San Francisco, Calif., Jan 22, 2011 / 06:04 am America/Denver (CNA).
Father Gary Thomas, whose real life experience as an exorcist-in-training is chronicled in the highly anticipated movie “The Rite,” praised the film for its positive portrayal of the Church and for its witness to the power of faith.
The movie, starring Oscar winner Anthony Hopkins and newcomer Colin O’Donoghue, is loosely based on Fr. Thomas' experience traveling to Rome and studying under an Italian exorcist in 2005.
Set to hit screens on Jan 28., “The Rite” follows skeptical seminary student Michael Kovak (O’Donoghue), who is sent to study exorcism at the Vatican in spite of his own doubts. Anthony Hopkins plays a character by the name of Fr. Lucas – an Italian priest and veteran exorcist – who befriends Michael and helps open his eyes to reality of demon possession and the need for rite in the modern world.
The movie is based off of journalist Matt Baglio's 2009 book, “The Rite: The making of a modern exorcist.” Baglio befriended Fr. Gary Thomas while in Rome and chronicled the priest's studies at the Pontifical North American College and his eventual apprenticeship with a local exorcist.
In an interview with CNA on Jan. 19, Fr. Thomas – who currently serves as pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Saratoga, California – explained that he served as a consultant for the film, particularly the scenes featuring exorcisms.