The Exorcism Director Reveals They Originally Pitched Biopic About Making of The Exorcist

Director Joshua John Miller's father was in The Exorcist, but Warner Bros. wasn't interesting in going behind the scenes.

With The Exorcism, writer-director Joshua John Miller teamed with his co-writer M.A. Forth to craft a meta-horror movie that touches on what it's like for an actor to get deep into the world of a role that's deeply unsettling to play as well as to watch. Presumably inspired by Jason Miller, Joshua John Miller's father and the star of the classic horror movie The Exorcist, the movie stars Russell Crowe as, per the film's official synopsis, a "troubled actor [who] begins to unravel while shooting a horror film." 

The ties are so close, that ComicBook asked whether Miller and Forth considered just making a straight-up film about The Exorcist and, according to Miller, they pitched it, but Warner Bros. -- the studio behind the film -- wasn't biting.

"We did -- we once pitched it to Warner Bros., becuase we were writing other movies for Warner Bros. at the time, and they just looked at us stone cold," Miller told ComicBook. "We were like, 'Okay, well I guess that's not happening.'"


Jason Miller in 1973's The Exorcist

- Warner Bros.)

In terms of why he wanted to dig into The Exorcist, Miller added, "Becuase we were like, 'This is such an interesting story about the history of one of the great movies, and why not tell a sweeping tale about Hollywood in the '70s and about horror, and all these interesting elements?"

According to Miler's read of the room, he thinks Warners just wasn't interested in the behind-the-scenes aspect of The Exoricst. He says he's sure a movie like that could be made, but that ultimately they decided to go another way.

"There's something about getting to do things in a fictionalized way that's cool," he concluded. "You can embellish, and maybe even get to deeper issues that you wouldn't have gotten to, in non-fiction."

Of course, both the movie The Exorcist and the events that inspired it are pretty well-documented. Over the years, while there may never have been a movie about the making of The Exorcist, there have been countless film and video interviews that provide fans with a lot of insight. In 2014, filmmakers Christopher Saint Booth and Philip Adrian Booth made The Exorcist File, a documentary about the cast that inspired the movie, which was filmed partially on site at the house where the exorcism in question actually took place. You can find that movie on Tubi and Prime Video.

You can watch The Exorcism in theaters on Friday.