THR reports that Russell Crowe is set to star in The Pope’s Exorcist, a supernatural thriller that Julius Avery, the helmer behind the 2018 horror movie Overlord, will direct for Screen Gems.
Crowe will portray real-life figure Father Gabriele Amorth, a priest who acted as chief exorcist of the Vatican and who performed more than 100,000 exorcisms in his lifetime. (He passed away in 2016 at the age of 91.) Amorth wrote two memoirs — An Exorcist Tells His Story and An Exorcist: More Stories — and detailed his experiences battling demons that had clutched people in their evil.
Screen Gems previously acquired the life rights to the chief exorcist from Michael Patrick Kaczmarek and faith-based media company Loyola Productions; the deal included rights to Amorth’s two international best-selling tomes. Amorth also left behind other troves of detailed accounts of his exploits of pulling the devil out of people all over the world.
Producing are Doug Belgrad via his 2.0 Entertainment as well as Kaczmarek, who produces via his shingle, Jesus & Mary, Loyola president Eddie Siebert and Jeff Katz of Worldwide Katz.
A September start of production in Ireland is being planned.