On The Set Of The Conjuring, James Wan Is Growing Up But Still Scaring You
In the story the cellar--which you can see in the image above-- is a space the Perrons didn't even know existed until they moved into the house, and in real life the mysterious haunting only begins when the family opens up the closed-off cellar and fireplaces. The movie version of the cellar is a bit smaller than the one that really existed, according to producer Cowan, but it more than holds its own as fuel for nightmares, crammed with rusted old tools and mysterious mirrors and shadowy corners you can't really see even when you're in there. Production designer Julie Berghoff, stopping herself from giving away too much of the plot, revealed only that there's "a lot of action" in the cellar, and she paid attention not only to making it perfectly spooky, but perfectly lived-in as well. Beams of the ceiling are made to look like old reclaimed telephone poles or logs, the walls were painted to look as if they'd been replastered many times, and as for all the scary props? "Everything in there has a back story, believe it or not."
Standing on the hard-packed dirt floor of the cellar is legitimately creepy-- it's hard to imagine anyone going about their daily business in there-- and while no one on set seems actively scared of it, most of them are happy to talk their encounters with the supernatural since production began in February. Producer Rob Cowan and screenwriters Chad and Carey Hayes recount what happened when the actual Perron daughters visited the set, and how when one of them glimpsed the witch in costume, she promised "Something really bad is going to happen out here today." Hours later, the real Carolyn Perron, who was the only living family member not to visit the set that day, fell and broke her hip. "Literally she said this is Bathsheba, the witch, doing something to her," Cowan recalled, with the fervor of someone retelling a spooky ghost story." Producer Peter Safran remembers sending the script to Vera Farmiga via e-mail, only for her to tell them that when she woke up the next morning, there were three deep scratches on her computer screen, hours after she had been reading the script. And though Wilson doesn't seem too swayed by reports of the supernatural on the set, to play believer Ed Warren he had to embrace some of the man's beliefs-- "When I'm Ed, I believe." Later today we'll bring you complete interviews with Wan and his cast, along with more details from the production team and screenwriters about how the moody details of The Conjuring came to exist, from construction the gnarled tree from which Bathsheba hanged herself to how Patrick Wilson somehow managed to pick a ring for Ed Warren that looked exactly like one that belonged to his own father (spooky!). The Conjuring arrives in theaters on July 19, riding on some spectacularly great buzz. You can check out the full trailer below, and come back later today for our interviews with the cast and crew.
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