Brought to life by actress Bonnie Aarons, The Nun is a seriously creepy horror movie villain. The simple concept of corrupted religious iconography is unsettling enough, but the dark eyes and lips, as well as the sharp teeth, just complete the scary package. It works in both The Conjuring 2 and The Nun, where both characters sharing the screen and audiences are meant to be freaked out -- but what's a bit extra funny is that Taissa Farmiga was actually a bit disturbed occasionally simply by her presence on set. She recently told me,
I have to admit, there was a time or two when we were filming in these dark castles, and this specific scene was lit only by a candle. And Bonnie is in full demon nun garb, hair, and makeup, and I had to ask her to just step away for a moment. Because they brought her to set to rehearse the next scene, and we're still doing my thing, and I was like, 'Bonnie, I love you, but I'm just not going to look at you right now. It's too much.'
I traveled down to Mexico City, Mexico late last month to conduct interviews with The Nun's stars and director in a spooky retired convent, and it was while sitting down with Taissa Farmiga and Demian Bichir that I brought up the subject of working with Bonnie Aarons when she was in her full makeup on set. While she didn't seem proud, Farmiga admitted that she did feel a bit uneasy around her co-star, particularly when filming some of darker, atmospheric sequences. It got to a point where it was basically a distraction and she couldn't fully focus on her performance.
As for Demian Bichir, while he admitted earlier in the interview that he isn't really a horror movie guy, he apparently didn't have the same kind of issue (his excuse: "I'm Father Burke!"). He did, however, have nothing but nice things to say about working with Bonnie Aarons, noting that the cast spent a good amount of time together outside of production, and that he had a wonderful time working with her:
We spent a lot of time with her off-set, and being such a beautiful lady, it was a joy. And she's so good in this role! I see a full franchise on her only.
Adding, Taissa Farmiga also heaped praise upon her co-star, going as far as to say that the amount of love Bonnie Aarons has for The Nun was stirring and ultimately had an effect on her own performance. Said Farmiga,
She has such passion for the character. She loves it so much, and it's actually inspiring. It's really fun to work with that sort of energy.
You can watch Taissa Farmiga and Demian Bichir discuss their time working with Bonnie Aarons in full makeup on the set of The Nun by clicking play on the video below.
Directed by Corin Hardy, The Nun is a prequel/spin-off from The Conjuring 2, essentially telling the backstory behind the demon Valak. The story begins when a priest (Demian Bichir) and a postulant nun (Taissa Farmiga) are sent from the Vatican to Romania where they are to investigate a suicide at a convent. What they discover, though, is far more horrific than anything they can imagine.