Carr Speaks Out About Exorcist Debacle
Created 08/26/2003 - 00:00
In light of Morgan Creek's firing of director Paul Schrader from EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING (the production company disliked his final cut), famed novelist Caleb Carr (THE ALIENIST), who shares screenplay credit with William Wisher, gave his perspective to VFXWorld:
"Paul Schrader's recent attempts to portray the purported problems with 'EXORCIST IV: THE BEGINNING' as an example of studio stupidity are quite contrary to facts. I spent four months writing the script at Morgan Creek, and every executive there read it many times; and when they say that they did not get what they wanted from Schrader, they are not referring to spinning heads and vomit, but to the very psychological horror that is at the heart of the script. Schrader's statements have no validity, and it is unfortunate that instead of accepting that the psychological moments he shot lacked real tension and horror, and trying (as many directors must) to heighten those elements during reshoots, he elected to create an imaginary battle of wills in the press.
"The film has some fine elements which, when put together with some necessary reshoots, will make a very good movie -- one off of which Schrader, for all his indignation, has elected not to take his name. The film WILL be delayed; but it will also realize the potential that many, including the late John Frankenheimer (the film's first contracted director), saw in the script. It's just a pity Schrader never understood that potential. He apparently agreed to do this film as a job, and that is the feel of his cut; but the film needs the work of someone who, like Frankenheimer, is inspired by the script: and that is who and what those of us who have not abandoned the project will now seek out. Happily, all the cast and [cinematographer] Vittorio Storaro are anxious to get on with this work; since Schrader is apparently more interested in telling thoughtless and malicious fairy tales to the press, it is better that he no longer be involved."
EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING stars Stellan Skarsgard as Father Merrin, who first encounters the demon Pazuzu for the first time in post World War II Africa. Proxima, an Italian digital effects partner of famed Cinecittà Studios in Rome, did a large portion of the vfx work. In fact, the move marks a pivotal point in Cinecittàs expansion into the digital arena. Morgan Creek was the first American production company to take full advantage of Cinecittà Studios' post-production facilities. Among the new technological advances utilized on the prequel is the Univisium 1:2 format, invented by Storaro, which allows for the processing of film at a quality level twice as high as the digital quality applied at most other places (4K, or 4,000 pixels-per-frame, as opposed to 2K, or 2,000 pixels-per-frame).