August 22, 2011 6:07pm PT by Daniel Miller
'Last Exorcism' Sequel in the Works with Writer Damien Chazelle (Exclusive)
The producers of The Last Exorcism are moving ahead with a sequel, tapping writer Damien Chazelle to write the follow-up to the surprise summer 2010 hit.
The PG-13 Exorcism, from production company Strike Entertainment (Children of Men) and directed by Daniel Stamm, grossed $62.5 million worldwide on a budget of $1.6 million. The found-footage Lionsgate release was written by Andrew Gurland and Huck Botko. A sequel was probably a given considering the profitability of the first film.
Studio Canal is financing the follow-up and production is slated to begin this fall.
Exorcism centered on an Evangelical preacher, played by Patrick Fabian, who, after years of performing exorcisms, decides to allow a documentary crew to film the last exorcism he plans to perform, in order to show his work is a fraud.
Chazelle has been busy as of late: the writer-director has also sold Grand Piano, a thriller spec, to Adrian Guerra. Guerra produced Buried, the 2010 Ryan Reynolds-starring thriller. Eugenio Mira -- who helmed the Spanish romantic thriller Agnosia -- is attached to direct Piano, described as a Hitchcockian thriller about a classical pianist.
Chazelle, 25, turned his Harvard University senior thesis -- a musical entitled Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench -- into a feature that debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2009. The film, which was directed by Chazelle, was released in November by Variance Films.
Chazelle's first spec script, The Claim, was acquired by Route One in October. The thriller, which was featured on the 2010 Black List, centers on a single father in search of his kidnapped daughter; he must contend with a couple who claims the child is their daughter.
Chazelle is represented by Gersh; he is managed by Gary Ungar and Tyler Ruggeri of Exile Entertainment and his attorney is Don Steele of Hansen Jacobson Teller Hoberman Newman Warren & Richman LLP.