Ellen Burstyn Recalls The Physically Grueling Filming Of 'The Exorcist'

Ellen Burstyn Recalls The Physically Grueling Filming Of 'The Exorcist'

Ellen Burstyn has starred in many iconic movies during her long career, but one of her most physically demanding roles was Chris McNeil in 'The Exorcist.' The actress joined HuffPost Live to talk about how filming the movie left her permanently injured.

In the classic horror movie, Burstyn was the mother of a child who becomes possessed. At one point, the daughter (played by Linda Blair) pushes Burstyn to the floor. While shooting the scene, Burstyn landed hard on the floor and hurt her back.

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"When she knocks me on the floor, I landed on my back and [director William Friedkin] said, 'Cut, take two.' And I said, 'Billy, he's pulling me too hard,' because I had a wire pulling me to the floor," she explained to host Ricky Camilleri.

"And Billy said, 'well it has to look real.' And I said, 'I know it has to look real, but I'm telling you, I could get hurt.' And so he said, 'ok, don't pull her so hard.'"

"But then I'm not sure that he didn't cancel that behind my back because the guy smashed me into the floor."

Burstyn permanently injured her spine while shooting the scene.

"Billy is one of those directors that is so dedicated to getting the shot right that I think some other considerations sort of fall by the wayside sometimes. He's a brilliant director and I don't want to knock him, however, I did injure my lower back and had to work with it ever since. But it's okay."

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