The Pope's Exorcist: Everything We Know So Far About The Russell Crowe Supernatural Thriller

The rite of exorcism has been around for thousands of years and is practiced by a variety of religions. Since 250 AD, a special group of Catholic clergy, known as exorcists, has received special training to evict demons from people. Prior to the 1970s, opinions on the practice landed somewhere between faith and superstition, depending on one's world view and religion. But that was before it became the subject of a major Hollywood film.

In 1973, William Friedkin's film "The Exorcist" blended the rite of exorcism with green pea soup and a levitating 12-year-old, and it shook audiences to their core. The graphic images of a possessed, mutilated pre-teen with a sailor's vocabulary even caused some moviegoers to faint in the theaters. The film was a massive box office success, and the spiritual rite of exorcism remains a favored trope of Hollywood horror films ever since.

Now, 50 years after the release of Friedkin's genre-defining movie, Russell Crowe will step into the divine shoes of a real-life exorcist in the upcoming film, "The Pope's Exorcist."

The cast and crew of The Pope's Exorcist

As announced by The Hollywood Reporter, Julius Avery, director of 2018's action/horror film "Overlord," will helm the project. There is no release date for the film and the casting of Oscar winner Russell Crowe has only just been announced. In a released statement, Avery expressed excitement about working with Crowe on the upcoming Screen Gems movie:

"It's been a goal of mine to work with Russell. To collaborate with him on the amazing 'Pope's Exorcist' is truly a dream come true."

So far, Crowe, who portrays Zeus in the upcoming Marvel Studios Film "Thor: Love and Thunder," is the only actor linked to the project. 

The script is written by Chester Hastings and R. Dean McCreary, the screenwriters of 2018's "Fanboy," and Evan Spiliotopoulos, who wrote 2017's "Beauty and the Beast" remake. It's being produced by Doug Belgrad via 2.0 Entertainment, Michael Patrick Kaczmarek through Jesus & Mary, Eddie Siebert of Loyola Productions, and Jeff Katz via Worldwide Katz.

Production will begin in Ireland in September 2022. 

What The Pope's exorcist will be about

Crowe will portray the Vatican's chief exorcist, Father Gabriele Amorth, who claimed to have performed over 100,000 exorcisms in his lifetime. Amorth served in World War II and worked as a lawyer prior to becoming a priest in 1954 and an exorcist in 1986. 

During his time as the Vatican's exorcist, Father Amorth wrote two books, An Exorcist Tells His Story and An Exorcist: More Stories, which detail his experiences expelling demons from the possessed. Prior to his death in 2016, the priest was also the subject of "The Devil and Father Amorth," a 2017 documentary from "The Exorcist" director William Friedkin. Screen Gems owns the rights to Father Amorth's life story and both of his memoirs, which the film is based on. 

In his book, "An Exorcist Tells His Story," Amorth provides the perfect teaser for his life story: 

"If I were to tell of the bizarre, unbelievable facts that I have witnessed, I could go on forever."

"The Pope's Exorcist" is currently in development, so it'll be a little while before we get to see just how bizarre the life of this exorcist really was. We'll keep you posted as more information about the film is revealed.