Patrick Wilson insists The Conjuring 3 is 'not just another haunted house movie'
Horror threequel costars Vera Farmiga and John Noble.
In The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (out June 4), Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga reprise the roles of real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren which they played in the first two Conjuring films and 2019's Annabelle Comes Home. But Wilson insists this is a very different tale. "They're usually very tight movies, this casts a much wider net," says the actor.
Directed by Michael Chaves, the film concerns the couple's involvement in the case of Arne Cheyenne Johnson (Ruairi O'Connor) who, in real-life, claimed he was demonically possessed at the time he fatally stabbed his landlord in 1981. Johnson was previously present at the exorcism of a young boy named David Glatzel (Julian Hilliard) in which the Warrens had also been involved. Over time, the facts of the incident would be hotly disputed, and The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It uses the case as a launchpad for all manner of fictional frights.
Below, Wilson and Farmiga talk more about The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It and their future with the franchise.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What can fans expect from The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It?
PATRICK WILSON: Let's see, we're a few years older, a few years wiser, and immediately, we're called into a much different case than we've ever dealt with. We start with an exorcism, which is something that was absolutely true and they were trying to help the Glatzel family. Very quickly that transpires into an actual homicide, so all of a sudden we're in a different land than we've been in with any of these other Conjuring films. It's a life lost, and all that that entails, and now we're involved in the court system and the police are involved so. [This] is something that was a very conscious choice of like, we can't go back and do a haunted house or another family with a demonic possession and hold up crosses and damn the devil to hell, although I think I do that. [Laughs]
We push these guys forward. Both in their own lives separately and as a couple they're in a much different place. Ed has some very difficult physical problems that he's dealing with. But ultimately, through all this darkness and homicide, there's also an extreme romance. That's really the fun for us, we can play both sides of this, because the darker we go then the lighter and the more loving we can go as a couple. So that's what you get!
You two are definitely one of the more believably romantic onscreen couples, which is remarkable given that you don't really think of these movies as romantic films. Vera, what is it like coming back and working with Patrick and playing this role?
VERA FARMIGA: It's twofold. It is comfy but it's also uncomfortable because they're constantly challenging us. Look, we're in it to portray this couple who has this incredible unity and who are a team. It's a team game and they constantly need to produce a win together and they balance each other out so beautifully. As esoteric as she is, he's practical, and they need each other, and the love stems from that, these two people just clinging to each other. And it is a love story. It's a love story between them and their higher power, it's a story about love for each other, love for the people that they help.
It was awesome for me this time around. Lorraine's been filtering messages from the divine for a couple of films now but this was really really super fantastic for me. She gets put to the test in many new ways, and we really start getting into the intricacies of her clairvoyancy, and there are new facets that I got to explore: post-cognition, remote viewing, psychometry, all of these different ways of discernment. But, yeah, the love. There's a lot of love in this one! Every marriage has its ups and downs but the demons are a real downer in this marriage! But they're in it together, right?
I want to see a film where your charcters go to therapy and start talking about the "demons" in their marriage. And the therapist is like, "Oh, well, all couples have demons…" And you're like, "No, these are actual demons."
WILSON: No, I want to do like the Ewok Family Christmas Special version of Ed and Lorraine where it's not a horror movie, you just see them in some indie drama, just trying to, yeah, go to a therapist and they try to unpack all that's going on in their life. Meanwhile, the daughter's there like, "You guys always leave me!" [Laughs]
Some of the Conjuring universe movies are entirely made up out of whole cloth but this one is inspired by a real incident, a real court case. How much did you look at the actual case?
WILSON: Yeah, we always look at it for research. I mean, look, you're playing real people. I don't judge anybody involved. I like to read every side of it that I can. I'm not sheepish about, well, I only want to read his side of it. I want to read everything that was going on then. Yeah, I think it's fascinating. And then you can hear recordings, because they recorded a lot of the exorcisms, attempted exorcisms, with young David Glatzel, and we have some actually at the end of the movie. Yeah, [I] listened to a lot of those, and you read what you can. But, of course, all that being said, you read all that through the eyes of your script. What serves our movie? It's like, that's the way we view our marriage in this. I'm less concerned in how Ed and Lorraine were in real life, trying to figure out their intimate details actually does me no good. Know what our relationship needs to be for the purpose of our movie, and that's a very idyllic union, and that's so wonderful to play, and that's what I put my faith in.
Will we see you playing these roles again?
WILSON: [To Farmiga] I'm letting you answer.
FARMIGA: [Laughs] We don't know! We don't know! Clark, I hope so!
WILSON: If people see the movie, if there's a demand for it, sure.
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It costars Sarah Catherine Hook and John Noble. The film hits theaters and HBO Max on June 4. Watch the trailer above.
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