Before there was Amityville, there was Harrisville. Based on a true story, “The Conjuring” tells the horrifying tale of how world renowned paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren were called upon to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in a secluded farmhouse. Forced to confront a powerful demonic entity, the Warrens find themselves caught in the most terrifying case of their lives.
Before there was Amityville, there was Harrisville. Based on the true life story, “The Conjuring” tells the tale of how world renowned paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren were called upon to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in a secluded farmhouse.
Forced to confront a powerful demonic entity, the Warrens find themselves caught in the most horrifying case of their lives.
From New Line Cinema comes a feature film drawn from the case files of married demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren. “The Conjuring” stars Academy Award® nominee Vera Farmiga (“Up in the Air,” TV’s “Bates Motel”) and Patrick Wilson (“Insidious,”) as the Warrens, and Ron Livingston (“The Odd Life of Timothy Green”) and Lili Taylor (TV’s “Hemlock Grove”) as Roger and Carolyn Perron, residents of the house.
Joey King, Shanley Caswell, Haley McFarland, Mackenzie Foy and newcomer Kyla Deaver play the Perrons’ five daughters, and Sterling Jerins is the Warrens’ little girl, Judy. Rounding out the cast are Marion Guyot as Judy’s grandmother; Steve Coulter as Father Gordan; Shannon Kook as the Warren’s investigative assistant, Drew; and John Brotherton as the local law enforcement official skeptical of the Perron’s claims and the Warrens’ tactics.
James Wan (“Saw,” “Insidious”) directs from a screenplay by Chad Hayes & Carey W. Hayes (“The Reaping”). The film is produced by Tony DeRosa-Grund, Peter Safran and Rob Cowan, with Walter Hamada and Dave Neustadter serving as executive producers. Reuniting with the director are members of his “Insidious” creative team, director of photography John R. Leonetti, editor Kirk Morri, costume designer Kristin M. Burke, composer Joseph Bishara and his “Saw” production designer, Julie Berghoff.
New Line Cinema presents a Safran Company / Evergreen Media Group Production of a James Wan Film, “The Conjuring.” The film will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company
Truth is stranger than fiction…and a lot more frightening. No one knew that better than Ed Warren and his clairvoyant wife, Lorraine, whose lifelong personal experiences combating inhuman forces garnered them respect in the field of demonology long before the immense popularity of the paranormal on the screen. And long before Ed and Lorraine tackled the foreboding menace in a little place called Amityville, they encountered the most perilous evil even they would ever come up against.
James Wan, who had known of the couple’s work prior to taking the directing reins of “The Conjuring,” relates, “I've always been a big fan of the Warrens. I really admire them. They pioneered the modern-day style of ghost hunting with technical equipment, capturing evidence on film and audiotape. Since they've inspired so many stories, books and films, it was cool to actually make a movie where who they are is as much the focus as the family’s home they are investigating.”
The film reveals the real horrors lurking within a secluded centuries-old farmhouse in the seemingly peaceful countryside of Harrisville, Rhode Island, bought in 1970 by Carolyn and Roger Perron. However, the couple and their five daughters soon find themselves directly in the path of extreme, yet indefinable, danger. When Ed and Lorraine meet the family and the unnatural enemy waging war against them, they know they are in for the battle of their career...and lives.
Taking on the role of the renowned demonologist, Patrick Wilson was intrigued by the idea of playing a real person in a grave conflict with powers beyond most people’s comprehension. Wilson observes, “Ed Warren was a guy whose whole life was geared around being dangerously close to the dark side because he genuinely wanted to help people. He knew the terror they were experiencing could happen to anyone, including them—the ones there to help.”
Vera Farmiga stars alongside Wilson as Ed’s loving wife and preternaturally gifted partner Lorraine, who is swept along with her husband into the violent path of the malevolent presence. She offers, “Stories are like train tickets. Someone hands you a pass to somewhere, and you go. This was an interesting psychic space to explore. Even though it put me in a cold sweat and panic, I had the compelling need to investigate this story, like Lorraine and Ed investigated the Perrons.”
Producer Peter Safran believes the case was seminal for the Warrens because they wanted not only to safeguard the Perron children, but their own young daughter, Judy. He conveys, “I think what they went through with those girls really laid the groundwork for their life path, including Amityville and beyond. I was particularly drawn to the events because I also have a daughter, and I can't even think of a limit to what I would do to protect her.”
Ironically, the Perrons had moved to the country to raise their children in a safe environment, only to put them in harm’s way. Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor star as Roger and Carolyn Perron, whose encounter with the paranormal, shared with the Warrens, changes their family forever.
