Some interesting movements on “The Exorcist” prequel to say the least. Paul Schrader’s not the most popular man around at the moment – especially with the film’s scribe, Caleb Carr. Carr talked to Horror Express about Schrader, and his dumping from the film. “I can confirm that Paul Schrader’s connection with the film has been concluded, by mutual agreement. More details than that, I do not know. As for my reaction and the future of the film, I am heartened by the departure of a director who had apparently taken on the project not because he loved it, but for a paycheck and as a way to get (by his own public statement) "back" into the mainstream of commercial films (his previous solid lock on commercialism apparently having been that landmark of popular culture, CAT PEOPLE). Mr. Schrader has left us with a good amount of useable material which, when cut in with necessary reshoots, should make up a fine film; but in the future, I’d hope that he would have more respect for the work of others than to treat it as a tool with which to gain his private, unconnected, pragmatic goals.”
“I’ll explain my relationship to Paul this way: when he first called me to talk about the script, we were on the phone for over hours, during all of which times the words "nice job" or "I like the script" never escaped him. He just banged on endlessly about his work and how much he knew about God, the Devil, Good and Evil. I didn’t think much of it, at the time – pretty typical modern director/"auteur" behavior, really. But in retrospect, after seeing his lifeless cut, it does irk me. But what really pisses me off is the way in which he treated other key members of the project; although I have to let them speak for themselves. Safe to say, however, that when you have one of the greatest living cinematographers [ Vittorio Storaro ] on a project, and he’s come on because he loves the script, you might want to listen to him.
“All this crap about Morgan Creek wanting a conventional horror movie is just that: crap made up by Schrader to cover his ass, or rather to cover his lackluster cut. The only moments of what seems cheap physical horror were actually Paul’s inept shooting of more subtly horrific stuff; but Morgan Creek didn’t want those scenes even cheaper, they wanted them refined. I had written the script in an office at the company, everybody there read it many times over. They knew what they wanted, and they knew Frankenheimer could give it to them. Schrader’s selection as John’s replacement was baffling to most of us, and justified on the grounds that his name would "sell foreign": the mantra of modern marketing. In this as so many cases, however, playing it safe proved in practice to be very dangerous.
On a side note, I’m hearing a few renowned directors have been contacted over the last couple of weeks about finishing off “The Exorcist” prequel. So rest assured, it will be coming…just with a few more scary bits thrown into the mix.