The power of Aunt Lydia compels Ann Dowd to join 'The Exorcist' triology

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The new Exorcist film trilogy from Universal Pictures has possessed another actor to join its ranks. According to Deadline, Emmy Award-winner Ann Dowd has joined the cast of the reinvented franchise, which will also star Leslie Odom Jr. (Hamilton) and see Ellen Burstyn returning as Chris MacNeil, her character from the original film.

If you watch The Handmaid’s Tale, Dowd will be a familiar face — she plays the terrifying Aunt Lydia on the dystopian Hulu series, and will be reprising that role in the Handmaid’s spinoff, The Testaments, as well.  We don’t know yet what role she will take on in The Exorcist, but we do know The Leftovers vet excels in playing darkly complex characters.

The new Exorcist trilogy will come from writer-director David Gordon Green, who also oversaw the recent Halloween movies. As with Halloween, he will be working with Blumhouse and Morgan Creek Productions.

The Exorcist franchise began with the 1973 film directed by William Friedkin. The movie has earned more than $441 million at the box office, and was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including a Best Actress nomination for Burstyn, who played the mother of the possessed child (Linda Blair). There have been five movies in the Exorcist universe since then, though Blumhouse CEO Jason Blum has said the upcoming trilogy plans to go back to the original movie and “reinvent” The Exorcist franchise.

“What I hope to do with The Exorcist is the same thing we did with Halloween,” Blum said in a previous interview. "Halloween, the first [John Carpenter] movie, was great — and the second movie was okay…and the rest of them were not very good. And then we came in and kind of...re-jiggered it. And people liked it. So I hope we can do the same thing with The Exorcist.”

The new Exorcist film will premiere in theaters on Oct. 13, 2023 and then land on Peacock for exclusive streaming access.

While you wait to be possessed by the new Exorcist film, check out Peacock’s other horror selections, including Firestarter, Jack Frost, and The Last Exorcism. 

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