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Vera Farmiga And Patrick Wilson On Why The Conjuring 3 Is Really A Love Story

The franchise built up around James Wan's "The Conjuring" movies has always been about families battling malignant, supernatural forces. Even Wan's previous franchise, "Insidious," focuses on the consequences of an individual's possession, and the impact that has on their family as a whole. What separates "The Conjuring" from "Insidious" is self-evident — "The Conjuring" is, at least to an extent, based on a true story.

Ed and Lorraine Warren aren't just fictional characters played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga — they are the real-life founders of the New England Society for Psychic Research, and two of the most famous paranormal investigators in history. Many of their actual cases inspired the films. The first "Conjuring" movie is loosely based on the real-life Perron family. "The Conjuring 2" focuses on the Enfield Poltergeist. And the upcoming "The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do it" focuses on the murder of Alan Bono by the supposedly possessed Arne Cheyenne Johnson.

Each film in "The Conjuring" franchise focuses in equal parts on the family being terrorized by the supernatural, and on Ed and Lorraine Warren themselves. For every jump scare, there is a scene of Ed playing guitar and singing to settle everybody's nerves. In many ways, Wan's take on the history of the Warrens is more than just a series of ghost stories or tales of possession — it's a retelling of a true love story between the Warrens. 

Recently, Looper attended a press conference for the third film, and we found out that "The Conjuring 3" will continue that tradition.

How the Warrens' love story allows for darker storytelling

At the press event, moderator Nikki Novak focused on the love story between the Warrens and asked the cast and crew, "What do you think it is about the couple that people find so fascinating?"

"They are personification of love," said Vera Farmiga. "It's more of a love story than it is a horror story to me, and that's what makes it so unique and successful, and that's why I enjoy coming back. I think that that message of love, not only the Warrens for each other, but for the work that they do and for the people that they help, that selflessness, that compassionate embodiment of love is really, really something holy and special. That makes it digestible and beautiful."

Farmiga's co-star Patrick Wilson agrees, citing the conversations he had with director James Wan in the early days of the franchise: "[The Warrens] become the through line between all these films, and that's something that, one, that sets us apart from other horror franchises is that you're following the good guys throughout instead of the villain but, two, the fact that I think, James [Wan], those conversations that we had early on in the first one where you knew you'd get to the scare, but you knew you had to build the character and the relationships, whether it was guy and a guy, guy and a girl, whatever it was going to be. So we already were leaning into character, and relationship and love and partnership in these movies and when you have that, when you know that you can center around love, and it's our version of Ed and Lorraine."

For Wilson, the poignancy of the franchise derives from the balance between the terror and the love story. "When you know you can center on that, then I think in some way, it frees you up to go as dark as you want in the other aspects because you really get to balance it out," he said. "I would say that ["The Conjuring 3"] probably is some of the darkest moments of any in the universe, but like you had with the Elvis moment, the second one, or us dancing at the end of the second one, you have those moments in this of just deep profound romance, because we don't go halfway with either."

"The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It" is set for release in theaters and on HBO Max on June 4.