On June 10th The Conjuring 2, a much anticipated sequel, premieres, once again starring Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson as renowned demonologists Lorraine and Ed Warren, with a story taken from one of their most terrifying and famous cases.
Set in north London in 1977, Peggy Hodgson (Frances O’Connor) and her four children are being plagued by paranormal activity in their council house, with the malevolent entity taking over her 11-year-old daughter, Janet (Madison Wolfe).
Lorraine and Ed Warren are approached about flying to London to investigate the happenings at the Hodgson’s home, but Lorraine too is being inundated by a demonic entity, and she fears for her husband’s life as much as she does the Hodgson family.
The Conjuring, which opened on July 19, 2013, still remains the second highest grossing original horror movie of all time, second only to The Exorcist.
I spoke with Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga about returning to this frightening franchise, in a movie that is already receiving some rave reviews.
What was coming back like, as you had played these roles before?
Vera: I think we came back with eagerness and confidence and a certain level of comfort.
I had no idea how challenging it would be this time around. The emotional profundity of it, there was just so much more for us to play in terms of how harrowing it is.
Patrick: Yeah, there was a lot.
Did you have any reservations returning to the franchise, some sequels can be good, but others aren’t. This one was really scary.
Vera: We didn’t have a choice; we had already signed up for three. (she laughs) But it’s a major incentive for me to work with (Patrick) and I love working with James.
Patrick: I always felt like, if James doesn’t come back we’re going to get some great director because who doesn’t want to be a part of this franchise and this world? The first movie did so well, both commercially and critically, that almost never happens, so I felt like we would be taken care of.
Vera: You know, it’s very difficult for lightning to strike again in that same place, so you can’t think about, ‘Oh it’s a sequel, people are going to judge it a certain way.’ You can only stay true to your characterization.
A priest blessed the set before shooting began, was that because there were paranormal incidences while shooting the first movie?
Patrick: We were not there, but they did bless the set when we started.
It can’t hurt. A couple of squirrely things happened on the first one.
Patrick: I remember one of the young girls got bruises all over her body.
I didn’t talk about this at all doing press for the first movie, because it happened to a kid and I, as a parent, was like, ‘I’m not going to trivialize it just for a good article.’
It wasn’t until we were on the press line for the first film that I heard her talking about it, and I said, ‘Okay, I guess we can talk about it.’
Kids don’t do stunts in films, so there was no reason (for her to have bruises). You go through, ‘Are you anemic?’ ‘No,’ ‘Did anybody hit you?’ ‘No.’ (The bruises) just went away towards the end of shooting. She never had that before or afterwards.
What was the scariest or most difficult scene to film for you?
Vera: Finding the audacity in that final banishment (of the demon) was probably the most difficult thing.
Patrick: It was awesome. When she was up against the wall, it was great.
Vera: Thank you. Just physically, because you’re hanging from a couple of hooks, and yet you’re supposed to be coming forward, so that push and pull of energy (was hard).
To be honest with you, who knows how to banish a devil? It’s tough because it’s operatic stuff, and you want to be earnest in it or it’s not going to work.
Patrick: The same sequence, being in that room for days on end, hanging out of a window, because even though you’re cabled in, you don’t want it to be too easy.
You want to get to the point of physical exhaustion just so it looks right. So you’re trying to find that sweet spot of pain and performance.
You’ve signed on for three films, this is getting great reviews already, are they already talking to you about the third one?
Patrick: I did hear James sneak out something the other day, he has an idea.
And it will be a real case again?
Patrick: Oh yeah, they had thousands of them. We’re going to have thousands of movies. (he roars with laughter)
Footnote: After seeing the film at Warner Bros I came home and turned on my TV, put the remote down on a table, and 5 seconds later the TV went off by itself – yikes!
The Conjuring 2 Soundbytes
I asked Patrick and Vera if they had had any paranormal experiences? Click here to listen to their replies.
I asked Frances O’Connor and Madison Wolfe which was the scariest scene to shoot?
Check back tomorrow to hear these….