Is Anthony Miller Based on a Real Actor? Is The Georgetown Project a Real Film?

In the meta-narrative of ‘The Exorcism,’ Joshua John Miller and M.A. Fortin’s demonic horror movie, the storyline follows a fallen-from-grace actor who finds himself unwittingly entering a haunted film set. Anthony Miller lives with the weight of his sordid past, where his addiction burned many bridges in his personal and professional life. Nevertheless, after his recovery, he attempts to fix up his life and finds a promising opportunity to do so after a tragic accident opens up the spot for the lead in an upcoming horror movie. However, once Tony books the gig and helms the role of an exorcist priest, uncanny changes occur in the actor’s behavior.

The film heavily centers around the in-universe exorcism movie that creates the protagonist’s central narrative. Therefore, as Anthony and his film The Georgetown Project remain ripe with genre-specific references and nods, one can’t help but wonder about these elements’ origins in real life.

The Georgetown Project: A Subtle Reference to The Exorcist

While the plot of ‘The Exorcism’ evidently remains confined to fictional origins due to its supernatural genre, the story’s equipment of an in-universe movie set adds another element into the mix. Therefore, even though Anthony Miller’s more daring and demonic adventures find fictitious origins, his narrative as an actor leaves space for nuanced relations between ‘The Exorcism’ and reality. Anthony becomes a part of a film called “The Georgetown Project,” where he lands the lead role of a priest.

Although the narrative never entirely reveals the exact details of this project, a general idea of a plot emerges that seems to revolve around a possessed teenage girl and Father Arlington, a seasoned exorcist. Furthermore, the movie is supposed to be a remake of another popular exorcism film, garnering adamant attention and anticipation from studios and audiences alike. As such, through meta-narrative, familiar visuals, and suggestive dialogues, the narrative subtly implies that The Georgetown Project is meant to be a remake of the 1973 classic horror film, ‘The Exorcist.’

‘The Exorcist’ holds extensive ties with ‘The Exorcism’ both on-screen and behind the scenes. Filmmaker Joshua John Miller, who directed the latter and co-wrote it with his partner M.A. Fortin, is the son of Jason Miller, the actor who stars in the 70s’ exorcism film as the lead priest, Father Karras. Consequently, the Miller name uniquely connects to the cult classic horror movie, seamlessly joining the fictionalized Georgetown Project with the real-life ‘The Exorcist.’

Moreover, another layer of meta-narrative binds the two movies together. In Joshua John’s film, The Georgetown Project’s set is haunted by a real demon, leading to freak accidents during filming. In real life, several accidents occurred on the set of ‘The Exorcist,’ which contributed to the negative superstitions surrounding horror movies’ production. While similar instances have taken place on the set of other real-life horror movies, the accidents depicted in Joshua John’s fictionalized set closely resemble his father’s predecessor film. Thus, although it’s never explicitly stated, The Georgetown Project ends up being a clear nod toward ‘The Exorcist.’

The Georgetown Project and the Filmmakers’ Real-Life Experiences

The Georgetown Project’s references to ‘The Exorcist’ persist, emerging as a notable connection tying the film’s fictionality to reality. However, the fictionalized film’s genesis also sports another connection with real life. Prior to their involvement in ‘The Exorcism,’ Joshua John Miller and M.A. Fortin underwent an experience as filmmakers that proved to be “hellacious” and “demeaning.” Consequently, as they worked on the plot for this film, where a character’s narrative is inherently tied to his struggle on a film set, they found themselves working through their own past negative experience.

In a conversation with Mashable, Joshua John discussed the same by highlighting the relevance of showcasing a haunted film set and its ramifications on an artist. “In the Hollywood movie system, you’re always in strange negotiation with various elements, people who are probably morally compromised. It’s just the nature of the world we’re in, right? And I think that the only cursed experiences I really had during this — were with some of the people I had to work with in the process.” As such, various elements within The Georgetown Project’s film set, such as creative clashes, toxic senior involvement, and such, showcase a brutal but realistic aspect of reality.

Anthony Miller Found Some Inspiration in Jason Miller

In ‘The Exorcism,’ Russell Crowe embodies the character of Anthony “Tony” Miller, whose history with severe addiction perpetually looms over his narrative. Most significantly, his past blunders affect his relationship with his daughter, Lee, whom he previously abandoned while at his lowest. Considering the emotionally ripe significance of Anthony’s identity as a father and recovering addict, it’s no surprise that Joshua John mined his own father, Jason Miller, for the character’s inspiration. Even though Anthony’s exact journey remains exclusive to the on-screen actor, elements of his character’s configuration retain connections to Miller’s real-life experiences.

The Exorcist (1973)

Aside from their combined involvement in exorcism movies, both Anthony and Jason Miller experienced addiction in their lives and sought out rehabilitation for the same. The same led to complicated interpersonal father-child relationships for both, rendering the latter’s relationship with Joshua John as a natural well of inspiration for the filmmaker in his creation of Anthony’s character. ‘The Exorcism’ filmmaker confirmed the same in a Rue Morgue interview, saying, “I think it is fair to say that a lot of it was inspired by my dad [Jason Miller], who was an actor and was in ‘The Exorcist’ and struggled with addiction, so there’s a lot of inspiration there for sure.”

Even so, the filmmaker also clarified that he took inspiration from various sources to enhance the authenticity behind Anthony. “[And] Also, honestly, from some of my own challenges with those same things: Being in the movies, my own addictions, my own proverbial demons,” he expanded. Therefore, although Anthony Miller isn’t a biographical account of any real-life actor, he remains tied to the realities of the actual Miller family, borrowing significant inspiration from Jason Miller.

Read More: The Exorcism Ending, Explained