Overlord helmer Julius Avery has signed on to direct Screen Gems’ horror movie The Pope’s Exorcist, an individual with knowledge of the project has told Above the Line. Avery replaces Ángel Gómez, who was attached back in October 2020.
The Pope’s Exorcist is based on the exploits of Father Gabriele Amorth, a legendary Italian priest who was the Chief Exorcist of the Vatican and performed over 100,000 exorcisms for the Church.
While Chester Hastings and R. Dean McCreary were the credited writers back when Gómez was attached, it appears that the latest draft of the screenplay hails from Michael Petroni and Evan Spiliotopoulos.
Doug Belgrad will produce alongside Michael Patrick Kaczmarek, Jeff Katz, and Eddie Siebert, while Sophie Cassidy will serve as an executive producer on the project, which is expected to start filming in early August in Dublin, Ireland.
Father Amorth died in 2016 and left behind detailed accounts of his exorcism work, though he said that relatively few cases qualified as true demonic possession. Screen Gems acquired his life rights as well as his bestselling memoirs, An Exorcist Tells His Story and An Exorcist: More Stories, while The Exorcist director William Friedkin told his story in the 2017 documentary The Devil and Father Amorth.
Avery made his directorial debut with the 2014 crime drama Son of a Gun starring Ewan McGregor, though he’s best known as the director of the J.J. Abrams-produced horror movie Overlord starring Wyatt Russell and Jovan Adepo. Up next is the Sylvester Stallone-led superhero movie Samaritan, which is slated for release later this summer. He’s represented by CAA, Brillstein Entertainment Partners, and Marshalls & Dent.