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Exclusive: Martha Marcy May Marlene Director Preps Exorcist for TV

What an excellent day for an exorcism! Nearly 40 years after The Exorcist became the first horror movie ever to be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, Hollywood has again become possessed with William Peter Blatty’s best seller.

Sean Durkin, the writer-director of last year’s excellent but criminally underseen Elizabeth Olsen thriller Martha Marcy May Marlene, is adapting the fiendish classic into a ten-episode television series, this time backed by Morgan Creek and produced by Roy Lee, the executive producer of films like The Departed and The Ring.

Unlike the iconic 1973 film, Durkin’s version of The Exorcist follows the events leading up to a demonic possession and especially the after-effects of how a family copes with it: In short, not well (really, after you start seeing stuff like this, can you blame them?), and when medical and psychiatric explanations fail, the desperate family turns to the church, with Father Damien Karras finally brought in to attempt the exorcism.

The Exorcist TV series won’t be formally shopped to networks for another two weeks, but executives are already calling seeking meetings to inquire about landing the Durkin update.

Meanwhile, Transformers and Real Steel producer Don Murphy and Susan Montford’s Angryfilms are developing their own TV series that deals with the eviction of unwanted demons, The Exorcist Handbook. “This is an original series, not another remake,” said Murphy, in an interview with Vulture. “It’s all about the main character, who [only] became an exorcist to help the woman he loves. It’s going to be intense and scary.”

Murphy did his undergraduate work at Georgetown University and, accordingly, his Handbook has hired on a Jesuit priest who is an actual exorcist as a consultant. Take that, unclean spirits!

Martha Marcy May Director Preps Exorcist for TV