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Write On: 'The First Omen' Writers Arkasha Stevenson and Tim Smith

April 10, 2024
5 min read time
“We had to go back to the ratings board five times. It was a long journey. You have to laugh sometimes because we had some really grotesque imagery in our film. We even have a demon phallus in the film and nobody was worried about that. It was really the image of the vagina that was getting us that rating,” says Arkasha Stevenson, director, and co-screenwriter for The First Omen, about initially getting an NC17 rating from the Motion Picture Association. After much back and forth, the film is now rated R. 

The First Omen was written by Tim Smith and Arkasha Stevenson with Stevenson also directing. The film is a prequel to the classic horror film The Omen (1976) and stays true to the narrative that brings Damian, the antichrist, into the world. But keeping faithful to the original film proved to be challenging in a number of ways. 

“Because we grew up on The Omen,” says Stevenson, “it has such a special place in our hearts. We knew that it has such a special place in every horror fan’s heart, too… We didn't want to tarnish anything, so trying to find a balance where we were trying to create something new, and have our own world, and characters and messages within that, but also pay homage to the original omen, and also have tie-ins and callbacks – it was interesting to try and figure out how to have a conversation with the original film,” she says.

We also discuss how the film explores the theme of control over women’s bodies and how the current political climate factored into the story considering abortion is such a hot-button issue. To hear more about the writing of the film and how Stevenson and Smith came to the project, listen to the podcast.   
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