Livingston notes, “Getting away is what they’d always wanted, but isolation can be very scary, too. They had to be wondering— is this the beginning of our new life or the beginning of the end? And is God actually looking out for us here or are we on our own? When bad things go down, I think people relate to those questions on a visceral level, and a lot of the answers can be unsettling.”
“I’m torn about the spirit world,” Taylor acknowledges. “There are times I wonder if a strange experience I had is something more than that. It’s hard to strip away everything and be totally open to it. But the exorcism tapes I’ve seen and heard are persuasive. And terrifying.”
Producer Rob Cowan comments, “Everybody identifies with the notion that something’s under your bed or in the closet, but this really happened, so it makes it all the more chilling.”
Screenwriters Chad Hayes and Carey W. Hayes had a unique take—telling the story via the tandem points of view of the Warrens and the Perrons. Chad remarks, “What we loved about writing this script is the contrast between two couples: there are the Warrens, who are devout Catholics and respected demonologists, and the Perrons, who aren’t at all religious. And then their lives collide. Who fixes what and how does it get fixed?”
“These strangers crossed paths over some very ugly entities,” Carey adds. “They took a very daunting journey, and going through their steps, we just got hooked. It became an obsession.”
Wan remembers, “When I read the script, I said, ‘Wow, this is great, here is a chance to do something different.’”
During the project’s development, Wan and the Hayes brothers went through the Warrens’ files—some 4,000 cases. “We found a lot of great material,” says Wan. “My goal was to incorporate some of the wildest things they'd encountered in their lifetime, yet still stay true to this particular family’s story. We drew a lot of inspiration from the Perrons’ recollections as well. I thought it was even more frightening to show the scares through the eyes of the pros along with the perspective of this family that has no inkling of the supernatural world.”
“We wanted to honor both families,” says Cowan, “so it was really rewarding when they said we’d achieved a genuine level of accuracy.”
Lorraine Warren, now in her eighties, still recalls all too well the physical environment of the real house where a sinister multitude had begun an infestation all those years ago. She attests, “When I walked inside, I immediately knew it was haunted. There’s a feeling that comes over you, almost like a veil, it draws your energy because the entity needs it in order to manifest; the only way to get that energy is from you. It was really heavy in that house and being on the set brought all that back. It was uncanny. I’m very fond of James. He wanted to get everything right, and I’m excited about the film.”
During the Hayes’ many long phone conversations with Lorraine, there was usually some sort of seemingly otherworldly interruption in the form of sounds and static, often completely causing the line to go dead. Carey recounts that when they asked if it was common, Lorraine would reply, “Oh, yes, honey, dark, light…that's a constant battle, you know?”
Chad elaborates, "She told us, ‘We're about to expose the dark side of the dark side, and it doesn’t want good to win. I'm surprised that there isn't a lot more interference.’”
Roger Perron and his daughters had the opportunity to visit the set and agree that it stirred intense memories, starting with the fateful day they moved to the farm. Andrea, the eldest, remarks, “I was absolutely confident that James, the cast and the whole team authentically captured the essence of that house and what happened to us, which is no small feat. All that we hoped for has come to fruition. It is as though they had a key to our emotions, releasing what we experienced, recreating it on screen.”
In fact, it was all too real for Carolyn, the wife and mother who lived through the terror more than three decades ago. She would not attend filming for that very reason, admitting, “I didn’t go, just like I never, ever went back to the farm. I didn’t want the memories—or the thing that so threatened me in the house—to be able to touch me.”
However, keeping her distance was perhaps not enough to protect her. One afternoon, while her family was at the location set that mirrored the feel of their former residence, an eerie and inexplicable wind whipped up to encircle them, though the trees remained perfectly still. As technicians steadied the gear there in North Carolina, miles away in Atlanta, Carolyn experienced a presence which she hadn’t felt in 30 years—suddenly tripping and suffering injuries that put her in the hospital. Shortly thereafter, the cast and crew were evacuated from their hotel because a fire broke out.
Almost no one believes these are random coincidences.
Wan also experienced a strange incident while emailing about the script late one night. It began with his puppy growling at a corner of his office. “There was nothing there,” he recounts. “Then she did something even creepier, she started tracking whatever she was staring at, which was nothing, across the room, without missing a beat. I was freaked out….and it was at that very moment I knew that the story had gotten into my psyche and was really affecting me in a big way.”
The director continues, “Most people will, at some point, relate that they know someone who has, or that they themselves have, experienced something paranormal. On my other films, it was comforting to tell myself those things weren’t real, I’d just made them up…but for ‘The Conjuring’ I didn't have that luxury.”
