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Why The Demon From The Pope's Exorcist Sounds So Familiar

Pop culture's long relationship with demons and exorcisms has spawned a large family of franchise films, and now there is another to take up the mantle. The 2023 film "The Pope's Exorcist" is loosely inspired by the titular priest, Father Gabriele Amorth, who reportedly was responsible for thousands of exorcisms. After initial success, director Julius Avery wants as many sequels as he can get his hands on, and it's not hard to see why. Father Amorth is played with particular zeal by Russell Crowe, with an Italian accent and all. And he isn't the one recognizable actor in the mix.

If you didn't know that Ralph Ineson has a particularly significant role in the film, you're not to blame. The actor's face is never featured on screen, but he provides the baritone vocals needed for the demon Asmodeus. Speaking demonically through the body of the possessed boy Henry (Peter DeSouza-Feighoney), Ineson has a voice that any actor would dream of. His deep, resonant vocals are his signature and so impressive that you would be hard-pressed not to find the voice familiar in many of the genre films he has appeared in.

He's had many brief roles in big franchise films

Ralph Ineson's long and prolific career includes a smattering of roles in franchise films that fans return to again and again. Though his parts may be brief, the instant you see him, you know him. He may be most recognizable to "Harry Potter" fans as the sadistic Amycus Carrow. Along with his sister, Amycus is a faithful Death Eater who later appears in a bizarro version of Hogwarts. Under the leadership of Snape (Alan Rickman), Amycus dispenses punishment to students for any perceived offense. Ineson's reputation for playing villainous characters continued in "Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi" when he appears as a First Order officer. But if you ask Ineson, he looks at his roles pretty humbly.

"[N]ot to put too fine a point on it, you're kind of cheating because [they're] making the films in the UK," Ineson told Gizmodo. "So getting actors in to do a week on 'Star Wars' is kind of easy to do, and 'Guardians [of the Galaxy]' and these kind of things. So I did a lot of these franchises in tiny, tiny roles. So I feel slightly guilty claiming the credit for all these huge franchises as if I played Han Solo and Star-Lord." At least in "Guardians of the Galaxy," Ineson has some room for creativity. As a ravager pilot in the film, his proximity to Quill (Chris Pratt) allows for many incredulous looks — as well as a few lines.

He pays the iron price in Game of Thrones

In the world of "Game of Thrones," no house is more reprehensible than the Greyjoys. While Cersei (Lena Headey) is incestuous and Ramsay (Iwan Rheon) is one of the most hated characters, watching their shenanigans at least provides some entertainment. The house that rules the Iron Islands provides no such joy. They are as dour as the rock they live on and have no greater interest than raving and pillaging. Not only are they the most uninspired villains, but they also contribute to one of the most pointless and painful conquests of Season 2. As Theon (Alfie Allen) tries to get respect from his father, he enlists the help of Iron Islanders, such as Dagmer Cleftjaw (Ralph Ineson), as they set out to take over Winterfell.

Gullible by nature, it is easy for Dagmer to exert his backward views on Theon. He is an Iron Islander through and through. Using murder as a way of solving problems, he sees no issue with burning a couple of innocent farm boys. Theon's conquest is ultimately a failure, but that isn't what leads to his downfall. It is because he is weak. Dagmer betrays Theon and kills Maester Luwin (Donald Sumpter) in the process. Ineson plays the part with a fraction of levity and a whole lot of brutality. Through his actions, we see the Viking-inspired culture of the Ironborn and how they have no redeeming qualities.

He doesn't live too deliciously in The Witch

Already a film and television veteran, Ineson's first lead role was in 2015's "The Witch," and he was never the same again. The horror film was the directorial debut of Robert Eggers, who used real-life historical accounts to tell the story of a Puritan family terrorized by witchcraft. All alone in the wilderness, the family breaks apart due to the death of their baby and supernatural happenings that take the lives of many more. From the use of old English to a notoriously problematic goat on set that put Ineson in the hospital, many details ensure that this film will stand the test of time. But Ineson wasn't surprised at the reaction to the film after first reading the script. Eggers wrote the part of patriarch William with Ineson in mind, and the rest is history.

