Al Pacino, Russell Crowe & Dan Stevens compelled to join new exorcism projects

Russell Crowe signs on for The Exorcism while The Ritual draws in Al Pacino and Dan Stevens
Father Gabriele Amorth (Russell Crowe, right) in Screen Gems’ THE POPE’S EXORCIST.
Father Gabriele Amorth (Russell Crowe, right) in Screen Gems’ THE POPE’S EXORCIST. /

It's time to exorcise some demons! In just a day's time not one, but two exorcism movies have been announced with A-list talent attached.

Yesterday, Deadline reported that Russell Crowe will be adding yet another demon-denouncing role to to his filmography with The Exorcism. Previously known as The Georgetown Project, the film follows Crowe's character, an actor and recovering addict, who finds his life spinning out of control while shooting a fright flick. Ryan Simpkins (Fear Street) plays his daughter who comes back into his life wondering if the actor's inner demons are rearing their ugly heads. The original and current titles are interesting because they both nod to The Exorcist, which was shot and set in the Georgetown area of Washington, D.C.

Father Esquibel (Daniel Zovatto) and Father Gabriele Amorth (Russell Crowe) in Screen Gems’ THE POPE’S EXORCIST. /

The project comes from Joshua John Miller who turned in notable performances as a young actor in movies like Near Dark and Teen Witch. Since then he has taken on a new creative path and became a screenwriter with M.A. Fortin. They worked on this project together as well as the 80s slasher throwback The Final Girls. Both Miller and Fortin are listed as directors of this project.

The Exorcism also stars Sam Worthington (Avatar, Rogue), Samantha Mathis (American Psycho, Pet Sematary: Bloodlines), David Hyde Pierce (Frasier, The Perfect Host), Chloe Bailey (Swarm), Adam Goldberg (Zodiac, The Equalizer) and Joshua John Miller's Near Dark co-star Adrian Pasdar. The Exorcism is slated for a June 7 theatrical release before moving on to Shudder.

Al Pacino
96th Annual Academy Awards - Backstage / Handout/GettyImages

But other stars will also be dealing with demonic forces as Variety reports that Al Pacino and Dan Stevens will star in The Ritual (not to be confused with the excellent 2017 Swedish-set film of the same name). Co-written and helmed by David Midell -- who wrote and directed the 2019 film The Killing Of Kenneth Chamberlain -- the new project is also based on a true story.

Per Variety: "The Ritual follows two priests — one questioning his faith (Stevens) and one reckoning with a troubled past (Pacino) — who must put aside their differences to save a possessed young woman through a difficult and dangerous series of exorcisms. The film is an authentic portrayal of Emma Schmidt, an American woman whose demonic possession culminated in harrowing exorcisms. Her case remains the most thoroughly documented exorcism in American history." The Ritual is expected to debut sometime next year.

Dan Stevens
Los Angeles Premiere Of Universal Pictures "Abigail" - Arrivals / Aliah Anderson/GettyImages

Pacino is one of our greatest actors who continues to play troubled characters to great effect. His recent dramatic and thriller projects include The Irishman, Hangman and Hunters. Meanwhile, Stevens has been on a major upswing lately with appearances in Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire, Abigail, an episode of Guillermo del Toro's Cabinet Of Curiosities called "The Outside" plus a villain turn in the upcoming Cuckoo. The Ritual is expected to debut sometime next year.

It's been an interesting time for exorcism movies. Last year saw the release of both The Exorcist: Believer and The Pope's Exorcist, which starred Crowe. The former made over $136 million at the worldwide box office while the latter took in nearly $77 million, but some grew concerned about the genre's future when Believer director David Gordon Green exited what had been initially announced as a trilogy. These new projects let us know that Hollywood thinks there's still plenty of money left in the demonic coffers.

Next. Discover the story of father Gabriele Amorth in The Pope’s Exorcist. Discover the story of father Gabriele Amorth in The Pope’s Exorcist. dark