Behind The Scenes With Stephanie Allain: Producing 'The Exorcist: Believer' And Paving The Way For Women Of Color In Hollywood
Career & Money

Behind The Scenes With Stephanie Allain: Producing 'The Exorcist: Believer' And Paving The Way For Women Of Color In Hollywood

Stephanie Allain, a powerhouse in the world of cinema, has made a name for herself as a prolific film producer with an impressive portfolio of award-winning films that have not only shaped culture but also catapulted careers. Films such as Hustle & Flow, Something New, Black Snake Moan, and Dear White People bear testament to her uncanny ability to recognize and nurture talent.

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Stephanie to delve into her latest venture as executive producer for The Exorcist: Believer, a spine-chilling masterpiece currently gracing the big screens in theaters.

“I was thrilled when Jason Blum called me and said, ‘Do you wanna join us on this journey with David Gordon Green and Leslie Odom, Jr.?’ and I said, ‘Say no more!’. It disregards all the other Exorcist movies that have come out since the original. It’s a new beginning for a new trilogy.”

Stephanie then shared her insights on how the film breaks new ground by featuring a Black lead, a devoted single father who will stop at nothing to protect his daughter. “That’s representation,” Stephanie exclaims with pride.

Producing films is no small feat, and Stephanie is a seasoned veteran in the industry. She generously gave us a peek behind the curtain, revealing the ups and downs of production and the impact they had on the final product.

Stephanie spoke very highly of the cast and production team, stating, “When you hire top-level artists behind the camera and in front, you're giving yourself the best shot to create something special. And that's really what we did. Every single artist on that set was tremendously talented.”

She elaborated further on her efforts to foster the perfect atmosphere on set during production. “We also hired a spiritual coordinator because we wanted to make sure the set was blessed and had good energy. She would come in early in the morning and sage that whole set.”

In addition to discussing the film, we also touched on Stephanie's incredible achievement of being the first Black woman to produce the Academy Awards during the 2020 ceremony. She shared her thoughts on the significance of this milestone and what it signifies for the representation of Black women and women of color in the industry.

“Producing The Academy Awards was, you know, clearly one of the highlights of my career. We were committed to real representation on the screen because the Oscars is the biggest night. So the first thing we did was, we said we want Janelle Monáe to open the show, a Black queer woman who is beyond fabulous. And it really set the tone I think. We are here to celebrate movies and to celebrate the people who make movies but also to let the world know that this exclusive enclave is full of us. We are everywhere and in every aspect of the show, and to me, that made it so powerful to be backstage calling that show right behind curtains.”

The film industry is notorious for its demanding schedules and high-pressure environment. Stephanie kindly shared some insight into her self-care practices and routine.

“That is so important to talk about. I'm a wife, I'm a mother, I'm a grandmother. I have three kids, three grown kids, a lot. My kids are in the business,” she says before listing their accolades.

“And I would just say to a lot of young people, yes, your career is important, yes you have goals, but you know what personal, relationship goals that’s valuable too because you want somebody to celebrate with, you want somebody to cry with, you want somebody that understands what you're going through. It can be really isolating out here. So I would say prioritizing self-care, I go to the spa, I get a massage. It's important to take care of yourself and put yourself first.”

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Feature image by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Women In Film

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