"I've never had quite a reaction to a screenplay like it," Ineson told Fangoria in an exclusive interview. "I was absolutely devouring it, but I had to put it down and leave it for an hour before going back to read the last 20 pages, because it was just too intense. I've been doing this a long time, and read a lot of scripts, and very rarely do I get a physical reaction the way you would from watching a movie in the cinema." William's gory death at the horns of Black Philip will be one thing that fans will remember for a long time.

He played a critique on pop culture in Ready Player One

Ralph Ineson doesn't mince words when describing his character in "Ready Player One." When talking to The Hollywood Reporter, the actor stated: "He's a better character in the film than in the book. He's the beer-drinking idiot boyfriend of Wade Watt's aunt Alice. He's just a d***head." No truer words have been spoken. Steven Spielberg's crack at the best-selling novel of the same name revolves around a world obsessed with video game culture. Like Tye Sheridan's character, Wade, Rick (Ineson) relishes entering the virtual reality landscape of Oasis. Unlike Wade, however, Rick is all the wrong parts of fan culture. "Ready Player One" analyzes the obsessive escapism of gaming, while also paying respectful homage to it. There are people like Rick who take the universe too far, while Wade and many of the other characters find gratification in the pop culture references interspersed throughout the film. Excitement was running rampant on the set, especially for Ineson, who was collaborating with Spielberg for the first time for the film.

"There was one moment I had to speak to Susan Lynch, who plays Alice," Ineson recalled. "We warned each other to listen to each other's notes. Because after the first morning, we just realized that when Steven Spielberg is giving you a note, for the first day at least, you don't hear it." They were so starstruck by the director, it took some time for the actors to get used to focusing on his direction.

He honored the harrowing tragedy of Chernobyl

Before "The Last of Us" premiered on HBO Max, creator Craig Mazin did the impossible and created something just as devastating. In a five-part miniseries, "Chernobyl" told the heart-wrenching events of the infamous meltdown and the human stories surrounding it. This was a disaster on an economic, governmental, and personal scale. And yet, the people of Ukraine and surrounding Soviet countries selflessly threw themselves into cleaning up the site, knowing full well it would cost them their lives.

"The Soviets, and particularly the people of Ukraine and Russia and Belarus threw themselves at this task in a way that is shocking and beautiful and also terrifying and heartbreaking," Mazin said in an HBO featurette. One of these moving tales involved cleaning up the roof of the power plant. With no robotics able to survive the radiation, General Nikolai Tarakanov (Ralph Ineson) has to enlist human workers to remove the graphite from the roof. Unable to stay on the roof for longer than 90 seconds or sustain fatal radiation, the men rush to remove as much debris as they can in shifts. Chernobyl is remembered for the cover-up of the disaster. But characters such as Tarakanov put a human face to the people that did everything they could to rectify it.

"It was an honour to play General Nikolai Tarakanov in #chernobyl," Ineson posted on Instagram. "Proud to help tell the story of the 3828 bio robots. Such bravery and self-sacrifice."

He was chosen for his voice in The Green Knight

Ralph Ineson's voice has been such a calling card throughout his career that it even earned him a spot as the titular character in David Lowery's Arthurian tale. Based on the poem surrounding The Green Knight, Ineson donned an extensive amount of prosthetics to embody the character.

"The first discussion was about how I knew [Lowery] liked my voice, he wanted my voice for the character," Ineson told Polygon. "Then he was very keen to stress that he didn't want it to be a CGI character, or a fully prosthetic character. He wanted to find a performance within the design he had." Ineson's knight resembles a forest deity who comes to challenge the honor of young knight, Gawain (Dev Patel). Because of the extensive makeup, Ineson understood it wouldn't be the most pleasant experience. Mostly blind and deaf from his costume and extensive prosthetics, the actor went through a challenging shoot to achieve the character. But in the end, he didn't regret it.

"I felt there was a certain soul to him that was almost parental, in a weird way," Ineson said of the character. "He would challenge Gawain because he wanted the best version of him. So I wanted to bring that out."