With James Wan’s The Conjuring sweeping (and spooking) all before it at the US box office and UK filmgoers getting a serious frightening from this Friday, Empire’s curiosity has been piqued. What makes a $20m film recoup its budget in less than a weekend and go onto make nearly $100m in less than a fortnight? Is it a talented director with a track record in low-budget, high-concept filmmaking? Good old-fashioned storytelling? A seasoned cast selling the scares? Then we realised: it’s witchcraft! So we went along to the film’s press junket in San Francisco to burn everyone involved.
The Conjuring easily won the box office this weekend with $41.5 million and a sequel is looking likely. During the Bates Motel interview sessions at Comic-Con yesterday, Vera Farmiga let us know that she’s already signed on for another movie.
Vera Farmiga joined our table to discuss the first and upcoming season of Bates Motel, but also had a chance to talk about The Conjuring. While we’ll post the full interview soon, she mentioned that both her and Patrick Wilson signed a deal that included the both of them appearing in a sequel. It wasn’t mentioned if the same was the case with James Wan, and we’re hoping to have more details soon.
Previously: After all the positive reactions from early screenings ofThe Conjuring, New Line is expecting to have a big hit on their hands and is already developing a sequel. This news comes from Variety, who also revealed that New Line hopes to build a franchise around the Warrens’ past investigations.
Of course, all of this will depend on how The Conjuringperforms at the box office, so we should have more details on potential sequels next month. The big question is whether or not New Line will wait for James Wan to return. He’s currently involved with the next Fast & Furioussequel and it may be more difficult to get him to commit to a sequel right away.
The Conjuring was directed by James Wan and stars Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Ron Livingston, Lili Taylor, Joey King, Shanley Caswell, Haley McFarland, Mackenzie Foy, Kyla Deaver, and Sterling Jerins. The movie will be released in the US on July 19th and the UK on August 2nd. Missed out on the previous trailers, photos, and poster? Check them out at the following links:
“Before there was Amityville, there was Harrisville. “The Conjuring” tells the true story of Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga), world renowned paranormal investigators, who were called to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in a secluded farmhouse. Forced to confront a powerful demonic entity, the Warrens find themselves caught in the most horrifying case of their lives.”
Has Vera Farmiga been getting into her latest role, or is the role getting into her?
In “The Conjuring,” which is expected to take the number one spot at the box office this weekend after raking in a scary good $17 million on Friday, Farmiga plays Lorraine Warren, a paranormal investigator who is studying a haunted house in Rhode Island. The film was based on the real life adventures of husband-and-wife paranormal researchers Ed and Lorraine Warren (whose work also inspired “The Amityville Horror”), and in an interview with Yahoo! Movies at the San Diego Comic-Con, Farmiga revealed that at least one of the spooky happenings in the story has touched her in real life.
In the New England farmhouse Lorraine and Ed (Patrick Wilson) are investigating in “The Conjuring,” clocks keep stopping at 3:07 a.m., the same time a murder took place in the home. Farmiga insists she now keeps waking up at the same witching hour. “It’s in my subconscious,” Farmiga said. “I know there’s an alarm clock beyond that. It’s a joke now. I look over, I flip over the cell phone, and sure enough, it’s 3:07.”
While Farmiga and her co-star Wilson initially laughed this off as a coincidence, she isn’t taking the matter too lightly. “The things that happened [in the house] were pretty diabolical, and just talking about it conjures up or gives it relevance,” Farmiga said. “You’re dealing with dark, negative mysticism, and I just don’t want to give it more relevance. You don’t want to give it power.”
This isn’t the first time an actor bringing one of the Warrens’ stories to life has had to deal with a similar sinister coincidence. In the 2005 version of “The Amityville Horror,” a noisy ghost makes itself known every night at 3:15 a.m., and Melissa George, who appeared in the movie, found herself similarly waking up at 3:15 a.m. during the production.
“That was scary for me, but I laughed,” George told reporters during the shoot. “I thought it was quite funny.” However, like Farmiga, the experience of the film heightened her belief in the spirit world. “I can’t say I believe in ghosts, but I do believe in something else other than us,” George said. “The supernatural. I think there’s something out there.”
And the real Lorraine Warren doesn’t think there’s anything funny about her work. Warren, now 86, told Yahoo! Movies that the “Amityville Horror” case was the most traumatic she ever dealt with, and that she refuses to set foot in the former Lutz Family home again.
“Amityville was horrible, honey. It was absolutely horrible,” Warren said. “It followed us right straight across the country. I don’t even like to talk about it. I will never go in the Amityville house ever again. You don’t know how long my career is; that’s the only one.”
Farmiga may still be dealing with the spooky fallout from “The Conjuring,” but soon she’ll be returning to another disturbing residence. This week she was nominated for an Emmy for her portrayal of Norman Bates’ mother on “Bates Motel,” which will be coming back for season two in 2014.
I’ve added here and there more pictures to The Conjuring, one of Vera’s latest film projects. Enjoy them in our gallery.
