Coming Soon Visits the Set of Annabelle Comes Home!
The first Annabelle film took place immediately prior to when we first met her in The Conjuring. The second dialed the clock back further and gave us the doll’s origin story. Now, the third Annabelle film takes place once the doll comes home to the Warren house…
Annabelle Comes Home starts where The Conjuring starts, with the nurses who were attacked by the Annabelle doll. Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) take the doll home and put her in their artifacts room. They leave daughter Judy (McKenna Grace) with babysitter Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman) for the weekend. Mary Ellen’s friend, Daniella (Katie Sarife) comes over, Annabelle gets out, and the three girls are terrorized.
As seems to be the trend on horror sets nowadays, Annabelle Comes Home had a set blessing the week before a small cadre of journalists came to visit. After a series of weird events took place on the sets of previous Conjuring Universe films, ranging from the random appearance of runes in different locations, to lights turning on and off for no reason, a priest was brought out to bless the set. He also gave a special blessing to Grace, Iseman, and Sarife, as well as rosaries blessed by Pope Francis. Iseman didn’t have any weird incidents on set, but Grace says that during rehearsals when she would step foot on set, her nose would start pouring blood.
“Whenever I walked off stage, to go to the bathroom to get tissues, it stopped.”
While the other girls are big fans of horror films, Sarife is a self-described “baby” when it comes to scary movies.
“I think the Conjuring films are terrifying, so I was a little bit scared coming into it,” Sarife tells us. “But everyone has put me at ease.”
She keeps her rosary in her sock so it is always nearby. Ironically, Sarife says that dolls are her biggest fear, ever since she was a child. While she admits that working on this film has helped make the Universe slightly less spooky, “I feel like you can never really get unscared of the doll. Every time I look at it, I still freak out. It’s easier than you would think and less spooky than you would think [to be in this film]… but I wouldn’t want to be left alone with the doll.”
Annabelle lives in a glass cabinet with a warning sign, inside the Warrens’ artifacts room. Loaded with a variety of cursed and possessed items from their adventures, marking the third time production has had to build the artifacts room. Based on the original designs used to build the artifacts room in The Conjuring, this artifact room includes a working trap door that falls into darkness, giving production the option of having another scary place to have monsters hide. When we were there, the alcove hadn’t been used yet, and it wasn’t in the script, but production designer Jennifer Spence included it “just in case.”
Virtually the entire film takes place in the Warren home which was built on the same stage they used for Annabelle: Creation. Spence promises us plenty of Easter eggs to keep fans of The ConjuringUniverse on their toes. The only one she showed us is a painting in the living room that is a replica of the house from Annabelle: Creation. Patrick Wilson requested this painting specifically, and Spence had a few hours to create it. She made sure to do it in Ed Warren’s style (the real Ed was a painter), and includes a silhouette of Annabelle in the window.
We see them filming two scenes today. In the first, Judy is praying in her parents’ bedroom when Mary Ellen checks on her. Judy says that she sometimes sees things like her mom does, and begs her not to tell anyone. In the second scene, Daniella sneaks into Ed’s office and is watching a home movie. Daniella is obsessed with a wedding dress that causes brides to stab their grooms (sounds like the set-up for another movie) and decides she wants to watch an exorcism.
Grace was excited to meet the real-life Judy Warren. “It was very exciting. I flipped out,” the young actress enthuses. She was equally excited about meeting Wilson and Farmiga. “I met them, then I went to the school room and cried because I was so excited.” Wilson and Farmiga are described as having “more than a cameo,” but not quite enough to be considered supporting roles.
Iseman also loved working with Farmiga and Wilson, but has been a little on edge about working with Annabelle. “We just recently did our first scene with Annabelle. It wasn’t even me; it was Katie’s scene. I was just watching it, but it’s scary,” says Iseman. Her first interaction with Annabelle was when she had a meeting with director Gary Dauberman. “I got my first meeting with Gary and she’s just chilling in his office. It was scary.” Despite being a self-professed horror fan, Iseman thinks that, when they start shooting the “really scary stuff,” she will go home and sleep with all the lights on. “Some things are easy to turn off; I feel like this will be harder.”
Annabelle Comes Home hits theaters on June 28th.