TV series The Exorcist in the making in Slovakia
- The upcoming supernatural crime series will mix the “war on evil” with domestic lore
Domestic folklore and mythology have been rich sources of inspiration for new Slovakian projects of late. In addition to feature projects in development such as Mother of the Night (read the news) and Leshy (read the news), such ancient tales — in particular the legends and lore pertaining to the cultural and historical heritage of Slovakia and the Czech Republic — will also be woven into the narrative of upcoming series The Exorcist. The first episode will tackle the same mystery that was the subject of Peter Bebjak’s The Rift [+see also:
film profile], a small and big screen adaptation of the book of the same name, whose theatrical version set a new record in domestic box-office for an opening-weekend in 2018 (read the news). After The Slavs, an ambitious project combining history and mythology (read the news) and the most expensive Slovakian TV series to date, The Exorcist looks to be another high profile small-screen offering, made in co-production with the Czech Republic.
The supernatural crime series will follow Tomáš Lang, a demon-hunter, and Alice, the daughter of a man wrongfully sentenced to death. “Alice will attempt to avenger her father’s suffering, but will become a victim of a dark power herself. However, this ‘contagion’ will also give her the ability to see through the eyes of evil and to fight on the side of goodness, risking her life,” reveals the synopsis. The structure resembles that of The X-Files, as each of the currently commissioned 8 episodes will deal with a different crime of a paranormal nature, while the two leading characters will share a longer story arc, that of their “war against evil” and their “emotionally complicated relationship”.
The series is penned by Petr Hudský, who wrote The Labyrinth, a Czech television crime series about the hunt for a sadistic murder inspired by Hieronymus Bosch’s The Last Judgement; and by David Ziegelbauer, who co-wrote the Czech version of the British workplace cringe sitcom, The Office. The Labyrinth’s director Jiří Strach, who worked on all three seasons, is set to direct the series alongside another Czech director, Vít Karas. Both have previously worked on feature projects and The Exorcist is supposed to be shot in a more cinematic style. “As trauma disrupts and changes the direction of human life, as crime disrupts reality and as irrationality transcends the world of our series, we will also disrupt the rules of cinema regarding the reproduction of reality to perturb the viewer who will have to cooperate in order to get an answer on what is real,” reveals Strach in the director’s note.
Slovakian production outfit Trigon Production will produce the series, with Slovakian commercial channel TV Joj and Czech public broadcaster Czech Television co-producing. Lately, TV Joj has been working on television projects which differ from the usual domestic fare, such as The Slavs and 8 Hours, a combination of political thriller, hostage drama and documentary. Czech Television touts a considerable track record of small screen offerings, such as popular crime miniseries The Case of the Exorcist ( part of the cycle Detectives from the Holy Trinity) and “quality TV” projects such as Blue Shadows (also part of the television cycle Detectives from the Holy Trinity) which was directed by producer and director Viktor Tauš. Trigon Production managed to license its previous television project, Inspector Max, to North America (read the news) and has similar ambitions for The Exorcist. Principal photography is expected to last until December 2020 with approximately 96 shooting days. The show is set to premiere on TV Joj in September 2021, followed by the broadcast on Czech Television.
The Exorcist is produced by Patrik Pašš of Trigon Production and co-produced by Slovenská produkčná (TV Joj) and the Czech public broadcaster, Czech Television. The Slovakian Audiovisual Fund supported the development and the production of the miniseries.
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