What an excellent day for an Exorcist casting! Blumhouse continues to expand the ensemble of The Exorcist, the first film in a new horror trilogy from Morgan Creek, Universal Pictures, and NBCUniversal’s streaming service Peacock. A continuation of the original 1973 film adapted from author William Peter Blatty’s novel, the new take again stars Ellen Burstyn as Chris MacNeil, the tormented mother of Linda Blair’s previously-possessed Regan MacNeil. After adding Broadway star Jennifer Nettles in a primary role this week, the horror revival has cast Okwui Okpokwasili in an undisclosed role. Deadline first reported the news.
Starring Leslie Odom Jr. (Hamilton) as the father of a possessed child who turns to Burstyn’s Chris for help, Okpokwasili joins a cast that includes Nettles (The Righteous Gemstones), Ann Dowd (The Handmaid’s Tale), Raphael Sbarge (Once Upon a Time), Lidya Jewett (Good Girls), and newcomer Olivia Marcum.
A dancer and choreographer best known for her acclaimed work Bronx Gothic, Okpokwasili will next appear in the WandaVision spin-off series Agatha: Coven of Chaos for Marvel Studios and Disney+. Okpokwasili’s credits include the Jay-Z: 4:44 music video and the films The Interpreter, I Am Legend, The Hoax, and an episode of The Blacklist.
David Gordon Green, who directed Jamie Lee Curtis in the Halloween sequel trilogy for Blumhouse, is replicating that approach with the 40-years-later follow-up to The Exorcist. The first film of the planned trilogy is slated for theatrical release on October 13th. Jason Blum (The Black Phone, M3GAN) is producing the film from Green and his Halloween collaborator Danny McBride, who co-wrote the story with Green and Scott Teems (Halloween Kills, Firestarter).
“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,” Morgan Creek president David Robinson said in a statement announcing the reported $400-million deal in July 2021. Blum added he’s “grateful to be working with David Robinson and the great team at Morgan Creek on this iconic franchise,” which could release subsequent installments on streamer Peacock.
Like Green’s 2018 Halloween, which ignored every film after the John Carpenter-directed 1978 Halloween, The Exorcist 2023 is expected to disregard the sequels and prequels that followed William Friedkin’s 1973 original: 1977’s Exorcist II: The Heretic, 1990’s The Exorcist III, 2004’s Exorcist: The Beginning, and 2005’s Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist.
Universal and Blumhouse’s The Exorcist opens in theaters on October 13th.