Director Claims to Have Shot at ‘Real’ Exorcism in New Movie

William Friedkin said that witnessing the act, performed by Father Gabriele Amorth, was 'terrifying'

Director William Friedkin did something a bit unorthodox for his upcoming documentary, “The Devil and Father Amorth.”

The praised filmmaker behind such films as “The Exorcist” — for which he won an Academy Award — and “The French Connection” actually filmed what he claims to be a real exorcism for his newest flick.

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The exorcism was performed by Father Gabriele Amorth, who has reportedly conducted exorcisms on behalf of the Vatican’s Rome Diocese for years. Amorth was a critic of Friedkin’s 1973 film “The Exorcist,” of which the director was well aware before reaching out to the man about collaborating.

“I had never tried to meet him; I never thought I could. But I was in Lucca [Italy] a year or so ago … and someone casually mentioned that Lucca was about a half-hour drive to Pisa … where there was an airport where I could catch a one-hour flight to Rome. Something clicked, and through a friend I was able to write [to] Father Amorth. Two days later he wrote me back, and said he would meet me,” Friedkin recently told Variety.

Amorth agreed to let Friedkin film an exorcism on an Italian woman for the documentary, which recently screened at the Venice Film Festival.

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“It was terrifying. I went from being afraid of what could happen to feeling a great deal of empathy with this woman’s pain and suffering, which is obvious in the film,” the filmmaker said.

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Amorth passed away in September of last year before he could see Friedkin’s film completed.

There is no official release date yet for the movie.

(photo credit, homepage and article images: Georges Biard / Warner Bros.)

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