×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

James Wan’s ‘The Conjuring’ Thrills At L.A. Film Festival

Director cites 'Exorcist, 'Amityville' as influences

On the first night of summer, Warner Bros.’ “The Conjuring” made its official North American debut as an eerie throwback to the 1970s.

“‘We can’t wait to see you guys squirm,” declared Hayley McFarland, who plays one of the five Perron sisters, just prior to ‘”The Conjuring” screening at Los Angeles Film Festival.

SEE ALSO: “The Conjuring” – Film Review

Director James Wan, noting that the film’s release date has been moved back six months to July 19, evoked plenty of laughter during the Q and A following the screening.

“I had forgotten how intense this film is,” he said.

Wan admitted that he was very aware of similar demonic possession films of the era, particularly “The Exorcist” and “The Amityville Horror,” which was also based on the work of “The Conjuring” paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren.

“I didn’t want to make an action film,” Wan noted. “I was trying to exercise restraint … I wanted to stay true to the Warrens and the Perron family and show this through their point of view.”

Wan — whose credits include “Saw” and ‘Insidious” — admitted that he believes “somewhat” in the notion of demonic possession but noted that things were generally light and bright on the North Carolina set once the cameras stopped rolling.

“I run a happy set,” he said at the end of the session. “I’m nothing like the films I make.”

Shanley Caswell, who plays Andrea Perron, agreed with that assessment during the pre-screening bash at Rick’s Place at the Hotel Figueroa.

“I wasn’t able to get much sleep at all because I was too wide awake,” she added. “I’m an adrenaliine junkie — skydiving, bungee jumping, all that.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Naomie Harris Shriek

    'Venom 2': Naomie Harris Eyed to Play Villain Shriek Opposite Tom Hardy (EXCLUSIVE)

    Naomie Harris is in talks to play Spider-Man villain Shriek in Sony’s “Venom 2,” with Tom Hardy returning as the titular anti-hero. Andy Serkis is on board to direct, and Michelle Williams and Woody Harrelson are also reprising their roles. The original film was a huge hit for the studio when it premiered in 2018, [...]

  • David Weisman

    David Weisman, 'Kiss of the Spider Woman' Producer, Dies at 77

    David Weisman, who was Oscar-nominated as producer of “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” died Oct. 9 in Los Angeles due to complications from West Nile virus. He was 77. Weisman had a long career as a graphic designer and photographer and co-wrote and co-directed cult classic “Ciao! Manhattan” about 1960s icon Edie Sedgwick. Born in [...]

  • First still from the set of

    Composer Michael Giacchino on Setting the Right Tone for 'Jojo Rabbit'

    Michael Giacchino is a widely respected film composer, with an Oscar and a Grammy for “Up” and an Emmy for “Lost,” as well as a Grammy for “Ratatouille.” He is stirring up Oscar buzz again with his score for Fox Searchlight’s “Jojo Rabbit,” written and directed by Taika Waititi. Giacchino talked with Variety about the [...]

  • Michael Giacchino Film Composer

    How the 'Jojo Rabbit' Production Team Created a Child's View of Nazi Germany

    When picturing Nazi Germany during World War II, most people think of black-and-white or sepia-toned images of drab cities. For the cinematographer and production designer of “Jojo Rabbit,” a film set squarely in that time and place, it became clear that the color palette of the era was far more varied than they could have [...]

  • Robert Duvall (Oberst Kilgore)

    Studiocanal Steps Up its Heritage Game in Germay Via Arthaus Classics

    LYON, France – Continuing its devotion to heritage film in Germany, Studiocanal is bringing classic movies back into cinemas while also releasing newly restored DVD/Blu-ray collections of beloved titles. The leading producer-distributor enjoyed a major hit this summer with the one-day re-release of Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now: Final Cut,” which scored 12,000 admissions in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content