William Friedkin’s career rose to pretty heady heights in the 1970s, with the highly revered French Connection, followed by The Exorcist – one of the most successful horror movies of the era (though Friedkin himself refuses to classify the movie as ‘horror’). However, his career plummeted quite dramatically, with the critical and financial failure of 1977’s ‘Sorcerer,’ which only recouped around half of its then-staggering $22 million production budget. In a new book from the director, he reveals in brutally honest account of his own successes and failures.

In the book, Friedkin also describes the struggles that he had with some of the best known actors with whom he worked throughout his career. Having clashed with the star of his controversial movie, Cruising – Al Pacino – he tells The Wrap that he never really got a chance to make amends with the actor. “I have not seen him a lot. We never moved in the same circles. I wanted Richard Gere for the role. Having seen the film at special screenings, I've come to realize he is still pretty damn effective in it, but he gave me a rough time for reasons other than the normal actor-director relationship. He wasn't on time and often didn't know what we were doing on a particular day.”

And it wasn’t just Pacino that gets a pasting from Friedkin. There’s not much love lost between him and Gene Hackman either: “I had a strained relationship with Gene. The important thing is he gave a damn good performance even though we had a rocky time of it.” Friedman also revealed in the interview that a new BluRay version of The Exorcist will be released this year, with an hour and a half of new extras. 

William Friedkin
William Friedkin: didn't get along with Al Pacino or Gene Hackman