David Gordon Green was hoping “The Exorcist” director William Friedkin would live to see “The Exorcist: Believer.”

Friedkin, who died in August 2023 at age 87, helmed the original “Exorcist” film in 1973, which earned Best Picture and Best Director Oscar nominations. Green is directing a new “Exorcist” trilogy for Blumhouse and Universal Pictures; the first installment, “The Exorcist: Believer,” marks original actress Ellen Burstyn’s return to the franchise 50 years later. (It’s also received terrible reviews.)

Green told the Academy of Motion Picture Arts’ A.Frame that while he “never communicated” with Friedkin, he was “curious” what the legendary filmmaker would think of “Believer.”

“I would’ve loved that,” Green said of watching the film with Friedkin. “I was looking forward to showing him the film because I never communicated with him. My understanding was that he didn’t want involvement in the film production, but he would give us his thoughts after the movie.”

Green continued, “I was very curious to see what he would think, because I know he has been very critical and was very outspoken, but he was also a brilliant man. He didn’t have to love my movie, but I could learn from him, because he made many of my favorite movies. Like everyone, I was saddened at his passing, and I’m excited for his new film [‘The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial’] coming out. Everybody has to acknowledge that so many of the movies he made are monumental and will live forever and influence filmmakers like myself for years to come.”

Green called “The Exorcist” a “landmark film” that changed the horror genre forever.

“It’s a movie of unnerving drama or, as ‘The Exorcist”s director William Friedkin called it, a theological thriller,” Green said. “You see many horror movie gimmicks come and go and have their trends and fashions, but ‘The Exorcist’ feels so grounded. It feels like it is on earth. It’s very observational and clinical. It could happen. In many ways, the documentary approach to it inspired us in our path, and I think there’s great value in that timelessness.”

Late filmmaker Friedkin told IndieWire in 2018 that “The Exorcist,” adapted from William Peter Blatty’s novel of the same name, was a film questioning faith as opposed to a classic horror take.

“People call it a horror film. Blatty and I never spoke about a horror film,” Friedkin said. “We made a film about the mystery of faith, which was his concept, his idea, his belief system.”

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