Vera Farmiga: an actress possessed by her horror character

About to turn 48, Vera Farmiga (that last name reveals her Ukrainian blood) has already shone on Hollywood-scale screens. After achieving success with films such as The infiltrators Y Love without scales –which earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress–, her reinvention as a spiritualist in the saga The spell established her as the Lady of Terror. For that, her role as Norma Bates in the series was fundamental Bates Motel (inspired by the classic thriller Psychosisby Alfred Hitchcock).

When the first installment of the saga The spell –That in addition to Farmiga has Patrick Wilson in the other lead role– it was released in 2013, probably the team behind the film were not aware of the gold mine they had just found.

Directed by James Wan (also responsible for the first The game of fear Y Aquaman), the film quickly became a box office success. A relatively modest $ 20 million budget it reported earnings that exceeded 300 million. Even the criticism, generally dismissive of the pochoclero terror, gave its approval.

It was a solid foundation on which to build an empire, or its cinematic equivalent: an “extended universe”, made up of sequels, prequels, and spin offs. Today seven films – which with the premiere this year of The Conjuring 3 they will become eight – they realize that that potential is more than consolidated.

With Mat Damon. In the feature film "The Departed", 2006.

With Mat Damon. In the feature film “Los Infiltrados”, 2006.

To a large extent, the event of The spell is due to the chemistry that Farmiga and Wilson have on screen, golden duo of horror cinema today. Both embody in the main plot of the films Lorraine and Ed Warren, a real American couple who investigated hundreds of paranormal cases since the 1950s until the beginning of the 21st century.

“Representing the life of Lorraine and Ed is to interpret what they did: their vocation as spiritists, their dedication and that search for freedom that characterized them,” Farmiga explains to Live. The inspiration in Lorraine and Ed gives the saga that hook that the hose “based on real facts” it can only give, although how much one believes in the details of the cases is a matter of faith.

In this new installment, titled The devil made me do it, that struggle between the real and the paranormal reaches new dimensions with the dramatization of a unique case in the Warren history: the first time a murder defendant claimed to be in possession ofl commit the crime.

But we also speak of a certain form of “possession” when we refer to “getting into character”: Vera met the real Lorraine personally, which enriched her delivery as an actress.

-The real Lorraine passed away shortly before filming began. How much did you get to know her?

Lorraine and I had a very special relationship and I miss her. As a team we relied on her a lot and we kept her opinion very much in mind during the first two films of the saga. We spent time together in pre-production, and before we recorded, we always consulted her. Not only did I have a bond with her, so did Patrick. I even think that even though he’s no longer with us, I still have a kind of relationship with Lorraine. I feel his presence when he speaks and when I think of the incredible impact he had on me.

With George Clooney. On "Nonstop love", 2009. She was nominated for an Oscar for her performance.

With George Clooney. In “Love without scales”, 2009. She was nominated for an Oscar for her performance.

-What role did this link play when it came to characterizing her?

-It is important for me to honor his memory. Honor your attributes as a person and the way you lived your life. What I am looking for is to bring its qualities when interpreting it. Qualities that he kept intact until he was 92 years old, which was the age at which he died.

-What attributes and values?

-Lorraine really loved the others and that was very palpable. You just had to sit down with her and talk to notice. He had so much goodness that one could feel it, in addition to a great joy to live. They are qualities that touched me. Especially that love for the other and his sense of compassion. It was a beautiful thing to learn over the years with her.

-After having met Lorraine Warren and having participated in these films, did your way of conceiving the paranormal change?

-I feel that there are possibilities that these paranormal things exist, and I believe that there is both positive and negative mysticism. I also consider that there are energies of good and evil, without a doubt. I spend much more time thinking about mysticism, especially in the negative. I think there are things in this world that cannot be explained. Things that are dark and mysterious. Supernatural.

“I feel that there are possibilities that these paranormal things exist, and I believe that there is both positive and negative mysticism.”

-Did you have any experiences that you would qualify as paranormal?

-I have had strange experiences. I have never seen things, but I have felt them.

-How would it be?

I have perceived phenomena, but nothing was ever physically manifested to me, unlike what has happened to friends and family. I don’t want to have those kinds of experiences either.

-Making these movies, what did you learn beyond mere acting?

