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Story Notes for The Exorcism of Emily Rose

Monday through Thursday, at 8PM | 7C, AMC presents Story Notes — real-time on-air trivia about your favorite movies. Tonight’s movie was The Exorcism of Emily Rose.

Award Notes
Jennifer Carpenter won the 2006 MTV Movie Award for Best Frightened Performance.

Carpenter won the Breakout Performer Award at the 2006 Scream Awards for this role.

Biographical Notes
Laura Linney and Campbell Scott had acted together before, in 1999’s Lush.

Scott’s father was Oscar winner George C. Scott (Patton, Anatomy of a Murder).

Mary Beth Hurt’s husband, Paul Schrader, directed Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist, also in 2005.

Carpenter is Catholic and attended Catholic school.

Casting Notes
Tom Wilkinson is from In the Bedroom and Michael Clayton. He was also in Batman Begins in the same year as this movie, 2005.

Linney is known for movies like Primal Fear, Mystic River, and The Truman Show. In 2005, she’d just been nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in Kinsey.

Linney recommended Carpenter for this role after working with her in a play. Linney says she thinks Carpenter is the “best young actress I’ve ever seen. She’s spectacular.”

Scott made a name for himself in 1991’s Dying Young and 1992’s Singles.

Carpenter’s audition was so convincing and scary that the director decided to cast her right then.

Kenneth Welsh is known to TV audiences as Windom Earle from Twin Peaks.

Henry Czerny was in 1996’s Mission: Impossible.

Hurt is known for movies like Interiors and The World According to Garp.

JR Bourne is best known to American audiences as Martouf on Stargate SG-1.

Shohreh Aghdashloo was nominated for an Oscar for her role in House of Sand and Fog.

Ironically, Duncan Fraser got his start in a TV movie called The Haunting Passion.

Colm Feore also played a lawyer in the movie musical Chicago.

Health Notes
Between 2 and 9 percent of people with epilepsy have psychotic disorders.

A normal resting heart rate ranges anywhere from 60 to 100 beats per minute.

Location Note
The movie was filmed in Vancouver, Canada, in 2004. But the director wanted it to seem like it could be anywhere and timeless.

Music Notes
Christopher Young, who composed the music for this movie, is well known to horror fans. He scored Drag Me to Hell, The Grudge, and the Hellraiser movies, among others.

Prelude, Op. 3, No. 2 in C-Sharp Minor, by Sergei Rachmaninoff, 1892.

Plot Notes
Notice the time. Erin’s watch stopped at 3 a.m.

Erin made her name defending James Van Hopper, and now he proves himself a murderer.

Emily will be heard counting to six as the “Devil” draws closer to each character.

Erin may not be a believer, but she will start to let Father Moore guide her.

Father Moore stands alone, as he wanted it.

Erin’s gambit will either make or break her career.

Whether it’s by guilt or an actual vision, the case is haunting Father Moore.

The nonbeliever is risking her career on a leap of faith.

In real life, Anneliese Michel wrote her exorcist a letter. In the note, she refused any more exorcism and predicted the exact day she would die.

Pay attention to the wounds on Emily’s hands; they have two distinct origin stories.

Erin originally dismissed this as just another case. But it’s changed her entire outlook.

With the white rose, Erin shows that she is holding onto hope.

Pop-Culture Notes
The Exorcism of Emily Rose was named the Best Horror Film of 2005 at the Saturn Awards.

The filmmakers say that Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon was a huge influence on this movie. In Rashomon, four different witnesses recount the story of a murder in court from their perspectives.

The Chicago Film Critics Association named this movie one of the scariest movies of all time.

The filmmakers studied courtroom dramas like The Verdict and Anatomy of a Murder to prepare.

Emily’s bedroom and the scratches on the wall were based directly on a painting by Francis Bacon.

This movie didn’t scare co-writers Scott Derrickson and Paul Harris Boardman away from horror. They reteamed to write a 2013 remake of the eighties classic Poltergeist.

Quotation Notes
Linney says she was excited to work with Wilkinson: “I’ve been a huge fan of his for a long time.”

The filmmakers say they weren’t interested in making just another horror movie. They wanted to make a “smart movie about whether demonic possession really exists.”

Derrickson liked the combination of genres in the original book. “Courtrooms and horror coming together. It’s a great idea for a movie.”

Derrickson acknowledges 1973’s Exorcist as the “scariest movie ever. I knew that in trying to make this film, I was going to have to do something dramatically different.”

Derrickson says he was greatly influenced by Italian director Dario Argento.

The director says, “Sound design is the best tool a director has to subconsciously affect an audience.”

