Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor aren’t really the first names that would leap to mind if you asked me to name horror stars, but that’s precisely what makes them such potent casting in James Wan’s terrifying “The Conjuring,” which opens this Friday.
We held a special screening of the film a few weeks back, and Ron was good enough to come do the Q&A with me after the film. He’s a great spokesman for the film and a really easy interview, all things considered. I think of Ron as one of those great utility actors, a guy you can plug in anywhere who will give you a grounded, honest performance. He’s having a particularly great summer, though, between this and his work in Joe Swanberg’s wise and well-observed “Drinking Buddies,” and it’s great talking to someone as they’re in the middle of a completely deserved victory lap.
Lili Taylor has always symbolized, to me, the very best of what we should expect from film actors. She throws herself into her films whole-heartedly, and I find myself dazzled time and again by choices she makes, both large and small. As important as everyone in the film is to the success of “The Conjuring,” I would argue that Taylor has the most pivotal role in the film. She is at the center of the haunting that threatens her family, and when things go bananas in the third act, she is the one who has to be saved before she crosses an unthinkable line.
It’s always easy to discuss craft with actors like these because they’ve been doing it for so long and they do it so well, and they’re not precious about it. It’s not a magic trick. It is something that they’ve worked at, that they do exceptionally well, and that they are more than happy to discuss if you approach the conversation with respect. And when you look at the list of the films both of them have made over the years, summoning that respect is not difficult, not at all.
Enjoy the interview, and then check out “The Conjuring” in theaters this weekend.