Movies

Wilson and Farmiga reunite for more scares on The Conjuring 2

James Wan is once again at the helm following the record-breaking success of 2013’s The Conjuring, bringing to the screen another real case from the files of renowned demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren.

Reprising their roles, Oscar nominee Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson, star as Lorraine and Ed Warren, who, in one of their most terrifying paranormal investigations, travel to north London to the populous borough of Enfield to help single mother Peggy Hodgson (Frances O’Connor), who’s raising four children alone in a house plagued by malicious spirits. 

The Conjuring 2 opens here Jun 9.

DYNAMIC DUO: Vera Farmiga (L) and Patrick Wilson (R) as Lorraine and Ed Warren. PHOTO: WARNER BROS.

Patrick, this is your fourth movie with director James Wan. What’s it like coming back and working with him again?

PATRICK WILSON: We have a shorthand. I’ll do anything with him. He has such a passion for film-making. He’s very intuitive with characters. There’s a comfort level.

James knows I demand the most of myself – that I’m not going to just walk through a scene; I’m going to push myself. I think that gives him energy as well. I think that’s one of the reasons I love working with him.

I genuinely enjoy working with James. We have a great time. We know when to dig in and go to work and we know when to just have a laugh. I think that’s vital. 

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What about you, Vera? Why do you think James’ movies have such a profound effect on audiences? 

VERA FARMIGA: James is a wizardry combo of technical savvy, emotional profundity and terrifying imagination. It’s the blend of all three that makes him such a hotshot storyteller. It’s his easy-breezy humorous bedside manner and his big heart that make him so appealing to me as an actor.

We have a wonderful shorthand this time around. He knows to direct me like a dancer, often with choreography and physicality and tempo. For me personally, a large part of creating the scares is oftentimes approaching it as a dance, considering every little movement, every head turn, every step, every breath.

James will tell me to linger two more seconds here, or slow my pace there. I find wonderment in working with him – in the emotional and physical choreography of it all, ‘Whirl there, pirouette there, leap there, flicker here…’

Director James Wan (centre) on the set on The Conjuring 2. PHOTO: WARNER BROS.

Both of you have such great chemistry on screen. What was it like to reunite in the roles of Ed and Lorraine and further build on the bond you both created so authentically in the first film?

FARMIGA: Patrick and I also have great chemistry off-screen. What is chemistry but rapport – it’s friendship; it’s attraction. I’m attracted to his goodness, his goofiness, his willingness. He is a radiant spark of a human being and, frankly, he lights me up like few can; he makes me shriek with laughter. Reuniting with him this time around for The Conjuring 2 was even more jocularity and mirth. We ease into buffoonery and antics as soon as you throw us together.

Reprimanding us won’t help. It’s like adding baking soda and vinegar together – it just gets frothy and fun. We’ll get the job more than done, but not without a thousand wisecracks. I love to pull that guy’s chain, and he loves to pull even harder on mine.

WILSON: Yeah, well, I rarely say I have favourites because I’ve worked with some amazing leading ladies, but, next to my wife, she’s certainly my favourite lady to work with. It also helped with Vera that I knew her socially and as my wife’s director and co-star in Higher Ground. So I knew her on set, through my wife, and around the business before we worked together. I think that really helped. 

Had you ever heard of the Enfield Haunting case before you got involved in this film?

WILSON: I had seen a couple of the pictures of the girls in mid-air and (British paranormal investigator) Maurice Grosse, but probably only as a result of the first movie, to be honest. But I hadn’t specifically heard of the Enfield case.

FARMIGA: What really provokes me about the real life events that occurred in the Enfield Haunting was the duration of time that the infestation/possession endured. The Hodgson family was tormented for years and years; they suffered through, coped with, and weathered years and years of spiritual, mental, physical, emotional anguish. How anyone puts on a brave face and perseveres through such harrowing, searing, relentless distress and trauma is beyond my comprehension. And how anyone agrees to revisit that gloom and fear in the form of a film is sheer audacity to me.

SPOOKY: Madison Wolfe plays Janet Hodgson in The Conjuring 2. PHOTO: WARNER BROS.

What was it like for you to work with Madison Wolfe, who plays Janet?  This is a pretty intense role for her …  

FARMIGA: The Conjuring 2 is a declaration of the tornado of talent, ability, and craft that is Madison Wolfe. Madison is a revelation as Janet.

She has a savoir faire of storytelling that is beyond her years and experience. Her inventiveness, her finesse, her ease, her imagination, and her access to emotional depth are unlike anything I’ve seen at such a young age. It’s mind-blowing.

What do you hope audiences experience when they see ​The Conjuring 2?

WILSON:  I want them to be scared; that’s sort of the point here. But more than that – even more than the first one – this movie has tremendous heart. You will have people not only frightened, you will have people smiling, you will have people laughing, you may have the odd person cry. 

There’s a great romantic story in here as well. That’s what sets the movie apart. You will care about these people, watching this family go through this. And, at the same time, you will be genuinely freaked out (laughs).

 

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