While she plays a woman who becomes demonically possessed in the new horror thriller “The Conjuring,” actress Lili Taylor says in real-life, she’s skeptical about the idea of it happening in real life — despite the fact the film is based on a true story.
“I still would send the subject to a psychiatrist first instead of a priest,” Taylor told me in a recent interview. ‘That’s my feeling. My feeling is it’s in the mind. I would go the psychiatric route before I’d go the Vatican route.”
Set in 1971, “The Conjuring” tells how Ed and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson) helped out the Perron family — Carolyn (Taylor), Roger (Ron Livingston) and their five daughters — who encountered dark forces in after they moved into an old farmhouse in Harrisville, Penn.
Slideshow: Movies about possession, exorcism
While she’s not completely buying into the idea of possession, Taylor, 46, admitted that some of the research she did was unnerving; particularly YouTube videos of purported exorcisms, but it was a necessarily evil — so to speak — to get into the head of a possessed person.
“I needed to know more about exorcisms, and physically what happens, vocally what happens. I needed to know what exactly these people went through,” Taylor told me.
No matter her personal feelings on the matter, there’s no question that Taylor’s depiction of possession is frighteningly real. Knowing viewers would be apt to compare her performance to Linda Blair’s horrifying portrayal of Regan MacNeil in “The Exorcist,” Taylor and Wan decided it was best distance themselves from the iconic film as much as they could and interpret the possession their own way.
“I love ‘The Exorcist’ and watch it once a year, so I know the movie quite well,” Taylor explained. “But James and I made a conscious decision together to do it different. What I liked, though, is that James wanted to be different not for the sake of being different, which wouldn’t have had much meaning. There was really meaning behind what he was doing. For instance, in one scene, putting a sheet over me was very smart because there are so many other instances where the person is seen. This way, the viewers’ imagination is allowed to go wherever. It was unique.”
“The Conjuring” opened at No. 1 at the movie box office over the weekend with $41.5 million in estimated ticket sales, BoxOfficeMojo reports.
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