ENTERTAINMENT

Ellen Burstyn Will Reprise Her 'Exorcist' Role In New Horror Trilogy

The Oscar winner will star alongside Leslie Odom Jr. in a three-film "continuation" of 1973's head-spinning classic. The first movie is due out in 2023.

Keep the holy water within easy reach, filmgoers, as “The Exorcist” is getting a revival

The New York Times on Monday reported that Ellen Burstyn had signed on to reprise her iconic role as Chris MacNeil in what’s been described as a “continuation” of the 1973 horror classic that will comprise three feature films. 

The new trilogy is said to follow a concerned father (played by Leslie Odom Jr.) who seeks out Chris’ advice upon learning his child may be possessed by a demon. Universal Pictures and the NBC streaming service Peacock acquired the three movies for a reported $400 million

The trilogy will be directed by David Gordon Green, who in 2018 revived the “Halloween” franchise with Jamie Lee Curtis. The first of the films is currently aiming for a 2023 release. 

Linda Blair (left) and Ellen Burstyn in 1973's "The Exorcist," widely regarded as one of the scariest movies ever made. 
Linda Blair (left) and Ellen Burstyn in 1973's "The Exorcist," widely regarded as one of the scariest movies ever made. 

Reaction to the news on social media was nothing short of head-spinning, if a bit divided. Some argued in defense of “The Exorcist III,” one of two sequels to the original film that’s become a cult favorite. Others lobbied for Linda Blair, who starred alongside Burstyn as demon-possessed teen Regan MacNeil in the original, to land a role

Based on William Peter Blatty’s 1971 novel, “The Exorcist” is widely regarded as one of the scariest movies of all time, and received two Academy Awards. Burstyn, who won an Oscar in 1975 for “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore,” has been enjoying a career renaissance as of late thanks to an acclaimed performance in 2020’s “Pieces of a Woman.” 

In February, the actor told AARP Magazine that she’d rewatched “The Exorcist” to commemorate the film’s 45th anniversary in 2018. 

“No, it doesn’t scare me,” she explained. “You know what’s funny? I passed a group of people the other day and a man said, ‘Ellen Burstyn?’ I said, ‘How can you recognize me with this mask on?’ He said, ‘I’ve seen “The Exorcist” over 40 times. Your eyes are very familiar.’”