Directed by Julius Avery, ‘The Pope’s Exorcist’ is a supernatural horror film that follows Father Gabriele Amorth, the Chief Exorcist of the Vatican, who travels all across Europe banishing demons from the mortal realm. One such case leads him to the San Sebastián abbey in Spain, which is being renovated by Julia, whose young son is being possessed by a powerful demon. But the demon isn’t all that the abbey holds within its walls, for soon age-old secrets come spilling out as Father Amorth tries to exorcise the demon.
Academy Award Winner Russell Crowe takes the helm as Father Gabriele Amorth, starring alongside Daniel Zovatto, Alex Essoe, Franco Nero, Peter DeSouza-Feighoney, and Laurel Marsden. While the story itself is interesting — based on the writings of the real-life Gabriele Amorth — the backdrop, with its gothic architecture and crumbling catacombs, really fuels the horror aspect and gives ‘The Pope’s Exorcist’ a sense of mystery. After seeing all the ancient buildings in the film, one can’t help but wonder about where it was shot! If you are one of these people, we have you covered! Let’s find out!
The Pope’s Exorcist Filming Locations
Though ‘The Pope’s Exorcist’ is set in Spain, it was primarily filmed on location in Ireland — specifically in and around Dublin, Limerick, and Wicklow. Primary photography began sometime in August 2022 and wrapped up in October 2022. Let us find out more about the exact filming locations!
The streets of Ireland act as a stand-in for urban Spain for most of ‘The Pope’s Exorcist.’ One of the main reasons for choosing Dublin is probably its likeness to most Spanish cities due to a similar architectural design utilized in the urban centers. A few of the interior shots were captured at Trinity College as well, and exterior sequences around Dublin were filmed at Marlay Park, a little over 3 miles away from the city center.
Limerick is well known for its medieval-era buildings, and it is here, on the outskirts of the city, that a lot of the sets for the film were built. This includes the location of the San Sebastián abbey, for which Bunratty Castle was likely used. The “castle” is a 15th-century tower house that stands between Limerick and Ennis in the village of Bunratty.
Wicklow County, Ireland
‘The Pope’s Exorcist’ utilizes a lot of set pieces for filming, such as the massive, cobweb-filled catacombs seen in the trailer and a few crumbling walls that are dotted throughout the film. All of these set pieces were created within the walls of Ardmore Studios, which is the only four-wall studio in Ireland. The studio is located in Bray, in Wicklow County. An entirely Irish crew was used for the production design, with Alan Gilman taking the lead on it.
In a Zoom interview with RTÉ Entertainment, Crowe shared some insights and experiences about filming in Ireland. He said, “I had a good time making this movie and that’s partially got to do with where we shot. We shot in Dublin and surrounds. We were in Trinity College, we were on the north side for a while. We shot in Bray a lot and Marley Park and we went down to Limerick, and it was a grand summer, I did a lot of bike riding.”
Talking about an incident during filming, he shared, “When you’re working with dark subject matter, you do have to keep your objectivity and one of the thematics in this movie revolves around birds. We’d been shooting down in Limerick and we came back to this house we were staying in on the coast outside Dublin and there was a dead bird on the doormat of the door to the house so a couple of people I was with got scared by that. But I just went to a different place with it. There was a lot of creatures in the woods around there and we’d been there for a few days, and this was just a little welcome home gift.”
Read More: Best Horror Movies