Of course, we all know and stand in eternal gratitude of Jamie Lee Curtis for her iconic performance as Laurie Strode in the much-loved Halloween films. But did you know that Curtis once brushed arms with playing the heroine in another major horror production as well?
Curtis has been quoted as recounting, “When I was 13 years old, [a producer] called my mother and said, ‘Will you let Jamie audition for a movie?… My mother said, ‘No’. The movie was The Exorcist…” (source) Yeah, that one. Oh, and did I mention that Janet Leigh, Curtis’ mother, just so happens to be Marion Crane in Psycho from 1960?
Horror runs in the family.
In light of Hollywood: Universal Picture’s recent decision to purchase a reinvented “Exorcist” trilogy, Curtis has expressed interest in voicing the character of the Devil herself.
Mercedes McCambridge was the original voice behind Pazuzu in Friedkin’s The Exorcist (1973), a film that has since become something akin to a sacred piece within the annals of cinema(tic horror). Orson Welles was even known to refer to McCambridge as “the world’s greatest living radio actress” (source), prior to her unnerving demonic performance for the ages.
McCambridge devoted herself body and soul to her performance as Regan MacNeil’s less-than-holy inhabitant, even physically restraining herself to mimic the character’s bodily state while delivering lines and breaking her sobriety in order to perform in a manner that felt true to her character’s state of being. Not to mention the lengths she went to in order to evoke that chilling voice, including but not limited to gargling raw eggs and chainsmoking for the gravelly and ravaged effect we know so well. No wonder that voice and character have remained scarred upon our collective memory all these years, with The Exorcist being regarded as a film practically “sacrosanct” (source) in its molding of Film and Horror as we have come to know it.
Given David Gordon Green’s attachment as director and screenwriter to the blooming Trilogy, the possibility of yet another collaboration with Curtis doesn’t seem at all far-fetched.
Furthermore, despite the Trilogy’s having rather intimidatingly large shoes to fill, the new films will not aim to serve as remakes of the original but a sort of continuation within the present. Ellen Burstyn, who played the mother of possessed Regan in The Exorcist will return to her character alongside Hamilton’s Leslie Odom Jr. in the new films, on his character’s journey to help his son who suffers from an affliction, not at all unlike the one Ms. Burstyn’s character knows all too well.
David Gordon Green, a driving force behind the wildly successful Halloween films, has since come forward in praise of Jamie Lee Curtis’ voice-acting abilities and has openly entertained the idea of her auditioning to be the voice of his new take on cinema’s infamous devil.
The role would be a full circle of sorts for Curtis if brought to fruition, given her connection to the original film.
Nevertheless, we are eagerly awaiting the “Exorcist” Trilogy yet to come. The first film is expected to come to theaters in 2023.
“If David gives me a part in the new ‘Exorcist’ trilogy as the voice of the devil, that would blow people’s minds,” Curtis has been quoted as saying in an interview. (source)