Home Movie Earlier than ‘Fleabag,’ ‘The Exorcist’ Gave Us the Authentic Scorching Priest

Earlier than ‘Fleabag,’ ‘The Exorcist’ Gave Us the Authentic Scorching Priest

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Earlier than ‘Fleabag,’ ‘The Exorcist’ Gave Us the Authentic Scorching Priest

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The Huge Image

  • Father Damien Karras in The Exorcist is the unique hottie in priest garb.
  • Jason Miller’s darkish attractiveness, haunted eyes, and compassionate voice captivated director William Friedkin.
  • Karras’s character arc within the movie is certainly one of self-sacrifice and redemption, finally triumphing over evil in a climactic finale.


Earlier than Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge gifted the unworthy folks of this world with the life-altering Scorching Priest (I thank God each day for Andrew Scott), there was The Exorcist. Director William Friedkin‘s meticulous masterpiece of psychological horror hinges upon its characters. The primary 40 minutes represent a personality research and each nightmare-inducing, audience-fainting spectacle that follows solely issues as a result of Friedkin devised an intimate emotional canvas upon which to splatter-paint pea-soup vomit and 160-degree head twists. However inspecting such conscientious craftsmanship is for an additional piece. I exist to sing the praises of 1 Father Damien Karras (Jason Miller), the unique A+ hottie in priest garb and whose legacy deserves to return to the limelight in all its tortured unhappy boy glory. Respect your cinematic elders!

RELATED: ‘The Exorcist: Believer’: Launch Date, Solid, Plot, and The whole lot We Know So Far


A Totally different Actor Nearly Performed Father Karras in ‘The Exorcist’

Jason Miller as Father Karras standing at the subway in The Exorcist
Picture by way of Warner Bros.

It’s a reality universally acknowledged that clergymen all the time deliver sexual pressure even when it’s not explicitly addressed. Sorry, I don’t make the principles; I simply move the info alongside like Moses and the Ten Commandments. Along with his black wardrobe and that unstated celibacy dedication, Karras robotically counts as forbidden fruit. He is probably not “historically handsome” in comparison with the studio-enforced requirements of each fresh-faced Marvel star with rippling muscle tissues, however that is in Karras’s favor. Not solely does he rock weariness to perfection, that indelible sense of getting seen and felt some s**t, however that is a median dude you’d meet in confession and really feel an applicable degree of Catholic guilt about eager to make out with. Bless me, Father, for I’ve sinned by asking if you wish to recreate Fleabag and comfortable up within the confession sales space. This man of the material retains his conducting of liturgical readings attention-grabbing.

If you happen to do not consider me, William Friedkin agreed, albeit in a roundabout manner. Throughout pre-production for The Exorcist, Friedkin and Warner Bros. employed Stacy Keach to play Karras, an skilled Shakespearean theater actor with many stage and display screen awards beneath his belt. Then Friedkin caught a play from debut playwright and actor Jason Miller. “He had an attention-grabbing look,” Friedkin enthused in his autobiography The Friedkin Connection. “I felt some want to fulfill with him.” After studying The Exorcist novel by William Peter Blatty, Miller instructed Friedkin “[Karras] is me.” Regardless of Keach’s casting, Friedkin agreed to a display screen take a look at with Miller on the actor’s insistence. In keeping with Friedkin, “The digicam liked his darkish attractiveness, haunted eyes, quiet depth, and low, compassionate voice. […] The truth that he had a Jesuit training and had studied for the priesthood sealed the deal for me.” Though reluctant to take action, Warner Bros. “paid off” Stacy Keach’s contract to make manner for Miller. “Jason Miller goes to blow up on this half,” Friedkin vowed.

As fashionable audiences know, historical past was made. Miller scored an Academy Award nomination for Finest Supporting Actor for The Exorcist whereas his break-out 1972 play That Championship Season took house each the Drama Pulitzer Prize and the 1973 Tony Award for Finest Play. (Sir, avoid wasting awards for the remainder of us!) Father Damien Karras is not a personality one quickly forgets even amongst a forged of family names that had been former unknowns earlier than The Exorcist induced a cultural firestorm.