Derrickson says, “I’d never been in the presence of actors of this caliber, and to watch them make magic happen out of lines that you’d written was a thrill.”

Derrickson says Linney is “incapable of playing a false moment.”

Derrickson says, “I didn’t want to out-Exorcist The Exorcist.” He just wanted to push the believability one step past what you would think was real.

Linney says, “This material could go in a very wrong direction in lesser hands. So I just suggested all the best actors I know, and Campbell is certainly one.”

Derrickson says, “The movie is intended to provoke everyone who sees it, including believers. It did that to me. That’s one of the reasons why I thought it was a worthwhile story.”

Script Notes
The movie is loosely based on the story of the exorcisms of 23-year-old Michel in 1975.

Dr. Cartwright was supposed to have a heart attack, but the studio wanted his death to be more dramatic.

Set Notes
They had to stop one scene the first time they tried to film it because Linney is very allergic to cats.

To prepare for her role, Carpenter spent hours in a room full of mirrors. She tried out different body positions and facial expressions to see what was the scariest.

The director had planned on using lots of visual effects to make Emily appear possessed. But after seeing how Carpenter could contort her body, he decided he would barely need them.

In real life, Linney’s TV turned itself on a few times in the middle of the night during production.

The production designer says the courtroom was influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture.

The colors in the flashbacks were made to look more realistic to mirror the tone of the testimony.

Carpenter is double-jointed. However, she says, she doesn’t think she’s all that flexible.

The “silent scream” helped Carpenter get the role. The director found it terrifying in her audition.

While doing research for the movie, Derrickson kept waking up at exactly 3 a.m. This only stopped when filming began.

Filming one scene, Carpenter screamed so much she nearly fainted.

The director says they are real tears because Wilkinson and Carpenter got so close on set.

Carpenter wasn’t able to use both sets of her vocal cords. The effect was with sound editing.

The director had Carpenter watch The Passion of Joan of Arc to prepare for one scene.

Derrickson says that as a Christian he relates most to Scott’s character.

The director says that he wanted this movie to make people ask questions, not think they got the answer.

An extra in one scene actually underwent an exorcism.

The jury was not given scripts so they weren’t aware of how the case would turn out. Hurt asked them how they would find Father Moore. The decision was split.

The bar was actually on the first floor. The crew painted the city skyline.

Source Notes
Michel, the woman Emily was based on, was only 68 pounds when she died.

In the case this movie is based on, the girl’s parents were also tried in court.

Michel, the girl Emily was based on, reportedly ate spiders.

The screenwriters were inspired to make this movie when they heard a tape of an exorcism. There were 42 recordings of the exorcisms of Michel, whom this movie is based on.

In the case that this movie is based on, the priests attempted 67 rites of exorcism on Michel.

Michel, the real Emily, lived in Bavaria, Germany.

Michel, whom Emily is based on, is recognized by some Catholics as an unofficial saint.

Symbolism Notes
The director used certain colors to symbolize different feelings. Watch for them. Green represents captivity, and orange symbolizes terror.

The director uses green to symbolize Emily’s isolation and captivity.

As colors represent feelings in this movie, white illustrates hope.

Remember: green represents captivity. Erin feels trapped, and the prison bars add to that.

Emily is in white. As bleak as things are, she still has hope.

Technology Notes
The cinematographer hung a camera on a rope to get some of the odd angles. They called it the “string cam.”

To get one shot, Wilkinson had a camera harnessed onto his body and aimed back at his face.

Trivia Notes
A “quagmire” is a swampy bog or an extremely sticky situation.

Gambutrol has no real use. It’s a fictional medication.

Nearly 3 million Americans are epileptic. However, some people still think these seizures are caused by possession.

An agnostic believes that nothing can be known for certain about the existence of God.

Some University of Minnesota students believe the school is haunted by Emily. But the woman Emily is based on is from Germany and never attended college.

The DSM was first published in 1952 and listed 106 mental disorders. The newest edition lists 292.

Catholics are not the only people who believe in exorcisms. Many religions, including Judaism and Islam, have a form of exorcism.

Since 1999, a doctor must evaluate a person who claims to be possessed to rule out illness.

The Roman Ritual that includes the guide to performing an exorcism was written in 1614. It wasn’t revised or updated until 1999.

The Catholic Church says that a sign of demonic possession is speaking languages you do not know.

The Catholic Church says another sign of possession is a violent aversion to crosses.

Supposedly the power of the exorcism does not come from the priest; rather, it comes from Jesus.

An archdiocese is the district an archbishop has responsibility over.

The first person to have a recorded stigmata was Saint Francis of Assisi.

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