Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson, the lead pair of 'The Conjuring 2', talk ghosts, supernatural experiences on set and working with James Wan for a second time
Horror movies have always been made in abundance and to the point where coming up with genuine jump-out-of-your-seat scares become a challenge. However, those based on 'real-life' events definitely have an edge as opposed to a fictional horror movie.
Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga
And therein lied the success of 'The Conjuring', which released in 2013. Its sequel, 'The Conjuring 2', which hit theatres two weeks ago, also deals with a haunting, and has two familiar faces — Ed and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson) — return to screen and do what they do best: fighting demons. With the film doing roaring business in India (nearing the Rs 50-crore mark), hitlist chats up the pair.
Q. Have people ever come to you with accounts of their own supernatural experiences, especially after the success of Conjuring?
Vera: No (laughs), no one thinks I am clairvoyant — no one asks.
Patrick: No one thinks you are a clairvoyant. Strangely, they think I am one. No, they don't actually (laughs).
Vera: But, yes, people are eager to share their wily stories, their experiences with mysticism.
Q. What kind of advice do you give them?
Vera: I don't give them nonsense. And, by the way, Lorraine (Warren, paranormal investigator, whom she essays in the film) still takes calls in her eighties in Connecticut.
Q. When you approached this film, did you look at it as a horror movie with elements of a love story, or as a love story with horror elements?
Patrick: Well, the biggest response that I got from the first film — and I am sure it's similar for Vera — is people who say, 'I don't like scary films at all, but I loved 'The Conjuring'. It wasn't just a great horror movie; it was a great film.' I love that! That's what the first movie did — transcend the genre. While you don't set out to do something like that, you want to craft a great story about relationships and humanity, and tell a love story about their relationship and how that works in this world.
Vera: I knew nothing of Lorraine when the offer came to me, and as I soon as I Googled all the yesteryear videos, I was delighted by that couple (Ed and Lorraine Warren). They are darn cute and have a connection that is undeniable. So, for me, coming aboard this was very much about that. It was a love story for me.
Q. Are you a horror movie fan?
Patrick: I'm not a huge horror film fan, or know every horror movie like (director) James Wan. But, when I think of The Shining or Poltergeist, it's always about people you care about and get invested in. And so, for some people, these characters who love each other so much became the cornerstone for this franchise.
Q. What about the creepy stuff on set? James mentioned in an interview that you have a video of something strange happening.
Patrick: I do. The producers had a priest bless the set on day one of shoot, which can't hurt. But you are in a sound stage with curtains from floor to ceiling. And one night after filming, one of the painters noticed the huge curtains just sort of waving violently — no doors open, no fan on, no nothing. It's pretty trippy. So, he filmed it, going right up to it, behind it, but can't figure out where it's coming from. It goes on for a minute. They felt it was odd because nothing else was moving around it.
Q. In between two 'Conjuring' films, James made 'Furious 7', and 'The Conjuring 2' now feels like it's bigger in scope and more intense than the first one. Did you notice any difference in him as a director?
Vera: I don't know, I am sure he dealt with me differently than he deals with Vin Diesel (laughs).
Patrick: You're very similar actually.
Vera: He has a way with me that is our way. It has to do with movement, and he's precise. He directs me like a dancer in our very unique relationship.
Patrick: Also, between 'The Conjuring' movies, we did another film together, 'Insidious 2', and then he went out and did 'Furious 7'. So, because he had been so immersed in that — a however many billion dollar franchise — I see him pushing himself, with long takes, sweeping camera movements. The exciting thing was to come back understanding how the other side works, meaning huge action sequences, crazy huge budget and the amount of time that he can spend on a scene. His experience on 'Furious 7' gave him the freedom and the confidence to say, 'Okay, let's just sit with these people,' because this film has a different set of circumstances. That, I reckon, made him go in a complete opposite direction.
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