere as much as Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film adaptation, the TV miniseries was still interesting to watch, if only to compare how the same story could be imagined in two different ways. I say all that to say: as long as Blatty is onboard for doing the Exorcist on TV, I see no reason why I can’t give it a chance – especially if the miniseries can match the caliber of acclaimed miniseries like HBO’s Generation Kill (or any other HBO dramatic miniseries for that matter…).
What do you think: would you watch a TV miniseries re-telling of The Exorcist, or do you see it as blaspheme that even the author of the novel/screenplay wants to mess with a classic piece of cinema?
We’ll let you know how this project develops.