The Pope's Exorcist Cast and Character Guide

Close up of Father Gabriele Amorth
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The Pope's Exorcist stars Academy Award winner Russell Crowe along with a diverse cast of actors from all over the world. Crowe plays the titular character, Father Gabriele Amorth, a real-life Catholic priest who claimed to have performed tens of thousands of exorcisms in his career. Drawing inspiration from Amorth's own memoirs and case files, The Pope's Exorcist deals with Amorth's battle against several demons, who possessed innocent people. As the Chief Exorcist of Vatican investigates the case of a possessed boy, he also comes across an ancient conspiracy that the Catholic Church has tried to keep hidden for centuries.

The Pope's Exorcist cast includes some well-known genre actors, such as Franco Nero and Ralph Ineson, and is helmed by Overlord and Samaritan director Julius Avery. The 2023 horror marks the first time a film has directly adapted Amorth's life and career. Previously, one of Amorth's high-profile exorcisms was featured in the 2017 documentary, The Devil and Father Amorth, which was directed by The Exorcist filmmaker William Friedkin. With examples like The Conjuring (that was based on the life of Ed and Lorraine Warren), many real-life exorcisms have inspired Hollywood blockbusters. However, there are only a few cases like The Pope's Exorcist that directly delve into the Vatican's own exorcisms.


Russell Crowe As Father Gabriele Amorth

Russell Crowe leads The Pope's Exorcist cast as the late Italian Catholic priest, Father Gabriele Amorth. The movie follows his younger days as he takes one of the most grueling exorcisms of his life. The real Amorth spent more than three decades performing numerous exorcisms - experiences of which he documented in his books An Exorcist Tells His Story and An Exorcist: More Stories. In The Pope's Exorcist, Amorth deals with not just paranormal forces and possessed children but also his peers at Vatican City, some of whom disapprove of his methods (meaning The Pope's Exorcist also covers Amorth's own struggles with faith).

As well as playing Maximus in Gladiator and John Nash in A Beautiful Mind, many of Crowe's best performances also include James J Braddock in Cinderella Man, Inspector Javert in Les Misérables, and Jor-El in Man of Steel. Unlike his previous projects, Crowe explained in the official featurette how playing Amorth was a lot more challenging given his controversial work, stating "It's [exorcism] a very dark pursuit and his faith gave him the courage to do the job."


Daniel Zovatto As Father Esquibel

Accompanying Amorth in his paranormal adventures is Father Esquibel, a much-younger priest who seems to be having his own crisis of faith. Costa Rican-American actor, Daniel Zovatto, marks his return to the horror genre by joining The Pope's Exorcist cast. Even though Zovatto started out in the 2010s, he became a familiar face in modern horror, playing Johnny in Beneath, Greg in It Follows, and Money in Don't Breathe. While Zovatto make a couple of appearances in Fear The Walking Dead and Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, playing Jack Kipling and Tiago Vega. he also garnered critical acclaim as Station Eleven's unlikable villain The Prophet.


Alex Essoe As Julia

Julia is a woman who requires the assistance of the titular exorcist after her son, Henry, shows signs of demonic possession. Her character is essential to the plot as she emulates the human fear that Amorth sought to combat all his life. Canadian actor and frequent Mike Flanagan collaborator, Alex Essoe, plays Julia. Essoe played Wendy Torrance in Flanagan's Doctor Sleep, the sequel to The Shining, and went on to have supporting roles in the director's shows (like Charlotte Wingrave in The Haunting of Bly Manor and Mildred Gunning in Midnight Mass). Other popular horror titles in her filmography include Starry Eyes, Tales of Halloween, and Death of Me.


Franco Nero As The Pope

Referred to as "my boss" by Amorth, Franco Nero is one of the most important The Pope's Exorcist cast members as he plays the Pope. However, the film relies on a composite stand-in for the Pope as he is never referred to by name. This particular iteration of the Pope is most likely drawn from Pope John Paul II, whose tenure lasted from 1978 to 2005. Amorth, who was appointed as an exorcist under the Diocese of Rome in 1986, investigated the majority of his cases during this Pope's lifetime.

With Amorth directly reporting to the Pope, Franco Nero's character serves as a calm and wise mentor. But even he doesn't have all the answers as Amorth conducts his own investigations into the Vatican's deeply-guarded secrets. Nero gained initial popularity for playing the cowboy Django in the Spaghetti Western franchise of the same name. The actor's cameo in Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained was a nod to this breakout role. Nero is also a revered action star after playing General Ramon Esperanza in Die Hard 2 and Julius in John Wick: Chapter 2.


The Pope's Exorcist Supporting Cast & Characters

Laurel Marsden as Amy: Amy is an innocent girl who also gets possessed by devilish forces to the point where her neck is twisted in a particularly scary scene from The Pope's Exorcist. She is played by Laurel Mardsen who appeared in Ms Marvel as the popular school girl and social media influencer Zoe Zimmer.

Peter DeSouza-Feighoney as Henry: Henry is Julia's son, a young boy whose body serves as a medium for a demon and asks to meet Amorth. He is played by newcomer Peter DeSouza-Feighoney, with The Pope's Exorcist marking his film debut.

Cornell S. John as Cardinal: One of the Pope's chief Cardinals quizzes Amorth about his past, particularly involving the controversial exorcism that involved an innocent woman's death. This particular Cardinal is played by British actor Cornell S. John, who is popularly known for playing the gangster Curtis in The Hood Trilogy. He also appeared in EastEnders as Sam James, Arnold Guzman in Fantastic Beast: Crimes of Grindelwald, and Joseph Singer in Gangs of London.

Ralph Ineson as Demon: The Pope's Exorcist cast is incomplete without the priest's chief enemy. Even though the demon possessing Henry doesn't physically manifest himself, his threatening voice can be heard whenever he takes on Henry's body. The demon is voiced by British actor Ralph Ineson, who is known for his Yorkshire-accented dialogue delivery. Popular credits in his career include Dagmer Cleftjaw in Game of Thrones, Rick in Ready Player One, Alectus Carrow in Harry Potter, and William in The Witch.

This article was originally published at Screen Rant.

The Pope's Exorcist premieres in theatres on April 14th! See it at Regal.
See The Pope's Exorcist at Regal 

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