At first, the strange occurrences at the Perron house seem like nothing more than unrelated events for the new residents. But by the time Carolyn Perron seeks paranormal specialists Ed and Lorraine Warren out after one of their lectures at a local college, the subtle disturbances that suggest a sinister infestation in her home have taken on a more destructive role. And once the Warrens observe the unusual activity, it is clear to them that the poltergeists co-existing on the Perron property have progressed to oppression: they are now targeting the family and invading their days—and nights.
Safran affirms that the script had a similar effect. “The first time I read it I loved it, but I discovered that I couldn't read the script at night, I literally couldn’t sleep. I had to read it first thing in the morning, because I needed the whole day to pass for it to dissipate. When we started sending the script out, so many people had the exact same reaction—they wished they had not read it at night.”
Vera Farmiga, who portrays Lorraine Warren, admits she was one of those people. “I read it in fits and spurts, because it brought on overwhelming feelings: terror, awe, shock. I didn't ever want to read it at home. I figured the safest thing for me would be to read it somewhere else during the day.”
But safety was elusive. During one of her reading excursions, Farmiga reveals, “I opened my laptop and the screen had these five claw marks scratched across it. I don't know how to explain it. I do know I hadn't dropped the computer, my children hadn't stepped on it…so I gingerly closed it, put it away and then my brain just went berserk.”
Farmiga says the research process was equally disquieting but intriguing. She read numerous books on the occult and watched footage of Warren lectures before ever meeting Lorraine. The actress found Lorraine’s work with every denomination—from evangelical pastors and Jewish rabbis to Indian chiefs and shamans—fascinating and her unwavering purpose inspiring. “Lorraine has a very concrete concept of God, her Catholicism is her toolbox and her shield,” Farmiga explains. “The first thing you realize is she believes that this ability of discernment is a God-given gift. And if you don't use it, he’ll take it away. So this is not an occupation, it's not a job. This is a vocation, a calling. The balance between taking care of herself and Ed and Judy, and taking care of everybody else—making sure that they had peace of mind when her own mind wasn't always at peace—was challenging for her and challenging for me to delve into.”
Farmiga adds that, for her, it went beyond the singular personae of Lorraine, noting, “I found the partnership of Ed and Lorraine exquisite. They were a dynamic duo; I just loved how they complemented each other—her sensitivity and empathy, his street smarts and matter-of-fact approach. They had a very great and unique love, and a respect for one another, and it resonates.”
Wan remarks, “Lorraine deals with this nebulous world of death and the afterlife, but, she's full of life and that's so amazing. I really wanted someone that could do her justice. Not only is Vera a remarkable actress, but she wanted to honor Lorraine as much as I did, and that is truly reflected in her performance.”
“Ed and Lorraine came from a place of integrity and so does James,” says Farmiga. “That was evident in every aspect of his approach to their story.”
Embodying the role of Ed Warren, Patrick Wilson observes, “Lorraine is such an interesting person, and Vera picked up her little eccentricities. It was exciting to watch and to play off of.”
Farmiga has equal praise for her on-screen husband. “I adore Patrick,” Farmiga states. “He was one of the deciding factors. If Patrick was going to be by my side, I was in.”
Lorraine was also an important link to her husband for Wilson, who unfortunately never had the chance to meet Ed, who passed away in 2006. Wilson was able to gain invaluable insights and stories from Lorraine, which added dimension to the Warren footage and archives he studied. Wilson was as drawn to Ed and Lorraine’s vibrant relationship and unorthodox calling as Farmiga.
"They were soul mates,” he describes. “They also shared a passion to figure out what the disruptive energy was in a given situation, whether good or bad.”
Wan relates, “Lorraine says that when things got really terrifying and unbearable, the crutch that she leaned on was Ed. That's very romantic and in a lot of ways, Patrick's version of Ed is a romanticized one, which I felt was a pretty interesting way to approach it.”
Ed was also versed in the religious aspects of demonology and, as a result, was eminently well respected by clergy. Wilson asserts, “Ed believed that there are wonderful, great spirits in the world and some very evil ones that have been around for thousands of years, and he was going to do the best he could with his wife to fight them and to help people. Ed honestly believed it through and through, so I had to believe that through and through to play him.”
Ed knows that each and every time Lorraine opens herself to interpret the corps of darkness, she is exposing herself to more than physical harm; she’s in danger of losing a little piece of herself. “We see that Ed has this great balance of charm and lightness and humor, but then can go into protective mode. He’ll stop at nothing to defend his wife and his family,” Wilson says. “I certainly can relate to that, so it was easy to tap into that side of the character.”
In the film, even though Ed is aware of the potential danger to his wife, both he and Lorraine also realize the gravity of the Perrons’ dire situation and agree to take on the case.
Lili Taylor portrays Carolyn Perron, the down-to-earth mom who discovers that her family’s new start in a new home instead leaves them shrouded by the house’s bleak history.
