The Exorcist: The Beginning has booked in for a five to six week reshoot at Rome's Cinecitta Studios next month, following director Paul Schrader's sudden dismissal from the movie after an alleged conflict with his producers at Morgan Creek.
Carol Andre-Smith, director of international marketing at Cinecitta confirmed that re-shoots on The Exorcist: The Beginning will begin in mid-October.
However, while Schrader's triple Oscar-winning cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, is penned in to work on the re-shoot, the name of the new director has not yet been announced, Andre-Smith said.
According to a source close to the production, problems with Schrader's film - a prequel to the 1973 original William Friedkin film - arose after the director showed his final cut to producers at Morgan Creek - and they decided there wasn't enough 'gore' in the film.
"They just wanted a conventional horror film, but instead, they got what was in the script - a psychological suspense film," the source said.
Written by celebrated author Caleb Carr and William Wisher (Terminator 2: Judgement Day), The Exorcist: The Beginning focuses on Father Merrin as a young missionary in Africa and his first confrontation with the devil.
William Hill, whose credits include Undisputed and The Prophecy V - is believed to have been approached to direct the re-shoot but to have turned down the job.
Neither Morgan Creek - whose credits include The Last Of The Mohicans and Exorcist III - nor Paul Schrader returned calls by press time.
The Exorcist: The Beginning has been mired in difficulty ever since pre-production, when John Frankenheimer, who had been hired to direct the film, suddenly suffered a massive stroke and died in July 2002. He was replaced by Schrader.
The film's lead actor, Liam Neeson, then left the project due to prior commitments, and was replaced by Stellan Skarsgaard.
Filming started in Morocco in November 2002, in the midst of heightening tensions between Iraq and the US, before moving on to Cinecitta in January. The Exorcist: The Beginning was originally scheduled to open this summer but several months ago, US distributor Warner Bros and Morgan Creek pushed the release date back to February 2004.