They didn’t really mean Last now, did they?

The producers of Daniel Stamm’s 2010 hit The Last Exorcism have finalized plans for a sequel, which will begin filming in New Orleans next month, Deadline reports. Original star Ashley Bell will reprise her role of Nell Sweetzer, an innocent farm girl from the backwoods of Louisiana who confronted a bogus exorcist (Patrick Fabian) eager to out the “possessed” teenager as a fraud. Details about the sequel are being kept under wraps, though Deadline does say the story will pick up three months after the events of the first film.

“Obviously with the title of the first one we had not planned on a sequel, but we love the story and subject matter and had what we feel is an inspired idea to continue it,” producer Eli Roth explained. “As you can see from other recent films, fans around the world are fascinated by this subject matter, and we want to go deeper and darker this time.”

By that, he means the sequel will target an R rating (the original was PG-13). They’re also bringing in a new director – Ed Gass-Donnelly (This Beautiful City) – to helm Damien Chazelle’s screenplay.

Obviously, there are a number of different ways a Last Exorcism sequel can go, though the loss of Fabian is a serious blow, as he was part of the original’s sarcastic charms. But audiences helped push Last Exorcism to nearly $41 million in domestic grosses, and January’s The Devil Inside currently has earned $49.4M, so there’s a crowd out there willing to support decent exorcism stories. Roth suggested we could see this sequel in theaters by late 2012, so stay tuned for more casting and production news as it occurs.
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