30 Things to Know from Our Set Visit to James Wan’s THE CONJURING, Starring Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor

     June 26, 2013

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I’m standing in the basement of a farmhouse owned by Carolyn and Roger Perron.  We watch as acclaimed paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren go about their work, attempting to uproot the source of strange behavior reportedly occurring in the Perron house.  Suddenly, Carolyn is lifted up into the air by an unseen force and sent careening through the air, smashing into the basement wall.  Before any more damage can be done, director yells “Cut!” and the stunt performers and actors all go back to one.

Other journalists and myself were on set of James Wan’s newest film, The Conjuring, a 70s-set horror story that centers on the married team of Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) as they investigate paranormal activity in the house of Carolyn and Roger Perron (Lili Taylor and Ron Livingston).  Though it’s far less bloody than Wan’s earlier film Saw, The Conjuring still earned itself an R rating just for being so damn scary.  We’ll have interviews with the cast and crew coming up, but hit the jump for 30 things to know about The Conjuring, opening July 19th.

Here are the 30 things to know about The Conjuring.  Obviously spoilers follow:

  • the-conjuring-vera-farmiga-8The film’s point of view centers on Lorraine Warren (Farmiga), a clairvoyant who can see things that others can’t.
  • Taylor has an extensive stunt sequence toward the end of the film.
  • Screenwriters Chad and Carey Hayes say that Wan and the actors elevated everything that was in the original script.
  • One idea behind the film is its “franchise-ability” since the Warrens have done a number of paranormal investigations.
  • Possible sequels include the Warrens traveling to a foreign land, since they investigated cases in Eastern Block countries, England and Ireland.
  • The central antagonist in The Conjuring is the witch Bathsheba, who cursed anyone who tried to take her land when she hung herself in the 1800s.
  • Numerous deaths have occurred on that land over the years; they are featured in the film.
  • The real Perron family visited the set of The Conjuring.
  • The Warrens kept artifacts from their investigations in an archival room, including the doll, Annabelle.
  • The Conjuring has more in common with classic horror films than gory slasher movies.
  • Wilson and Farmiga traveled to Connecticut to spend time with Lorraine Warren in preparation for the shoot.
  • Cast and crew experienced strange events during filming, such as scratches appearing on Farmiga’s computer after signing on for the film, people inexplicably waking up between 3 and 4 AM (the “witching hour”), and the real-life Carolyn Perron falling and breaking her hip while her family was visiting the set.
  • the-conjuring-lili-taylorThe now-familiar image of the tree came from Wan’s own vision.
  • Wan was adamant about sticking as close to the true story as possible, even to the point of including all five of the Perron daughters.
  • Wan wanted to take the feeling of the original The Haunting and apply it to The Conjuring.
  • Wan and Joe Bishara are trying to find a balance between an atonal sound and Lalo Schifrin’s score for The Amityville Horror.
  • Wan intended to stick close to the 1970s period in terms of the film’s visual style.
  • This is the first project for Wan that didn’t involve Leigh Whannell.
  • Taylor underwent a number of make-up preparations to represent her worsening stages of possession.
  • The Conjuring is also a story about two families: the Perrons and the Warrens.
  • The production initially scouted a number of farmhouses to shoot in, but eventually ended up building the two-story house they wanted.
  • The production team also built a 50-foot tree for the film.
  • The Perron family stayed in the haunted house for ten years.
  • The witch’s ghost was much harsher on Carolyn Perron than Roger.
  • the-conjuring-john-brotherton-patrick-wilson-vera-farmiga-ron-livingstonThe Perrons began to experience more disturbances once they opened up the house’s fireplaces and cellar.
  • The Conjuring was alternatively titled The Warren Files.
  • The Catholic Church used the Warrens as a fact-finding duo who would go on a “discerning,” a mission to determine whether the paranormal event was supernatural or actually demonic.  In the case of a demonic instance, the Church gets actively involved.
  • This is Livingston’s first haunted house movie, though he appeared in the TNT miniseries, Nightmares and Dreamscapes.
  • Wan shot The Conjuring in chronological order.
  • Trivia: The Warrens kept chickens in their house; Ed was a Navy veteran and a painter.

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