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The Conjuring - Vera Farmiga & Lorraine Warren interview

The Conjuring

Compiled by Jack Foley

VERA Farmiga joins Lorraine Warren, the woman she plays in The Conjuring, to discuss the challenges of making the film and some of the scary truths behind it.

Ms Warren also discusses her career and feelings about the film and why each case investigated does leave a mark on her in some way. The Conjuring is released in UK cinemas on Friday, August 2, 2013.

Q. Ms Warren, when you enter a room, do you check it for spectral energy?
Lorraine Warren: Well, sometimes it hits you and I have to wonder what it is. But not in this room so far. And not in my suite!

Q. Vera, were you invited to see the real Annabelle doll?
Vera Farmiga: I had just read The Demonologist, I finished it in time for our first day and I knew everything there is to know, every detail about the Annabelle doll and you can see portraits of her on Google. I was undecided yet if I would visit the Museum of the Occult, but I had wonky feelings about it and I think I had the same approach that Lorraine had – she wouldn’t go down, so I wouldn’t go down! But Patrick did, and I wanted him by my side the way she needed Ed and I needed him to make that trip with me. He’s very practical, he’s salt of the Earth, he possesses these qualities that Ed has. He’s kindly and funny and practical.

Q. Is the doll still causing trouble?
Lorraine Warren: I don’t go in the museum, I don’t do the tours, but my son-in-law Tony, does. I won’t go out there and I have a catholic priest who lives on my property, who after he retired, moved in. He tells me he’s going to bless it every day.

Q. Lorraine, which part of the movie did you enjoy more and Vera, which was the most difficult part to bring to life?
Vera Farmiga: Once I did my research, I was okay. I was confident and I think it all lies in being well equipped and having a good sense of who Lorraine is. The qualities she possesses as a woman, which are so great. She loves people, love animals and has a child-like quality. After seeing such darkness, she still exudes positivity, which is such a great contradiction. After I had a good sense of how Lorraine moves and her hands, which are big a part of that.

Lorraine Warren: My antique jewellery!

Vera Farmiga: You took off your clankers!

Lorraine Warren: Someone said the sound was too much…

Vera Farmiga: All these details, and once you’ve read it all, you’re ready.

The Conjuring

Q. Did you wake up at the witching hour?
Vera Farmiga: I still wake up at 3:07am. I don’t think it has anything to do with anything diabolical! I think it is my own psychic alarm clock. It’s a game I play with myself. I do wake up and it’s almost funny how it’ll be the same time. I don’t have any negative associations with that. In the beginning there was a fear that came with it that I had to pray away, to repel with my own positivity.

Q. Why do we smile when we talk about demons?
Lorraine Warren: I think it’s my comfort zone when I have to talk about it, the demonic spirits, because that’s very hard for me to talk about. My husband was a religious demonologist, I was not. I respected what he did. And I respected that my son-in-law is taking over, but no. I don’t go to that museum with the artefacts if I don’t have to.

Q. In the film, Ed says every encounter takes something from you…
Lorraine Warren: It does, yes. It does take something. It manifests in your weaknesses. They’re not always the same, so you have to command it in God’s name to go back where it came from.

Vera Farmiga: These are questions that I would also ask her, and I wanted to know how she coped, how she came back, ghostbusting at night and the rigours of maternity and I think for her, God is love and whenever she’s depleted, it comes back. It’s her conviction. She’s experienced darkness and she exudes light.

Q. Have you seen the film?
Lorraine Warren: I was really impressed. I loved it. I don’t act the fact that I jumped at moments. I like to be a chicken.

Q. How much of the film is real?
Lorraine Warren: It’s very real.

Vera Farmiga: I think what’s real, and while we’re consolidating months and months of activity and fear into two hours of a viewing experience, James’s responsibility was trying to instil at least 1/1 millionth of the dread that these guys really felt into a movie. I think it’s pretty successful.

Q. Is it a challenge to work on a film like this given the truth?
Vera Farmiga: Yeah, but I know my approach is holy. I’m so fascinated by this woman and her gifts, and how she uses them, and doesn’t deny them even though she was afraid of them as a girl. The only pressure is to come at it with authenticity and respect and gather enough details to do a great job.

Q. Did you read about clairvoyants or mediums?
Vera Farmiga: Yeah. There’s a lot of inspiration.

Lorraine Warren: For me, it comes naturally and I can’t do anything about it. I didn’t grow up in a home where it was even understood, or that I could talk to anyone about it. Then I was educated in private Catholic girls’ schools, so you can imagine what that was like for me, to tell nuns that I could see auras!

Q. Is being a paranormal investigator a popular profession?
Lorraine Warren: It’s not a profession; I’m not getting paid!

The Conjuring

Q. When did you first realise you had this gift?
Lorraine Warren: I was seven years old and that’s when it all started to happen. I didn’t know really what it was. I can still remember right where I was standing and I can remember saying, ‘How am I going to tell mom and dad about this?’ I didn’t know who to talk to.

Q. What did you see?
Lorraine Warren: I could see lights around people. And it showed who you are. The different personalities, the beliefs, religions.

Q. Who did you talk to?
Lorraine Warren: Nobody. I began to be comfortable with it, but I didn’t promote it. If I was asked questions, I answered them.

Q. Do you think Ed would like the movie?
Lorraine Warren: You know, that’s a great question, because I’ve thought about it myself. I thought, ‘Is he going to be critical of this going on?’ Sometimes I think he’s very close to me, very close. I’ve tried to ask him what he thinks about the movie, because he’s not here now, but I don’t have the answer. But Ed said to me one day when we were on the Perron case, we were going back and forth, and he said, ‘this would make a good movie, honey…’ So maybe he’s brought it about?

Q. Do you look at people’s auras all the time?
Lorraine Warren: I try not to. I try to meet people on their own terms first. But I’ll tell you when I used it. I was in New York City and I missed a train. The last train only stopped in Westport, a ways from my house. So when I got off the train I was the only one getting off. It was dark and there was a tunnel. I blessed myself a couple of times. Then this man came out of the shadows and asked if he could help. I saw he had a uniform on. He walked through the tunnel with me, and I remember looking at his aura. I’ve never seen him again, but for some reason, he was a very good person. Thank God…

Q. Would you tell anyone you meet who has a dark aura about it?
Lorraine Warren: No! God, no.

Vera Farmiga: It’s rude!

Read our interview with director James Wan

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The Conjuring is released in UK cinemas on Friday, August 2, 2013.