In an interview with TheLipTV, Donner explains that he went to Peck’s house to discuss the script for “The Omen,” written by screenwriter David Seltzer. Donner revealed that he told Peck, “the only thing I can say is that it’s not a horror film. This is a mystery suspense thriller that is this real or have we driven your character so insane through these incidents of the wife … falls out of a hospital … It’s coincidence until there’s so many questions it’s driving you crazy.” Donner added that Peck liked that pitch and added that they’d never call the movie “a horror film.” Donner agreed.
Decades later, it’s almost comical to know that “The Omen” was pitched as a “mystery suspense thriller.” Perhaps that description helped convince Peck because of his previous work with Alfred Hitchcock in his 1945 film “Spellbound.” Donner also kept Peck’s personal experience in mind as he tried to secure the actor’s involvement in the film. Peck suffered a devastating loss with the death of his son in 1975, not long before production started on “The Omen.” Peck also identified as a Roman Catholic and is laid to rest at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, a Roman Catholic cathedral in Los Angeles. He had the chance to portray a priest on screen in “The Keys of the Kingdom”, a performance that earned him his first Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in 1944. However, it was “The Omen” that provided Peck with the biggest box office hit of his career, grossing over $60 million in the United States.