Warner Bros. has released a new trailer for “The Conjuring,” highlighting the Perron family members who are portrayed in James Wan’s tale of demonic possession.
The trailer depicts Roger and Carolyn Perron (portrayed by Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor) and their five daughters in several scary scenes before switching to interviews with the real-life Perrons.
“As I was the youngest and most vulerable,” recalls April Perron. “I was approached more than anyone.”
It’s the third trailer released for the film, based on the work of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. They’re played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga.
“The Conjuring” made its official North American debut last week at the Los Angeles Film Festival. The film opens July 19 and has the earmarks of a potential sleeper hit:
How much do you really get to know a college from an official tour? The pervading opinion is not a lot. But in new film Middleton, a campus visit leads two starkly different parents to get to know themselves – and each other – as they wander off from the tour group.
Shot in eastern Washington at Gonzaga University and Washington State University, Middleton had its world premiere at the Seattle International Film Festival on Friday night. The film, which takes place all in one day at the titular fictional school, stars Vera Farmiga and Andy Garcia as the parents who meet on the college tour. Garcia’s George is a prim and proper surgeon and a father of a teenage son who’s not at all interested in Middleton. Farmiga’s Edith, mother of studious and driven Audrey, is irreverent and free-spirited, though chained down by an unfulfilling job and a stagnant relationship with her husband. The two go from butting heads at a strained first meeting to hitting it off as they run wild around campus and share their fears about facing life alone with their spouses when their kids have left for college.
“I loved Edith,” Farmiga told EW after the premiere screening. “I wanted to be Edith. I wanted her to be my mom. I wanted to mother like her. And there was a lot to be learned from this character.”
Garcia was drawn to his character for the way George reminded him of Jacques Tati, director of mid-20th century French films, a favorite of both Garcia and Middleton director/co-writer Adam Rodgers. “To me [George] is like Harold Lloyd and Jaques Tati mixed into one,” Garcia said. “He’s trying to follow the wake of this tornado of a woman that’s powering through this campus, and he’s just sucked up into her energy.”
One of Rodgers’ own college tour experiences inspired the film. As a teenager, touring 15 New England schools with his father felt like a ritual. “On that last [tour], I was so burned out,” the first-time feature director recalled. “I was on the edge of this tour, and I saw this girl near a fountain carrying her shoes, and I found my 16-year-old self just walking towards her. And we played tour hooky and spent the whole day together.” Now as a father of two (one of whom is heading to college this fall), Rodgers considered the compelling question the film answers: “What was going on with my dad when I was wandering around?”
Though the filmmakers had to drop the original title Admissions when a certain Tina Fey movie came along, Rodgers says he found Middleton to ultimately be a better fit. The name for the fictional college comes from Middletown, Conn., the location of Wesleyan University, where Rodgers played tour hooky. But it also nods to middle-of-life rut Edith and George are both stuck in.
Pacing Edith and George’s relationship required a lot of scaling back of the charge between the two characters. Of working with Garcia, Farmiga said there was “a lot of s—- and giggles. We got close fast.”
Both actors shared the screen with family members in Middleton. Playing Edith’s daughter is Farmiga’s 18-year-old sister Taissa Farmiga (who also appears in SIFF’s closing night film, Sophia Coppola’s The Bling Ring). Building a mother-daughter relationship for their characters didn’t take much of a leap of imagination for the two actresses. “It’s built-in. I’m like her surrogate mom. There’s 21 years between us,” Vera Farmiga explained. “What you see in the film is my love for her.”
Garcia’s 25-year-old daughter Daniella Garcia-Lorido plays Daphne, a Middleton student George and Edith meet when they sneak into the school’s film projection room. After Daphne lets George use her dorm room computer, things take a turn for the dopey when Daphne’s boyfriend pulls out his bong. Soon a stoned George is trying to cheer up an alternatively giggly and teary Edith with some dance moves. The script described the moment as “George dances like an octopus falling out of a tree.” One might think that shooting this scene had to be a new experience for the father-daughter pair, but Garcia joked, “Oh, she’s seen me fall out of a tree as an octopus many times.”
The scene provoked a lot of laughter from the audience on Friday, as did plenty of other comedic moments, including the pieces of trivia from the quintessential annoyingly perky college tour guide (Nicholas Braun). But as George and Edith open up and discover themselves, there were also dramatic moments that got quieter reactions from the crowd. “It was such a treat to listen to the audience listen to the film,” Vera Farmiga said. “They were quite vocal, and in these moments of self-discovery, where these characters make these profound acknowledgements about their lack of eagerness or their complacency or their loneliness, you hear the audience identify with it with sighs and breaths.”
Middleton’s filmmakers will get the chance to observe another audience’s response to the movie at the Maui Film Festival, where it will screen next month. Anchor Bay Entertainment, which also distributed Garcia’s 2009 drama City Island, is aiming for a first-quarter 2014 release.