Go Inside The Making of “The Pope’s Exorcist”

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

    “ It’s further than an exorcism; it’s a conspiracy. ”

    So says director Julius Avery about The Pope’s Exorcist, the intimidating new horror suspenser opening

    in playhouses April 19. “ There’s commodity much bigger going on. The stakes are massive, ” To give the followership the feeling of how big the stakes are, Avery shot the film in larger– than- life transnational locales that reflected everything the characters uncover. “ We shot on position in Rome. We shot in Ireland. We set up amazingold armature, where we erected some of the biggest sets I ’ve been involved in, ” he adds.

    Building an abbey in Ireland

    Central to those is the abbey. In the film, Vatican’s chief exorcist Father Gabriel Amorth (played by Russell Crowe) has to cast out the demonic possession of a young boy named Henry (Peter DeSouza-Feighoney), whose family had just moved to an old and abandoned abbey in Spain, as a fresh start and a new project for his recently widowed mom Julia (Alex Essoe).

    Director Avery specifically wanted a Northern European gothic terrain – slatecold, and foreboding – and they decided to look for locales in Ireland. Following an expansive hunt around the country, they settled upon an abandoned castle in Limerick. “ It was a gothic type erecting structuredeep in the forestland. It offered us an elevated point, a clear skyline behind us, and an approach road, ” explains position director Eoin Holohan. The design platoon dressed the grounds with dead foliage and erected an surface entrance gate and a abbey.

    The filmmakers captured the innards ofSt. Sebastian Abbey on stages in Ardmore Workrooms outside Dublin, Ireland. “ We created a compound set of what a Spanish monastery might have looked like, and erected a huge set with multiple bedrooms, a giant hall, a bunch of hallwaysvault and tabernacle, all to produce the reality of the terrain, ” recalls patron Doug Belgrad.

    Henry’s bedroom, site of the demonic possession, was a crucial set at Ardmore Studios. This space incorporated a vaulted ceiling, a large window (which matched the exterior of the castle), and a mirror. “The room has the shadows of its former life as an abbey,” explains production designer Alan Gilmore. “There are religious symbols on the windows, a gothic arched vault; architecture from a bygone era, 400 years ago. In the movie, poor Henry gets possessed and a horrible transformation happens to him in his bed.”

    Designing for the Devil

    Duringpre- product for The Pope’s Exorcist, director Avery and director of photography Khalid Mohtaseb mooted the film’s visual languagetonecolor scheme, and style. He and product inventor Gilmore pulled together photography references and used mood boards to craft a muted world where colors are quashed and serene.

    Costume inventor Lorna Mugan helped achieve this aesthetic. “ Color plays a huge part in the Catholic Church, ” she explains. “ From the humble dark of priests, which represents poverty and simplicity, to the Pope in pure innocent white. In between, cardinals wear blood– red to represent slipping their blood or sacrifice for Christ. Their purple comes from the old notion of majesty. ”

    The characters were enhanced not only with their apparel, but with prosthetics. From the morning

    of his involvement with the designdirector Avery didn’t want to calculate heavily on CGI. “ The deep horror suckers and cult can smell commodity fake. They know it from a afar down when it’s not real, ” says patron Michael Patrick Kaczmarek. “It was important to make these effects grounded in reality.”

    Practical Goods and prosthetics needed DeSouza- Feighoney to spend three hours in the makeup presidentgiving the youthful actor a crooked nose, a prosthetic forepart with no eyebrows, and a jaw fused to his neck. “ I also had an evil grin prosthetic, which made me look constantly smiling, ” he recalls. “ I loved getting the prosthetics done, because the finished product was really cool. ”

    About The Pope’s Exorcist

    Inspired by the actual files of Father Gabriele Amorth, Chief Exorcist of the Vatican (Academy Award®-winner Russell Crowe), The Pope’s Exorcist follows Amorth as he investigates a young boy’s terrifying possession and ends up uncovering a centuries-old conspiracy the Vatican has desperately tried to keep hidden.

    The film is directed by Julius Avery, screenplay by Michael Petroni and Evan Spiliotopoulos, screen story by Michael Petroni and R. Dean McCreary & Chester Hastings, based on the books “An Exorcist Tells His Story” and “An Exorcist: More Stories” by Fr. Gabriele Amorth.

    The cast is led by Russell Crowe, Daniel Zovatto, Alex Essoe and Franco Nero.