Damien Karras in ‘The Exorcist’ Is the Excellent Attractive Unhappy Boy

Jason Miller as Father Karras comforting Ellen Burstyn's Chris MacNeil in The Exorcist
Picture by way of Warner Bros.

Fittingly for the fabric, Damien’s a very good outdated self-tormenting Catholic boy. The Exorcist’s main man is neck-deep in a religious disaster and receives the worst wake-up name in historical past. Mentioned disaster permits the already reserved, soft-spoken Damien to be moody, introverted, and angsty. He is a psychiatrist for the Catholic clergymen at Georgetown College, and he arguably has empathy fatigue: emotional exhaustion from absorbing others’ issues. Damien’s afraid he is misplaced his religion and declares himself “unfit,” asking for a switch to be nearer to his aged mom. Not solely is that this impulse recognizably human for these of a shared or comparable religion, however Karras goes as far as to mope deep into his beer cups. Possibly that existential disaster can prolong to his celibacy vow? Asking for a pal.

Tragically, Karras’s mom (Vasiliki Maliaros) passes away, which leaves him additional incapacitated by drunken, messy grief. He regrets not being by his mom’s aspect when she died, plus the unstated guilt of failing to supply her with a extra comfy life. As a Jesuit, a clerical order explicitly dedicated to acts of selfless service, that ethical defeat should hit additional deep. Damien has nightmares and mourns with a mop of black hair and soulful brown eyes as limitless as a shadow-obscured nicely. Ellen Burstyn‘s Chris MacNeil, who’s encountered Damien in passing, remarks “He’s very intense-looking.” Astute commentary, madame actress. He is a drained boy in want of a hug.

Beneath Karras’s angst is the large mind of a psychiatrist. He is additionally liable to snark when poked; his response to the thought of an exorcism boils right down to “lol, positive, Jan.” Regardless of his disbelief and simmering private trauma, he is form, well mannered, and attentive to the distraught Chris and even lets her cry on his shoulder — admittedly, with the distinct air of “what’s affection.” I is probably not stricken with a demon-possessed youngster, however I might like an order of a horny priest to console me throughout my frequent occasions of hassle.

What’s Hotter Than a Priest Kicking a Demon’s Butt?

Jason Miller as Father Damian Karras in The Exorcist
Picture By way of Warner Bros.

Father Karras’s severity returns with the full-tilt frenzy of a NASCAR driver as soon as he meets the possessed Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair). His interrogation method is rigorously pointed, assessing the state of affairs for flaws and reality alike. As a talented psychological tormenter, Pazuzu (the voices of Mercedes McCambridge and Ron Faber), the demon haunting Regan, proves its existence fairly unequivocally simply to mess with Damien’s head. He is totally out of his depth, and the unhappy pet canine appears to be like intensify. Nonetheless, after feeling shell-shocked and staring into the center distance together with his hand in his rumpled hair, Karras decides he is daring sufficient to bop with the literal satan within the pale moonlight in spite of everything.

Karras regains his religion by a self-sacrificial act in an ideal character arc tied up in a bloody little bow. He is resolved past measure that Regan, a bit woman robbed of her innocence, will not die hopeless, alone, and struggling as his mom did. He will not stand for an additional tragedy he might have prevented. Not feeling misplaced and incompetent, Karras’s righteous rage helps him pull one over on Pazuzu (kick his butt!), tricking the demon into possessing him and leaving Regan free. One would assume any human would immediately lose management over themselves; not Karras. He holds onto his humanity lengthy sufficient to fling himself out Regan’s window to die on these well-known steps, thereby making certain that goodness triumphs over evil. Coronary heart-breaking “no, my child boy!” tragedy apart, it is the end result of his journey and the boiling level of the priestly lust melting pot. Hell, Jason Miller acquired an Oscar nomination. It wasn’t for Sexiest Supporting Actor, however what additional proof do you want?

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