Prior to the release of The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, Dorkaholics was invited to the virtual world press conference. Stars of the film (Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, and Ruairi O’Connor), producers (James Wan and Peter Safran), as well as director Michael Chaves were in attendance to discuss bringing this real-life case into the Conjuring world.
Why was this the story that had to be told in the latest Conjuring film?
Michael Chaves: For any franchise to seem fresh or be fresh, there needs to be invention and reinvention. And we wanted to tell a Conjuring story, but in a way that we haven’t seen before. This is in a lot of ways more of a supernatural thriller. We’re taking the Warrens on the road and it’s one of their darkest cases. These are always marketed as the darkest Conjuring film, and I think in so many ways, this really is when you really look at the case, it’s one of the most controversial cases, and I think the whole thing is just so fascinating.
Despite all the strange things going on, Ed and Lorraine Warren always remain in the heart of The Conjuring movies. What do you think it is about the couple that people find so fascinating?
Vera Farmiga: I know what I find fascinating and they’re the personification of love. It is a love story for me. It is more of a love story than it is a horror story to me and that’s what makes it so unique and successful and that’s why I enjoy coming back. I think that the message of love is not only from the Warrens for each other, but for the work that they do, and for the people that they help. That selflessness, that compassion, that embodiment of love is really, really something holy and special, and beautiful.
Patrick Wilson: We were already leaning into character and relationship and love and partnership in these movies. And when you have that you know that you can center around love and it’s our version of Lorraine and Ed. We don’t know how they were behind closed doors. It’s our version of what Ed and Lorraine are. When you know you can center around that, I think in some way it frees you up to go as dark as you want in the other aspects, because you really get to balance it out, because I would say that this film probably is some of the darkest moments of any in the universe. But like you had with the us dancing at the end of the second one, you have those moments in this deep, profound romance. We don’t go halfway with either. You know what I mean? If you’re going to have these terrifying scares that we want to have the most full of love moments because it does become very operatic.
For Ruairi, you had to play a possessed person. Did you use a character from another possession movie as a reference to know how to contour your body, or how to scream?
Ruairi O’Connor: It was a huge challenge for me because I’m very scientifically minded and very cynical. So, I worked with my acting coach a lot to dredge up. Personal demons and stuff like dying of an illness and that kind of thing to really rail against and ground it. But then when I watched the film recently, I was like a 14-year-old kid watching a movie I shouldn’t be watching again. I couldn’t see the mechanics of it and I got to enjoy it like the audience and pried my girlfriend’s hands away from her face, forced her to watch it, Clockwork Orange style.
Was there any apprehension about moving into the 1980s? Since this decade has kind of become a cornerstone for movies and TV in the past five years and what challenges did this bring to the storytelling?
James Wan: We’re doing the raining shot for the ending of Conjuring 2 during a break in photography. I remember going to Patrick and Vera, “you know what you guys, the next one has to be in the 80s.” And I remember Vera coming up to me, “yes, I want big earrings!” So, it just felt like the natural progression because we had spent a lot of time in the 70s.
Peter Safran: We were also driven by the real-life case, so we try to figure out the story that we want to tell and set it in the appropriate era.
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It premieres on HBO Max and in theaters on June 4, 2021.