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Raising the devil

Linda Blair was barely a teenager when she embarked on the nearly two-year process of making William Friedkin’s groundbreaking supernatural thriller “The Exorcist,” which is now getting the Blu-ray treatment with a new deluxe edition.

Linda Blair was barely a teenager when she embarked on the nearly two-year process of making William Friedkin’s groundbreaking supernatural thriller “The Exorcist,” which is now getting the Blu-ray treatment with a new deluxe edition.

“Billy Friedkin is a master. Without a doubt, he was meant to make this film,” she says. “He is difficult because he wants to deliver the best. And that’s why the film has withstood time. Yes, it was hard. There’s no doubt. It was no walk in the park.”

And despite her young age, Blair says she knew all the hard work was worth it as soon as she saw the finished product. “To see all of it put together, it was incredible. I knew that my life had changed forever, I just didn’t know how,” she says. “It was when I became known around the world that my life became nearly impossible, and I just kept fighting to say, ‘No, you’re not going to take away my identity.’”

Given the chance to look back on “The Exorcist,” Blair is particularly struck by the reaction she and the film received and how often she was quizzed on theology — a recurring question was, “Does the devil exist?”

“I was sitting in front of huge amounts of press and that was one of the main questions to a 15-year-old. It was very bizarre,” says Blair, who was raised Protestant. “They would truly ask me, as adults, if there’s God, if there’s the Devil, if there’s this and that. It really unnerved the entire world; and I, for one, am aware of that.”

 
 
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