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Ellen Burstyn Agreed to Star in ‘The Exorcist’ Sequel to Fund Scholarship Program for Actors

The sequel is set to come out on the 50th anniversary of the original film's release.

Ellen Burstyn

Ellen Burstyn

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David Gordon Green’s upcoming sequel to “The Exorcist” got off to a promising start when Ellen Burstyn signed on to reprise her Oscar-nominated role as Chris MacNeil in 2021. The Oscar and Tony winner had never shown much interest in revisiting her character from the film despite being approached multiple times in the past. But this time, everything fell into place. In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Burstyn revealed why she finally agreed to make another “Exorcist” movie and praised David Gordon Green’s approach to the film.

“You know, what happened was I’ve turned down many versions of ‘The Exorcist 2.’ I’ve said no every time,” Burstyn said. “This time they offered me a whole bunch of money and I still said no. And then they surprised me and they came back and said, ‘We doubled the offer.’ I said, ‘OK, let me think about this.’ I thought, ‘That’s a lot of money. Let me think about it.’ The next thought that came to mind was: ‘I feel like the devil is asking my price.'”

As cynical as it felt to consider revisiting an iconic role for the money, Burstyn soon realized that she could use the lucrative opportunity to do something good for the world.

“The next thought that came to mind was, ‘My price is a scholarship program for talented students at our master’s degree program at Pace University. That’s my price.’ So I then went back and upped their up and ended up getting what I want. And I’ve got a scholarship program for young actors.”

Burstyn may have taken on the project for financial reasons, but that doesn’t mean she’s unhappy with the film itself.

“I’ve shot most of the picture,” she said. “The writer-director, David Gordon Green, I like very much. I met with him and we talked about the script and so forth, and I promised him four more days if he needed them. And he’s edited the film and he wants the four days, so I’m going back in November to shoot four more days. And it’ll come out in 2024, on the 50th anniversary of ‘The Exorcist,’ the original.”

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