Over the weekend, ShockTillYouDrop.com had five minutes to chat with director James Wan at WonderCon in Anaheim, California. There, he was presenting a couple of promo clips from his next feature film The Conjuring (get a detailed account of the clips here). Vera Farmiga (Bates Motel) and Patrick Wilson (Insidious) star in the film as Lorraine and Ed Warren, paranormal investigators who are called upon by a family experiencing a dark force in their farmhouse.
After the jump, Wan talks to us about straddling the fine line of indie and Hollywood filmmaking, moreover, the impact it has on his horror projects. He also delves into the similarities and differences between doing a film like The Conjuring and the similarly-themed Insidious, and, he chats about the film’s alternate title.
Shock Till You Drop: You’re working with a larger budget than what you had on Insidious – did this impact how you delivered the scares and play with things visually?
James Wan: I think I realized from doing The Conjuring and dropping down to a more indie schedule, I think I’m done with the indie world. I have great visions for both movies, but with one you can pull it off and on the other hand it’s a bit trickier to pull things off. I think part of the reason why The Conjuring is playing so well is having the budget to do it right and having the schedule to do it right allows me, as a filmmaker, to show folks I’m not this rough film student guy. [laughs]
Shock: When you got into The Conjuring, you’re back in a house in tight confines. Again, similar territory – was that daunting?
Wan: It was because when I jumped into The Conjuring, I had just finished Insidious. They’re not the same kind of film, but logistically, it took place in the same environment. I think that’s a good thing, because when you make a movie like this, it takes place in a context that everyone can relate to. Here, you have a family with the trouble they find in their house. When you start making movies about big robots and monsters, [laughs] it’s a bit harder to relate to or intimate. But for these kinds of movies, that’s what it should be.
Shock: You’ve got Vera Farmiga here as well as Patrick Wilson again – how did you convince him to head back into the realm of the supernatural?
Wan: I’m speaking for Patrick here [laughs] but he had a great time working with me and I had a fantastic time working with him as well. So, the chance to basically do what we just did but on a real budget was fun. We got to know each other’s groove. I think he’s an amazing actor. And this is something different. I also think he liked the idea of playing a realistic character, the same for Vera as well. Once she knew who Lorraine was, she was like ‘This girl is amazing…’
Shock: There was an alternate title for this film, “The Warren Files,” which – to me – seemed cool because then you could do more films about Ed and Lorraine taking on other cases. What happened to that title?
Wan: Initially, the title was The Conjuring and when I came on board I didn’t quite get what that meant, but I started thinking “What about something like The Warren Files?” But after doing research, The Conjuring made more sense and I got to know what it was. It also doesn’t lead to any expectations, it’s sort of neutral.