One of the most anticipated premieres of the fall season is The Exorcist, set in the same universe as the original movie, and premiering September 23 on FOX.
We were fortunate to sit down with some of the cast at San Diego Comic Con to discuss the upcoming show, how they’re handling the pressure of being attached to a cult classic film, their favorite horror films and shows, and if anything weird has happened on set yet!
Brianne Howey plays Katherine Rance, the oldest sister and a ballet dancer at Juilliard. When audiences meet her, she gets into a car accident that ends her dreams, forcing her to return home. Hannah Kasulka plays her younger sister, whom she describes as something of a wallflower and tomboy.
Initially, Kasulka found it silly at first, but stressed that for scary things you just have to go there. Getting into character with crew lingering around and daylight shining outside was one of the more challenging aspects for her. Howey stressed that they had a great team to help get them there. Between the set designer, the set pieces, and the crew, it was a giant collaborative effort.
They were able to make a believable family connection because they hit it off almost immediately, spending a lot of time together. Geena Davis was actually cast after them, but they were both thrilled to work with her. Kasulka was nervous going into filming, but she found it to be a dream come true and is trying to learn as much as possible. Howey feels the same, and specifically mentions a dining room scene with all of them together as being very fun to shoot.
The two promise that the story moves very quickly and it’s really all bets are off for anyone to be possessed. When asked about demonic possession, Kasulka shared that, while she was raised Christian in the bible belt of Georgia, in her researching of the role, she has a hard time finding old transcripts of possessions to be faked.
Howey stressed that the show is really inspired by the movie, set in the same universe, and the narrative changes. She thinks the choice to focus on the present day Catholic church is an interesting story-telling choice for the show. Even so, Kasulka promises that classic horror fans will still see the classic staircase and hear the music from the original movie in the show.
While neither had experienced anything weird or supernatural on set, they shared that the hotel liked to randomly take them up to the thirteenth floor without anyone pushing the button for that floor. And then they’d get stuck! Even more impressive, neither woman was particularly rattled by this turn of events, sharing that they’d just text each other casually about being stuck in the elevator on the thirteenth floor again.
We also spoke with Alfonso Herrera and Ben Daniels, who play two very different priests who find themselves working together. Without giving away any spoilers, Herrera tried to explain the relationship between the two priests, even as he’s still making up theories and questioning things himself. They find themselves on the same mission even as they found different paths to the light. Daniels teases that they don’t particularly like each other and with each new episode, new facets of how they work together will be revealed.
Alfonso Herrera was also able to speak about transitioning to American television. He feels lucky to be working and doing what he loves, and while he admitted it is easier to act in his native tongue, Spanish, he does his best. Daniels chimed in to say that Herrera does brilliantly, often rolling with script changes at the last moment and absolutely nailing it.
Creatively, Daniels was able to help craft his character to an astonishing degree. When he got the script, it was originally intended for a 30 year old American and he didn’t even want to read it because he loved the original Exorcist so much and thought the show was a remake. When he did finally get around to reading it, he loved it and was allowed to have huge input into the character. He was able to develop a backstory – giving Father Marcus the same hometown as him – and even pick some of the music, which is unheard of in shows.
His passion for horror shone through as he listed off his top five favorite movies to return to: The Exorcist, The Birds, The Evil Dead, Jaws, and Alien. Both he and Herrera felt the responsibility of doing justice to such an iconic movie. Herrera hopes that they’ll deliver something fans will enjoy and Daniels thinks they’ve put their own stamp on it. He sees how grounded, three-dimensional horror is making a comeback and promises that the show treats everything with the same seriousness as the movie.
If you haven’t seen the trailer yet, scroll back up and watch it because it gave us chills! Between the trailer and talking with such a passionate, excited cast, we can’t help but be hopeful for this show!
The Exorcist premieres September 23 on FOX at 9 PM.