Patrick Wilson (“Insidious,” “Watchmen”) takes on the role of renowned real-life demonologist, Ed Warren, in New Line Cinema’s critically acclaimed horror-thriller “The Conjuring,” a recent No.1 box-office hit in the U.S.
Before there was Amityville, there was Harrisville. Based on the true life story, “The Conjuring” tells the tale of how world renowned paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) were called upon to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in a secluded farmhouse. Forced to confront a powerful demonic entity, the Warrens find themselves caught in the most horrifying case of their lives.
Wilson was intrigued by the idea of playing a real person in a grave conflict with powers beyond most people’s comprehension. The actor observes, “Ed Warren was a guy whose whole life was geared around being dangerously close to the dark side because he genuinely wanted to help people. He knew the terror they were experiencing could happen to anyone, including them—the ones there to help.”
Vera Farmiga stars alongside Wilson as Ed’s loving wife and preternaturally gifted partner Lorraine, who is swept along with her husband into the violent path of the malevolent presence.
“Vera and I were both fascinated with the character moments and the eccentricities of these people,” Wilson narrates. “Ed is surprisingly sedentary and wanted to dispel the myths. He was very blue collar in that way. And then you have Lorraine, whom we were fortunate to meet. Because of her clairvoyance and her psychic nature, she was very quirky. We were fascinated on a character level. Even the way they spoke, the dialect that he had, the way that they spoke to each other, our outfits, my sideburns … [laughs]. We were like, ‘Let’s push it and see how far we can go.’”
Lorraine was also an important link to her husband for Wilson, who unfortunately never had the chance to meet Ed, who passed away in 2006. Wilson was able to gain invaluable insights and stories from Lorraine, which added dimension to the Warren footage and archives he studied. Wilson was as drawn to Ed and Lorraine’s vibrant relationship and unorthodox calling as Farmiga.
“They were soul mates,” he describes. “They also shared a passion to figure out what the disruptive energy was in a given situation, whether good or bad.”
Director James Wan relates, “Lorraine says that when things got really terrifying and unbearable, the crutch that she leaned on was Ed. That’s very romantic and in a lot of ways, Patrick’s version of Ed is a romanticized one, which I felt was a pretty interesting way to approach it.”
Ed was also versed in the religious aspects of demonology and, as a result, was eminently well respected by clergy. Wilson asserts, “Ed believed that there are wonderful, great spirits in the world and some very evil ones that have been around for thousands of years, and he was going to do the best he could with his wife to fight them and to help people. Ed honestly believed it through and through, so I had to believe that through and through to play him.”
Ed knows that each and every time Lorraine opens herself to interpret the corps of darkness, she is exposing herself to more than physical harm; she’s in danger of losing a little piece of herself. “We see that Ed has this great balance of charm and lightness and humor, but then can go into protective mode. He’ll stop at nothing to defend his wife and his family,” Wilson concludes. “I certainly can relate to that, so it was easy to tap into that side of the character.”
Opening across the Philippines on August 21, “The Conjuring” is a New Line Cinema production and will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.