The biggest horror of the year, THE CONJURING arrived onto Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Download this week in the UK. From acclaimed director James Wan, THE CONJURING follows a pair of paranormal investigators who help a family haunted by a demonic force, only to find themselves trapped in their own horrifying nightmare.
Directed by James Wan (Saw, Insidious) and written by Chad Hayes (House of Wax, The Reaping), this spine tingling supernatural blockbuster stars Vera Farmiga (Bates Motel, Up in the Air, The Departed) and Patrick Wilson (Insidious, Hard Candy, Watchmen) as real life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren; and Ron Livingston (Boardwalk Empire, Band of Brothers) and Lili Taylor (Hemlock Grove, Public Enemies) as Roger and Carolyn Perron. The film also stars Joey King,(White House Down, Oz: The Great and Powerful) Shanley Caswell (Detention, Bones), Hayley McFarland (Mad Men, Lie to Me), Mackenzie Foy(The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn) and Kyla Deaver (The Circle, The Candy Shop) as the Perrons’ five daughters; Sterling Jerins (World War Z, Deception) as Judy Warren; Marion Guyot (Remember The Titans, In The Heat of the Night) as Georgiana; Steve Coulter (Flight, The Hunger Games) as Father Gordan;Shannon Kook (Hunting Season, Degrassi) as Drew; and John Brotherton (Dexter, One Life to Live) as Brad.
Before there was Amityville, there was Harrisville. THE CONJURING tells the true story of world renowned paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, who were called upon 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.
Lili Taylor and Ron Livingston sat down to talk about the film and playing Carolyn and Roger Perron.
Could you tell us a little more about the story? Why do your characters decide to move to the middle of nowhere?
RON LIVINGSTON: It’s that thing that where people get to what they think is going to be the fulfillment of a dream. When I looked into the history of the family, they moved out to the country because they wanted to get away. They had some problems living in the suburbs and they didn’t like the kids getting into a bad element with the neighbor kids. It’s one of those things – careful what you wish for. They wanted to get away from that and get somewhere where they have some solitude. With solitude comes reflection and with reflection, I think, we have to kind of face your demons whether they be inner or outer or sometimes both.
Lili, how enriching or refreshing was it for you to play a character that has to evolve so much and face so many things?
LILI TAYLOR: I loved that she started so normal and not neurotic. She’s just a really good mom, loved her husband and it was a lot of places to go from there. It’s not often we get to explore those aspects to a character. Total light and total dark.
What I thought that is amazing about the film is how you can keep people on the edge with just a little door opening. Were you scared on the set?
LILI TAYLOR: No. I wasn’t scared on the set, but I was probably more in the moment than I have been in other movies because, we worked shooting chronologically and it was all practical effects. So it was happening there. We hear the door slam or hear the door creek or see the glass break and that just helps.
We all learn from movies as part of the audience. I’m sure you learn as actors. What have you learned from The Conjuring, if anything?
LILI TAYLOR: Well, right now, I feel like I’ve had stuff reaffirmed like simplicity, imagination. But what I’m really learning about now is more like James [Wan] just as a director. I feel like he’s doing so much and I’m just trying to articulate what it is exactly that he’s doing. It’s pretty complicated and detailed what he’s doing and I can’t explain it exactly. There’s so much, this movie is packed with scares.
RON LIVINGSTON: Yeah. The movie is overwhelming by the time you get to the third act. Things are coming left and right. And in a way the characters are forced to come to a point where they have to surrender and ask for help. They have to ask the Warrens for help and then they ultimately have to ask God for help. And there’s a real humility in where you want to think that you’re capable and strong and we can fight all these things off. But there’s a humility in the presence of evil and the greater humility in the force of an even greater good.
This is not a typical horror movie with lots of blood. It’s intelligent and a psychological thriller. Is this what attracted you to the project?
LILI TAYLOR: Yeah. It’s reaffirmed my deep beliefs that human beings, we’re intelligent. We have imaginations and just start treating us like that.
RON LIVINGSTON: Not to mention, that blood. I’ve done those movies. It’s corn syrup. They pour corn syrup on you and then you’re walking around with corn syrup for 24 hours a day. It’s not fun.
How did you develop this believable couple with five kids? Did you have a lot of rehearsals so you could feel like a real family?
LILI TAYLOR: Well one thing that they did was they told us that were all having lunch together but we all thought the lunch was with the producers and James and then they just plopped us down in a restaurant and it was just us. It was like an outward bound thing. And it was from the get go – we all just connected and we were just like a family right away.
RON LIVINGSTON: Yeah. I have to say the older that I get, I have more experience to draw on. So we don’t have to necessarily talk about, well, what was it like when we met and fell in love? Because it’s like, I remember what it’s like to fall in love and I know what it’s like to set out and the thing that was new for me is what’s it going be like to the dad of five daughters because I didn’t have any experience with that. And I fell in love with that in a way. That was one of the things that was just magical – was the idea of this could be great, actually, to have a family like that.
Do you think watching the film at home will be just as scary?
RON LIVINGSTON: Ooh, yeah. It could be. I think horror movies work in one’s home but I think for this one, I’d have a buddy.
Don’t watch it by yourself?
LILI TAYLOR: I wouldn’t. Not this one and not for the first time-maybe the second time. Some journalists have seen it by themselves and they all have been a little bit messed up afterwards. So I would say, just have somebody.
This film is getting great reviews. Does it make you feel proud to be associated with a smart horror film?
LILI TAYLOR: Yes. Exactly. Look, the fact a movie gets made is sort of a miracle. Right? But for all the elements to come together in some ways, it’s a once in a lifer. It just really rare and I think all of us are just feeling it and riding and enjoying it. I even told the girls, “girls, this is really good. Just enjoy it”.
RON LIVINGSTON: Right. Because you have one that works and then sometimes you’ve got to go make four or five that don’t.
LILI TAYLOR: Or 15 or 20.
RON LIVINGSTON: You work every bit as hard on those too and they just don’t quite come together so to have one like this where you look at it and you go “we did it” is great.