Someone didn’t want Warner Bros. Exorcist: The Beginning to make it to theaters, maybe it was Captain Howdy? After a seriously problematic shooting with Paul Schrader’s version of the film, and then an unhappy studio, Renny Harlin was brought on to stick a giant Band-aid on the disaster of a film. Inside is a story from Harlin about how he almost didn’t get to make the film- because of a freak accident!
Sci-Fi Wire writes:
“Renny Harlin, who directed the upcoming Exorcist: The Beginning, told SCI FI Wire that he had his own brush with the rumored “Exorcist curse” when filming in Rome late last year. Harlin began shooting a new version of the troubled film last December in Rome, replacing original helmer Paul Schrader, who had previously shot his own version of the movie.
“I’ve shot movies on the top of the Alps, and I’ve done deep underwater … diving with sharks, and I’ve never had any injuries,” Harlin said in an interview. “But two weeks into shooting this one, I got hit by a car on a street in Rome and ended up in a hospital for two weeks and shot the entire movie with my leg in a cast.”
It’s only the latest report of bad luck on the set of an Exorcist movie, starting with the production of the original 1973 movie. Exorcist: The Beginning is the fourth film in the franchise and the first prequel. “There’s always been talk since the original that there was this kind of a strange Exorcist curse,” Harlin said.
Harlin added that other “weird little things” characterized the nine-week shoot of the prequel. For one thing, when cast and crew checked into their Rome hotel, they were shocked to discover a link to the first film. “[We] didn’t realize until we all checked into the hotel that it was the Hotel Excelsior, and that is the hotel where Ellen Burstyn’s husband stays in the original Exorcist,” Harlin said. “[She was] on the phone saying, ‘Operator, goddamn it, this is [the] Hotel Excelsior, how come I can’t get in touch with him?’ … When we walked in and looked up and saw it said Hotel Excelsior, [it] felt a little weird. And then when my producer checked into his room, … his room number was 666.”
Harlin admitted that he is ambivalent about the existence of such things as curses and the devil. “We did a lot of research, and the Vatican employs over 300 exorcists as of today,” he said. “Even the pope has his own exorcist. So the church definitely believes in this stuff, and they perform exorcisms around the world every day. Of course, I’m sure 99.9 percent of them turn out to be mental illness or some other thing. But they do say that … each year there are a couple of cases where they believe that it’s real possession. So they believe in it. … I don’t know if you [can] call [me] a religious person, but [I am] a person who was brought up to believe in God, so I would say if you believe in God, you believe in the devil. And I think that if you look at things that happen in this world, whether you talk about serial killers or wars that go on between people and religions and so on, … it would make sense to say that there are some kind of demonic forces that make people do the things they do.” Exorcist: The Beginning opens in August.”