In the early 1970s when I directed The Exorcist, I had not witnessed an exorcism but I wondered how close I had come to portraying reality,” Friedkin said. “I had been curious to meet Father Amorth for many years and when he granted permission to meet and film him in Rome last May, it was the opportunity to complete the circle and see how close that film came to reality.”
Last year during an interview with Variety he said, “I had to shoot it alone, obviously. The conditions were that I come along with no crew and no lights. So I used a Sony still camera that shot high-definition video. I had only that camera running and I was about two feet away from them, probably even closer. It was terrifying. I went from being afraid of what could happen to feel a great deal of empathy with this woman’s pain and suffering, which is obvious in the film.”
In his latest, William Friedkin returns not only to his documentary roots but to the subject of one of his most towering works, 1973’s The Exorcist. Friedkin, a legendary raconteur, leads a tour that moves from the infamous Exorcist steps in Georgetown to Italy, where he meets with the 91-year-old Father Gabriele Amorth, official exorcist of the Diocese of Rome, and accompanies Amorth on one of his harrowing house calls. A sprightly, at times gonzo-style investigation into the long history of demonic lore, and a one-of-a-kind insight into the persistence of medieval belief in the supposedly modern world.
The Devil and Father Amorth will open theatrically in New York and Los Angeles on April 20, 2018, followed by a digital release worldwide at a later date, from The Orchard.