Irish actor Colin O’Donoghue says he became an actor “by accident”. For his role as a young priest Michael Kovak, who is being trained to become an exorcist in The Rite, the actor went to the priest’s dormitory in the American College in Rome.
He says, “They were regular guys who were tech savvy and had had iPods and laptops. For a moment, I completely forgot that these seventeen year olds were actually about to sacrifice so much to embark on this life-long mission to spread the word of God.”
While preparing for his character, O’Donoghue also met real exorcists. He says, “I was fascinated that none of the exorcists were bothered whether I believed in exorcism in real life or not. They deal with demons daily.”
O’Donoghue says that his character constantly questions his faith. “My character is not fully convinced by what he sees during exorcisms because he’s a modern guy. He struggles with what he should believe as a priest and then there is his take as a 24-year-old guy thinking to himself, ‘What are you doing? These people need psychological help.’”
O’Donoghue, who shot in Rome and Budapest, says shooting in real locations lends to the performance. “Budapest is stunning. When we were doing the outdoor scenes in Rome, we couldn’t help looking around. On every street corner there are churches or there’s something to do with religion and Catholicism,” he says.