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'The Pope's Exorcist' director Julius Avery just wants to see gladiators take on the devil

Julius Avery’s bucket list is getting a little short right now.

Australian director behind

The Pope’s Exorcist since he first saw the actor in Romper Breakthrough performance in Stomper (Father Esquibel (Daniel Zovatto) and Father Gabriele Amorth (Russell Crowe) in Screen Gems’ THE POPE’S EXORCIST.). The Australian drama earned Crowe the attention of Hollywood, and he has since embarked on a storied career, including Ridley Scott’s Gladiator (1000).

Crowe’s latest role as Father Gabriele Amorth in Avery’s The Pope’s Exorcist is based on the memoirs of the real Father Amorth Adapted from , the memoir chronicles his time as the Vatican’s chief exorcist. But like James Wan ‘s The Conjuring series, Avery simply uses real life as a starting point to paint his genre-enhancing film about a young boy’s possessions.

Avery, perhaps best known as the director of Bad Robot’s World War II action horror Overlord (2001),right The conventions of the exorcism movie were less interested, opting instead to see Amorth as more of a superpowered demon hunter.

“If you’re here to see a serious biopic, you’ll walk away disappointed. That’s never the movie’s intent, it could be with Indiana Jones is better than the original The Exorcist better,” Avery told The Hollywood Reporter.

Avery added: “Russell will hate me for saying that, but who wouldn’t want to see a gladiator fight a devil?”

Below, in a recent conversation with THR, Avery also discusses his concerns about returning to Interest in the Overlord world .

Excellent, I know Russell may not technically be an Australian citizen, but as an Australian, directing him has always been a wish list item for you?

Yes, since he was in Romper Stomper I’ve been following Russell as a terrific powerhouse since playing Hando in . He has a raw charisma that really pulls you in, and he’s a terrific storyteller both on and off screen. He can always make up a great story or pull out a guitar, and he just loves to tell stories. When he does, he gets really excited, and I want to dig out this real warmth and warmth for him in real life in Pope’s Exorcist generous. He plays the role of Father Amos, who is a very interesting guy in real life. He deals with demons and devils with a lot of humor, and one of his favorite lines is “the devil doesn’t like jokes.” So Russell really wanted to embody the spirit of Father Amos, even though it’s not a serious biopic or documentary at all. He’s still trying to really get himself into that real-life character, and I think that really comes through on screen. Russell is known for being a no-nonsense actor, so seeing a funnier, lovable and warmer side of him is something I think people will love.

Father Gabriel Amos (Russell Crowe) in Screen Gems’ The Pope’s Excorcist. Depend on Courtesy of Sony Pictures

Did the real Father Amos rock the Vespa in the same iconic fashion as Russell’s Father Amos?

(laughs.) He is from Rome, so He most likely has a scooter. But I have to correct you because it’s a Lambretta, not a Vespa. Russell really wanted to drop some Easter eggs for the real people. Father Amorth is from the town of Modena, where they built Ferraris, so he’s wearing Ferrari socks and a Ferrari sticker on the Lambretta. He wanted to base his show on real life, because at the end of the day, there’s a lot of fantasy and poetry in movies. So he just wants to keep his feet on the ground and embody the spirit of Father Amos.

So you joined the movement in a way when this movie was already out. Did you end up reimagining the whole movie?

I received the script but haven’t read it in ages because I think the exorcist genre is dead. But I started reading it, and the more I read, the more I liked the character of Father Amos. He felt like Dirty Harry and Columbus, the real hooligans of the church. He’s just this flawed character that I love. He can pooh-pooh the church’s new ways, but he’s also a super-faithful servant of God whose faith is beyond doubt. So I just love the contradiction, but again, I never saw it as a serious biopic. This is more like what James Wan did with The Conjuring. It uses real people as launch pads for even more fantastic things. In a way I see Father Amorth as a badass witcher superhero and Father Esquibel [Daniel Zovatto] as his training partner in this Da Vinci Code middle world.