-They teach me a lot because I feel that, deep down, they are love stories. Yes, they scare us, there is terror, but also it is a film about love and how it conquers everything. What it reminds us is that we must surrender to this feeling. Especially in a world like today, with so much injustice and darkness. This film has a very beautiful look because it gives us that encouragement we need, in addition to reminding us that love triumphs over all things. Good conquers evil in the balance of the universe.

-It must be strong to check that, in the saga, the age of your character and yours grows at the same time.

-Growing up with my character has been an unforgettable experience. I feel like Lorraine is a great female figure and that she ages with a lot of wisdom and grace. Even with joy though the demonic is always present both in your private life and at work. What I really enjoyed is that this movie delves into the more investigative aspect of the couple as demonologists. We start from the family drama and exorcisms, but this time there is a new air of thriller and crime that is its own. But always the base is that love that I mentioned. Between Ed and Lorraine, but also of them with their creator; his concept of God.

On "Bates Hotel". The series where she was the mother of the psychopath Norman Bates.

At “Bates Hotel”. The series where she was the mother of the psychopath Norman Bates.

-James Wan, director of the first two installments, gave the role to Michael Chaves, who had already ventured into terror with his film The Curse of the Weeping Woman. Did this new director change anything?

-It was a surprise that James did not direct the film, but we felt comfortable because he was still very involved from his facet as a producer and collaborated in the development of the script, which is in charge of David Leslie Johnson, who is always very consistent in his writing. It has been a great process. We were excited that Chaves would take over the leadership and the new components that are introduced in the series. Especially how they shock Lorraine, who is deeply tested. We really see her use her gifts to their full intensity.

God, Satan, good, evil and after.

Besides the terror, the films of the saga reflect on the role of religion and the strength of faith. Vera grew up in a Catholic home: her Ukrainian parents had created a world so closed that she did not learn English until she was 6 years old, when she entered primary school.

The actress continues to recognize herself today as a Christian, but without belonging to a particular church. “What matters most, according to my way of seeing things – he clarifies – is that I believe that God is love. And I think it is important to actively seek that love throughout life. “

-In the saga, both Satanism and Divinity weigh in.

-Yes, everything opposite to that feeling that is love appears … Satan is, in my definition, everything that is opposed to love. It is perversion, sin, and falsehood. Getting to these notions is a job that is built throughout life, and in fact I continue to do so. I focus a lot on my spirituality. For me Satan is negativity; it is greed, deception and cruelty. Also apathy and selfishness, along with inequity and hatred. We all have a path to God and I am on mine. What I am looking for is that unconditional and deep love.

“Satan is, in my definition, everything that is opposed to love. It is perversion, sin and falsehood ”.

-One of the great novelties of the film is that it escapes the formula of the haunted house. How was this change?

-To represent the life of Lorraine and Ed is to interpret what they did. That is, their vocation as spiritists. The first two films show that dedication and search for freedom that characterized them, but within the confines of family life. In the second film, we see them fly to England, in modest economy class, but even then the structure was similar. Now we see Lorraine face a new challenge: she meets an insidious opponent; an evil rival to his height.

-What do you keep from that twist in the plot?

-I think now Lorraine is forced to dive into her cognition and her abilities as a clairvoyant. We see new aspects of it and we learn a lot about their way of thinking. Tests your skills and she must learn to use them to determine whether the impulses that come to her come from the divine or from what is opposed to the divine. All of these facets of Lorraine were so exciting to play.

-Do you feel that this ability to challenge herself is what makes her such an interesting character for the audience?

-In a way I see her as a superhero. But what makes her different is that you don’t have to wear a cape to be one. Her armor is of another type: it is spiritual, which is a quality that women look for, whether we know it or not. From a young age, a lot of emphasis is placed on our physical development and the ideals that accompany it. But I think that as we grow, many of us seek to develop in another way: spiritually.

Like Lorraine. On "The spell". plays the role of a clairvoyant.

Like Lorraine. In “The Conjuring”. plays the role of a clairvoyant.

-Does the character of Lorraine embody that fight?

-Yes. We see Lorraine do these things shielded by her faith.

-It seems impossible to fight against evil while avoiding falling into evil, right?

-I love that contradiction of facing evil without having to get out of good. She battles evil entities across the board of his life, but he always does it from love. And I support her.

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