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The Exorcist Turns Heads On Stage In LA
There was a best-selling book, then a movie which was a box office hit and now The Exorcist has been turned into a stage show.
For many, the 1971 William Peter Blatty novel, about a girl who may be possessed by Satan, the girl's distraught mother and the two priests charged to save the day, was overshadowed by the film it inspired two years later.
With a director in his prime, William Friedkin, a classy cast and screenplay along with landmark special effects - including a scene where girl's head turns 360 degrees - the movie continues to be widely considered among the finest and scariest thrillers ever made.
While the film provides powerful visceral thrills, the stage adaptation ignores the movie and reaches back to the novel with much discussion of psychology, faith and love.
"We're not going to throw up all over the audience," noted actor Richard Chamberlain, with a laugh while on a break during technical rehearsals at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles.
Chamberlain plays the priest in The Exorcist theatre production and actress Brooke Shields plays the mother.
The show's director, John Doyle, is used to reworking stories for the theatre which are vividly remembered by fans. His credits include two of Stephen Sondheim's most enduring works Sweeney Todd and Company.
"You're always going to get audience members who are wanting to get what they first saw," Doyle said of Exorcist film fans.
"My job is to tell the story as if it's never been told before."