James Wan On ‘The Conjuring 2’ And Choosing Between Directing Aquaman Or The Flash

Senior Entertainment Writer
06.07.16
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Getty Image / Warner Bros.

Could you imagine having your choice of directing a movie about The Flash or a movie about Aquaman? On the surface, most people would probably pick The Flash, right? Ahead, James Wan reveals that he had exactly this choice to make and explains why he decided to take the, let’s say, less conventional choice. And, yes, he knows you make fun of Aquaman – and that’s exactly why he chose the way he did.

But, we are getting ahead of ourselves. This week, Wan is returning to his horror roots with The Conjuring 2, a sequel to the massive blockbuster of a first film that grossed $318 million in 2013. Wan returns to horror after directing Furious 7, a critical and financial hit that, as Wan admits, was a difficult film to make (for numerous reasons, including the tragic death of star Paul Walker). As Wan says ahead, he felt reinvigorated to tell another story from the case files of Ed and Lorraine Warren (played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga), this time with a case of the supernatural that takes place just outside of London.

Ahead, Wan explains just why he felt he had one more story to tell with the Warrens (and how Warner Bros. convinced him to keep his 134-minute runtime), and Wan reveals why Aquaman, for him, was the obvious choice over The Flash.

I am not a big horror fan. Why do people like me like the Conjuring movies?

Listen, I think that’s the biggest compliment that these movies can have. I do think it’s partly because people love that they have real characters and it takes time to tell people’s stories and it’s not just about the scary set pieces, and the human element is what resonates with a lot of people.

In a lot of horror franchises that have more than one movie, we follow the villain. Here we follow the Warrens.

Yeah, you’re right. I didn’t really think about it from that perspective, but it’s usually

Freddy Krueger…

Or the Jason or the Michael. Usually those are the characters that you franchise from, not the victim. But I think in some says, that’s the testament of these two characters – they work somewhat like superheroes.

There’s only so many times we can watch Jason Voorhees kill people before an audience is like, “We get it.”

Well, when you’re a silent killing machine, there’s not a lot of character development you can expand on, right?

And sometimes that is tried, but I’m not sure that really works.

Exactly. You don’t want Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers to have too much of a backstory that removes the mystery of what makes them scary, right?

The way you handle religion in these movies is interesting. Ed and Lorraine are religious, whereas audience members might not be. But it never feels “preachy,” even though their faith is very much part of the characters.

I totally get it. Believe me, I definitely do not want to make a preachy movie at all. You know, faith is such a big part of who the Warrens are, so it’s not something I can sidestep. So I decided to wholeheartedly embrace it. It’s what they use to combat the things that they do. So I wanted to treat it as a character point of who they are – and that’s all it is. And it was something I was very mindful of: I don’t want it to be a commentary on religion, it’s just another part of the storytelling.

I just saw that the Amityville house is for sale.

[Laughs.] Yeah, everyone is sending me that story.

You should buy it.

You know, it would be great if the studio would just rent it for a day or two and did press from the house.

I would not go.

Come on, it would be fun! Just to go in and feel it out!

You and I have very different definitions of “fun.” I can live my life just fine without ever entering that house.

You’re afraid you might have some evil entity latch onto you and you bring it back with you. I totally appreciate that.

I’d rather not take the chance.

I’m the same. That’s the reason I don’t play with shit like Ouija boards or anything like that, because there’s no reason to tempt the universe.

Why risk it?

Exactly. Why risk it?

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