By Film Threat Staff | January 3, 2002

After an extensive casting search spanning fifteen months and three continents, actor/musician Billy Crawford has been cast in one of the lead roles in the untitled prequel to “The Exorcist,” it was announced today by James G. Robinson, Chairman and CEO of Morgan Creek Productions.
“The Exorcist” prequel traces the story of Father Merrin back to his first encounter with the Devil in post WWII Africa. The film is scheduled to begin principal photography in early summer 2002 in the UK and Spain.
Nineteen-year-old Billy Crawford was born in the Philippines; in addition to spending eight seasons as a regular on the Filipino variety show That’s Entertainment, he also appeared in a series of movies before his family relocated to Texas in 1994. There Crawford continued his singing career, and after winning a Dallas talent show, he traveled to New York to begin writing and recording material for his self-titled debut album, released in mid-1999 on V2. After this, he achieved double-platinum status with the theme song to Pokemon: The First Movie and co-starred alongside actor John Lithgow on the album ‘Ogden Nash and The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t’, which benefited the National Theatre of the Deaf. He also completed a string of dates in North America with ‘N Sync and another tour with 98 Degrees and Monica. In spring 2002, V2 in Europe will release Billy Crawford’s new album titled ‘Ride’.
The first single from the album “Trackin'” was released in France in early October and remains in the TOP 10 for the 5th week with sales of over 200,000 units. The single has recently been released in Belgium and Scandinavia where it has just entered the TOP 20 single charts. Billy is also already confirmed to perform live at the “NRJ” Awards in Cannes on January 19, 2002 and has been nominated in the category “Best New Artist”. “Trackin'” will be released throughout the rest of Europe at the end of January/early February 2002. Billy Crawford is represented by Victoria Frankmano at Cuzzins Management and is signed to V2 Records world-wide.
“The Exorcist” prequel is directed by director John Frankenheimer (“The Manchurian Candidate,” “The Island of Dr. Moreau,” “Ronin”) with Liam Neeson starring as the young Father Merrin. The film is produced by James G. Robinson and is executive produced by Jonathan A. Zimbert. Best-selling author Caleb Carr (“The Alienist”) re-wrote the script based upon an original screenplay by William Wisher. Warner Bros. will distribute the film domestically and Warner Bros. and Morgan Creek International will distribute overseas.
Morgan Creek will be releasing the antic comedy “Juwanna Mann” on May 10, 2002, which stars Miguel A. Nuñez Jr, Vivica A. Fox and Tommy Davidson. Also next year, in addition the prequel to “The Exorcist,” Morgan Creek will begin principal photography on “Snag,” the story of a glamorous, big-city publicist who, after witnessing the murder of a client, is forced to hide out in a small Ohio town much to her chagrin and that of the locals.
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