According to The Hollywood Reporter, The Handmaid’s Tale star Ann Dowd has been tapped to join Ellen Burstyn in Universal Pictures and Blumhouse’s forthcoming direct sequel to William Friedkin’s iconic horror film The Exorcist.
Further details about the Emmy-winning actress’ character are still being kept under wraps, but she will be featured in the first film in the studios’ planned The Exorcist trilogy, which is currently slated to make its debut on October 13, 2023 in theaters and on Peacock.
Dowd is no stranger to the horror genre as she previously starred in Ari Aster’s acclaimed film Hereditary. She will next be seen in the upcoming fifth season of The Handmaid’s Tale and in the political thriller film The Independent alongside Jodie Turner-Smith.
The Exorcist trilogy is not being developed as a remake. Rather, it serves as a direct sequel to the original horror feature, which was adapted from William Peter Blatty’s novel, with Halloween’s David Gordon Green directing from a screenplay he is co-writing with Scott Teems, Danny McBride, and Peter Sattler.
Oscar-winner Ellen Burstyn is returning to the franchise for the upcoming films, reprising her iconic role as Chris MacNeil over 40 years since the original film debuted in 1973 for which she received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress. Joining Burstyn is Oscar nominee Leslie Odom, Jr. (Hamilton, One Night in Miami) in the lead role of the father of a possessed child whose desperation leads him to track down MacNeil.
The sequel will be produced by Jason Blum, David Robinson, and James Robinson with Green, McBride, and Couper Samuelson set to executive produce. It will be a co-production between Blumhouse and Morgan Creek Production, with Ryan Turek to oversee the project on behalf of Blumhouse.
The original The Exorcist centered around the sudden demonic possession of a 12-year-old girl named Regan (Linda Blair) after encountering an old Ouija board. In a last attempt to save Regan, two Roman Catholic priests (Max von Sydow, Jason Miller) are enlisted to conduct an exorcism on her.