So when I’m brought up, I tend to lean towards the pulpier side of things. I love smashing the real thing with the bombastic, crazy stuff, I probably started with Overlord. For better or worse, I love how it subverts people’s expectations. But if you’re here for a serious biopic, you’ll come away very disappointed. That’s never the intent of the movie, it’s probably more like Indiana Jones than the original

Exorcist . I’m not a huge fan of exorcism movies by any means. I saw parts of the original Exorcist on TV, but I remember watching Exorcist III Was on videotape as a kid and loved it. It has more over the top action and fantasy elements than the original.

Believe in ghosts or not, believe in ghosts or not, [The Pope’s Exorcist] is a real job and really interesting. There is actually one guy in the Vatican who is the chief exorcist. When I read the title of The Pope’s Exorcist, I was like, “Some writer in Hollywood came up with this.” So I’m real about it Sex was pretty shocking, but I’m not sure how much I believe all that stuff. I do find it interesting that scientists can explain 199% of the cases, but another 2% they can’t explain. We explored this in the movie when Father Amorth explained the 2% of confusing science. But if the 2% property is real, it’s scary. I also enjoyed watching the battle between the two apex predators, Father Amos and the Devil, which was fun in the original script. Russell will hate me for saying that, but who wouldn’t want to see a gladiator fight a devil? ( Laughter .)

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

Father Gabriele Amorth (Russell Crowe) in Screen Gems The Pope’s Exorcist . Provided by Sony Pictures

Isn’t the casting process pretty fluid because you have to watch tons of tapes of actors playing demonic possession?

Yes, Peter [DeSouza-Feighoney] who plays Henry is possessed by a demon, he just . I want the kids to be young, because demons tend to attack the more vulnerable. At that age, actors are usually not trained in a certain way. They’re just very primitive, with a lot of natural instincts. So we see a bunch of kids, but Peter just stands out as a naturally beautiful kid. And when he turned into a demon, it was simply terrifying. Most disturbing is watching Peter transform into a demon. Not only was it scary for me, it was scary for the rest of the cast and crew as well. So we translated some of that into the film, but right there on set, it was horrific.

Ralph Ineson has the best voice in Hollywood right now. He is his own special effects. That said, he probably won’t be able to read it on set, so will the actors be playing their best demon voices back in the day?

So our intention was always to pick someone to play the demon voice, we needed someone who felt old and had a husky voice . Mixing that with Henry’s innocent face is funny and scary. Ralph was someone I had known for a while, and he was immediately attracted to me. So I went to London for five days and we recorded his voice. Peter laid all the groundwork, and he did a fantastic job, but Ralph was the ancient evil we needed.

What did you learn about your film during the test screening?

The nice thing about test screenings is that people don’t really know what they’re walking into, so they’re able to have an original experience. So it’s nice to know what’s working and what’s not, and we’ve handled things neatly. But what really got me excited was how well Russell responded. Everyone loves the character of Father Amos. So it was exciting to learn that the story of Father Amos was happening.

Mathilde Ollivier & Jovan Adepo in Overlord ) Provided by Paramount Pictures


is my past ten years One of my favorite genres. Did the sequel talk go very far?

I’ve always liked movies where life and death stand alone, but this is a cool universe. D-Day was the start of the Allied forces teaming up to fight the evil Nazis, and the idea was just a cool launching pad. In this world, if those guys went to other parts of Europe, I’m sure they would find more dark and evil things to take down. Hopefully that feeling is always there in people’s minds and they’re building and exploring that feeling in their minds. But I’d love to explore something like that in future films, or if there’s a sequel or prequel. But it’s a really cool universe and world.

Father Esquibel (Daniel Zovatto) and Father Gabriel Amos (Russell Crowe ) in Pope’s Exorcist .

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

The ending The Pope’s Exorcist also teases the potential for more stories. Is the franchise a set goal, or are you just trying to leave something to the audience’s imagination?

As I mentioned, I saw Father Amorth play this badass witcher superhero with his partner, Father Esquibel, Personally, I’d love to see more of them together. In the movie we set 200 God’s evil place is not welcome, so there is 125 More movies to watch. ( LOL

.) That would be fun. It was also fun to see Russell driving his Lambretta again, with Father Esquibel sitting beside him on a Vespa. (laughter.)

2023 The Pope’s Exorcist is now in theaters. This interview has been edited for length and clarity




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