Currently blazing hot and bright on TV in Bates’ Motel, Vera Farmiga returns to the role of real life paranormal investigator Lorraine Warren, famous during the 1970s for some of the highest profile supernatural cases in the world.
Joining her again as husband Ed is Patrick Wilson in The Conjuring 2, which tells the story of the pair travelling to London to investigate the real life case of the Enfield Poltergeist. The pair talked about playing real people and things that go bump in the night with Moviehole.net in Los Angeles.
As actors how easy does it make it to come back and play characters you’ve already played together?
Vera: It makes it much easier.
Patrick: It’s fun. We have fun. We’re like an old shoe.
Vera: Patrick Wilson is just like an old boot.
You’ve also both been very good in more traditional drama. Is a genre piece like The Conjuring 2 more fun?
Vera: I think we treated it as a traditional drama. It is. It’s a story about a family in peril.
Patrick: Yeah. You start from a realistic place, which is really of course the only place to start, and you know the material is going to be able to support the tender and light moments.
We had a few of those in the first one and we have I think even more in this one. There’s a romantic scene, us in the bedroom in two beds. That gives you sort of a springboard to get into the surreal because you’re following people that you trust, that you know and care about.
Does that make it different or easier to deal with the special effects and other stuff inherent to the genre?
Vera: Well, special effects usually happen after the fact, after we just treated it as a story about a family just helping another family out.
Patrick: Yeah, I mean you still have to play it very practically. I mean, if there are effects then it’s just a conversation about ‘what am I looking at?’ They’ll show us a little bit of the artwork. But in these movies you don’t have too much of that which is nice, it’s usually very practical.
Ed Warren isn’t with us anymore, how did that make it to approach the character?
Patrick: Oh, that’s interesting. I remember when we first did it I realised okay, I don’t look anything like Ed so let’s figure out who or what our Ed is going to look like because it doesn’t really matter, you can take a few things and see what works for the show.
But really we ended up just talking to Lorraine and finding out through Lorraine, through Tony her son-in-law, Judy their daughter, you can get a good idea of how he approached life and that’s really what you want.
Vera: There was a certain swagger he did.
Patrick: Yeah, and you can take that because you want to take what’s useful to the script, not what he did on July 3, you know?
What are your positions on ghosts and the supernatural?
Vera: I don’t have a definitive position only because I don’t have a firsthand experience with anything incredibly negative and imposing. I’ve had little mystical things happen in my life that I tend to see out of the corner of my eye or hear in the night or strange happenstances, but nothing so concrete.
But I have friends and family members who have and I love listening to their testimonies because it’s such an experience.
Patrick: I mean, I’m open to it. I’m an optimist so I probably think they were a positive before they were a negative.
Ed does a great Elvis number in the movie too, which is lovely.
Patrick: Yeah, that was fun. You know, it was the first scene that James wrote when he came back on and I said if we’re going to do this then let’s not make it too slick. There’s nothing worse to me than a movie when someone sings or plays an instrument and all of a sudden they look like, you know, Django Reinhardt playing.
So we tried to find the balance of it’s me playing Ed doing Elvis. The great thing is we had the support from James, from our editors, from our sound department, from Joe Bishara our composer, to record it just there.
There’s no track I laid down afterwards and there’s nobody else playing the guitar. So you get all the bumps and bruises that give it some life.