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.