Screenwriter and producer William Peter Blatty chats with actor Max Von Sydow on the set of The Exorcist.
When I was writing the novel I thought of it as a supernatural detective story, and to this day I cannot recall having a conscious intention to terrifying anybody, which you may take, I suppose, as an admission of failure on an almost stupefying scale.
— William Peter Blatty
: Did you meet William Peter Blatty?
I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Blatty, although I was lucky enough to meet Linda Blair a couple of times last year while she was in Australia to host special screenings for the film’s 40th anniversary. She’s an incredibly kind and humble person with a great sense of humour!
Linda Blair tests one of many early make-up designs by Dick Smith.
A similar look was originally approved and shot, but upon review of the dailies director William Friedkin decided to scrap the footage as he felt audiences needed to recognize Blair in order to believe what they were seeing.
October 29, 2013 - Author and screenwriter William Peter Blatty re-visits the ‘Exorcist Steps’ in Georgetown to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the film.
40 years ago today, The Exorcist was unleashed upon an unsuspecting audience in New York and changed the face of horror cinema.
Director William Friedkin talks Linda Blair and Barton Heyman through the early medical examination scenes, originally cut from the ‘73 release of The Exorcist, and re-added for 2000’s The Version You’ve Never Seen.
In order to achieve a result on a film like The Exorcist, I’ve got to coordinate the efforts of these eighty-five people every morning, and every one of these people comes in with special problems and hangups, and none of them are getting paid as much as I am, and none of them will get as much credit. Yet, all of this is unspoken between us, and we come together because we love the work. These are people who contribute to movies, guys whose names you’ll never know, they’ll come up and say “why don’t we do this shot from here?” and by God, they’ll be right.
— William Friedkin
Be sure to check out some more awesome Exorcist-inspired carvings, costumes and props over at Everything Exorcist.
Production stills from the aforementioned deleted scene in which Regan complains to Chris of “funny noises” in her bedroom. Despite being cut from the film, stills from this scene were used heavily in promotion for the film.
Excerpt from an early screenplay of The Exorcist dated December 18, 1972.
Although it does not appear in the final shooting script, this particular scene was indeed shot, and confirmed by William Peter Blatty to have been present in the early workprint before ultimately being cut by William Friedkin.
Director William Friedkin takes a moment between takes to strike a pose for the camera as the statue of Pazuzu looms in the background, during filming of the exorcism sequence on the set of The Exorcist.
My typist had been working on the novel. She didn’t offer any editorial comment, so halfway through l asked for her reaction. She said, “They’re after him.” I said “Who?” She said, “You know, them. They’re after Father Karras.” Well, she picked up on what half the readers do not - that it is Karras, not the little girl. Karras was going to be lost forever or he was going to be saved. This is his crucible.
— William Peter Blatty
And let my cry come unto thee…