LOS ANGELES—“There were some weird things that happened on the set,” Vera Farmiga revealed to us while recounting the shoot of “The Conjuring,” director James Wan’s horror-thriller. “One girl in particular experienced the very thing that physically happens to the Carolyn (played by Lili Taylor) character in the film.”
Added Vera during this interview at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in San Francisco: “Fire alarms would go off. And these weird things would happen to me. It was always a claw scenario. Check this out. I texted this photo to Patrick the day after. That’s my thigh (she showed us a photo on her mobile phone of three red scratches on her skin). It happened the day after we started filming. I don’t know what happened… unless I had a mosquito bite and I scratched it with three fingers.”
She continued: “I had this same conversation with James. We had a creative conversation about Lorraine (her character) and the approach to the character. I had done some research. After our conversation, we opened up a computer screen on which appeared three slashes. Then they disappeared—a little odd thing.”
Vera’s character is based on Lorraine Warren, a real-life clairvoyant and paranormal investigator who, with her late demonologist husband, Ed (played by Patrick Wilson), worked on the case of Carolyn and Roger Perron (Ron Livingston), who claimed their Rhode Island home was haunted. Set in the 1970s, “The Conjuring,” praised by The New York Times’ Manohla Dargis as “a fantastically effective haunted-house movie,” is directed, without the aid of CGI (computer-generated imagery), by James. The film opened to strong box office numbers last weekend.
James, who was born in Malaysia and raised in Australia, is one of the few filmmakers of Asian descent actively working in Hollywood. The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology alumnus’ previous credits include “Saw” and “Insidious.” He will direct “Fast & Furious 7,” which is in preproduction.
We asked Vera, Patrick (who was also directed by James in “Insidious” and the coming “Insidious: Chapter 2”), Ron and Lili about their director, who’s fast making an impact in Tinseltown.
What’s interesting in the stars’ answers is how they all likened James to a masterful musical conductor.
I love James’ attitude. I don’t think I would have ended up doing the project if James ended up being some sort of a creepy, dark dude. But he’s got lightness and effervescence, and a real playfulness, a childlike quality that made this experience wonderful.
The research was creepiest for me and the most harrowing. James is a real maestro. He’s very successful because he really treats it (filming) musically, like he’s some lunatic conductor. It has to do with tempo, and not being afraid of silences. He has really mastered pacing and tempo, and does not relying on gimmicks and CGI to do those scares.