Halloween is almost upon us. What better time to plunge into a world of demon possession, exorcisms and the unsettling feeling that something very freaky is taking place?
That’s what “The Rite” is dialing up for audiences come January 28, and MTV News has an exclusive look at the production with a photo of stars Anthony Hopkins and Colin O’Donoghue exorcising a supernatural force.
Yet this is a film that takes a rather agnostic stance on the entire concept, as O’Donoghue told us. “It’s more of a psychological drama, more so than horror,” he said. “The point of the film is to explore the idea of whether it’s a psychological illness or a true possession, trying to take as unbiased a position as possible.
“There are some moments that will make you jump,” he added. “People are bound to be a little freaked out by it.”
The 29-year-old Ireland native, who plays a seminary student thrust into the world of the Vatican’s exorcism school, is playing his highest-profile role to date. And when O’Donoghue found out he’d be going toe-to-toe with Hopkins — who plays a Roman Catholic priest with rather atypical methods — he was more than a little unsettled.
“To be honest, I freaked out a little bit,” he laughed.
Yet O’Donoghue said that Hopkins immediately made him feel comfortable. “He mentored me when I was struggling to get where I wanted to be in the scene,” O’Donoghue said. “He was really patient and we’d run lines together. He’d say, ’At the end of the day, sometimes you just have to let it go and the scene will actually work.’ ”
The actor also attended actual exorcisms with the assistance of Matt Baglio, who wrote the book on which the movie is based. “The idea of going to them was more frightening than actually being in them,” O’Donoghue said. “[Matt] had been to the exorcism school and he knew some exorcists who were willing to let me in, as long as it was okay with the people who were being blessed. Some people were and one woman wasn’t and she wanted to close the door. It’s a different experience than you expect it to be. It’s like going to a therapist. It was fascinating to watch.”
Check out everything we’ve got on “The Rite.”
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