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Leslie Odom to star in ‘Exorcist’ trilogy revival: report

The first film in the new trilogy is expected to debut theatrically in 2023.

Universal is reviving the Exorcist franchise with a new trilogy set to star Leslie Odom Jr.

As reported by Variety, the studio is shelling out $400 million to jumpstart a new Exorcist film series, with Oscar-winning actress Ellen Burstyn, who starred in the 1973 original, set to reprise her role as Chris MacNeil.

Odom Jr. will play a father who seeks help for his child who is possessed by demons. He turns to Burstyn’s character for help. The project comes after Odom Jr. earned critical acclaim, as well as Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations, for his portrayal of late R&B soul singer Sam Cooke in the film One Night in Miami.

Odom and his wife, Nicolette Robinson, also welcomed their second child earlier this year.

Leslie Odom Jr. attends the 51st NAACP Image Awards, presented by BET, at Pasadena Civic Auditorium in February. The “Hamilton” star recently released his second holiday LP, “The Christmas Album.” (Photo by Robin L. Marshall/Getty Images for BET)

David Gordon Green is directing the upcoming Exorcist franchise with Blumhouse producing. Green, who will serve as the screenwriter of the trilogy, is helming the upcoming Halloween film for the studio. 

“Blumhouse has always experienced incredible partnership from the team at Universal, and I’m grateful to Donna Langley and Jimmy Horowitz for believing in the vision of David’s film and having the foresight to be flexible with distribution, so the team feels top notch support through the lifeline of the film. They’re committed to theatrical exhibition and will also [be] serving streaming viewers well by bringing an exciting franchise like the ‘Exorcist’ to Peacock too,” said Jason Blum, founder of Blumhouse. “I’m grateful to be working with David Robinson and the great team at Morgan Creek on this iconic franchise.”

The forthcoming Exorcist trilogy is expected to debut in theaters in late 2023, with plans to screen the latter two films on NBCUniversal’s streaming service Peacock, according to The New York Times

David Robinson and his company, Morgan Creek Entertainment, will produce with Blumhouse executive Couper Samuelson executive producing.

“There’s no better time to be joining forces with the team at Peacock, reuniting with the great team at Universal and finally getting to work with my friends at Blumhouse, than on this classic franchise,” Robinson said in a statement. “David Gordon Green, Danny McBride, Scott Teems and Peter Sattler have put together a compelling continuation of this iconic tale and I can’t wait to bring this to fans around the world.”

The original Exorcist was directed by William Friedkin and was based on the 1971 novel of the same name. The story centers on a 12-year-old girl who becomes possessed by demons and her mother turns to a priest for help via an exorcism. 

The 1973 movie starred Linda Blair and it bagged over $441 million at the box office. Per the report, it was the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time until 2017’s It, based on the popular Stephen King novel.

The original Exorcist was the first horror film to be nominated for best picture at the Academy Awards 1974, winning for best-adapted screenplay and best sound. The film was followed by 1977’s Exorcist II: The Heretic, The Exorcist III in 1990 and Exorcist: The Beginning in 2004. 

The first film in the new Exorcist trilogy is expected to debut theatrically on Oct. 13, 2023.

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