Taylor offers, “Raising five kids is a lot of work and my character is working hard at it. Carolyn’s doing a good job. She’s got great girls, and their safety and health and well-being mean everything to her. She was hoping for something nice and slow, a sweet, rural life, by moving to the farm, which is not at all what they get.”
What they do get is perpetually cold temperatures, objects manipulated by something surreptitious and unseen, ethereal whisperings and eerie sightings. Taylor had faith in Wan’s fresh take on the subject matter, saying, “I knew James was an expert in this genre, and his approach to the demonic realm was unlike anything I’d seen.”
Aside from being a fan of Wan’s, Taylor thought the script was “very good and very scary, with rich levels. The story is constructed so well, I liked the strong, intertwined relationships.”
The relationship with her on-screen family proved to be equally robust. When the producers dropped them all off at a restaurant for lunch and to shoot “family” photos, which take on greater importance as the film progresses, Taylor says, “From the start there was a total flow. There was no working to make conversation, it just happened naturally. That's really rare for seven personalities to instantly coalesce like that, so we were lucky.”
Even so, Taylor admits the mental terrain was sometimes as grueling as the physical demands of the role. “I love the genre, but the psychological aspect of thrillers is hard to do—and this was extremely intense and primal.” For some of the more treacherous sequences, Taylor pronounces, “I realized I wouldn’t be able to get through it without blowing my vocal chords if I didn’t learn how to scream from a very, very deep down, dark place for this film.”
Wan says, “Lili has, perhaps, the most challenging role in the film. Her character goes on a physical and emotional rollercoaster and Lili did such a phenomenal job, we felt fortunate to have her.”
Ron Livingston was cast as Roger Perron, the father and working-class husband whose truck route often keeps him away at night. “Ron’s a terrific actor. He is so affable and created such a sympathetic character, wanting to protect his family but thwarted by overwhelming forces. You empathize with Roger, which was crucial,” Wan continues.
Livingston says, “To this day, Roger Perron believes that what he felt and saw in that house was real. I’m not an arbiter of the universe or the truth; I’m the actor playing Roger, so my job is to tell his story to the best of my ability.”
He adds that Wan’s “off the charts artistry” was the driving force on that psychological journey. “I think for something to be creepy, and really affect an audience, it has to go beyond just the mechanics; it's got to connect to something we all understand…and it can be something as simple as moving to a new environment, getting everything you’ve always wanted, and realizing it’s far more than you ever bargained for, or could ever even imagine. So be very careful what you wish for,” he smiles.
When the director showed the cast some of the early footage, Livingston remembers it was “scary as hell, and I was there when we shot it. I knew what was going to happen, and it still got me a couple of times.”
Wan’s choice to shoot chronologically elicited an organic process which also impacted the actors’ bond and performances. Taylor attests, “It was brilliant. At first the house was empty, because we were moving in, then it became more lived in. And we hadn't seen anyone else at all for two weeks and then, boom, the Warrens show up, which is exactly how it happened in real life.”
Wan credits his casting director, Annie McCarthy, with helping find an ensemble of talented younger actors to play the Perron children, including Shanley Caswell as 18-year-old Andrea, Hayley McFarland as 15-year-old Nancy, Joey King as 13-year-old Christine, Mackenzie Foy as 10-year-old Cindy, and newcomer Kyla Deaver as 8-year-old April. “These kids were incredible and we had a great time,” he says. “When you look at Ron, Lili and the girls, you believe them as a nuclear unit. Off-camera, they played around and even quarreled amongst themselves, just like a real family.”
Another younger performer is Sterling Jerins, portraying the Warrens’ daughter, Judy. Rounding out the main cast are Marion Guyot playing Judy’s grandmother, Georgiana; Steve Coulter as Father Gordon; Shannon Kook as Drew, the Warren’s investigative assistant; and John Brotherton as Brad, the local cop who is skeptical of the Warrens’ abilities and methods…until he, too, is caught in the unearthly crossfire one night.
The final and ultimate stage of demonic activity is possession. Once the invasive wraiths have broken the will of the targeted humans, they take ownership of their physical vessel. And then all Hell breaks loose.
In hopes of enlisting the church’s assistance in this battle, the Warrens place motion sensor lights and Super 8 cameras around the Perron house to document the activity, along with religious artifacts to lure the legions into an open confrontation. It isn’t long before bulbs are flashing and events escalate from terrifying to life-threatening.
Wan once again relied on the shorthand he has established among his usual behind-the-scenes team to create the atmosphere of growing dread leading to the supernatural standoff in “The Conjuring.” He notes, “Naturally, as filmmakers, you take some artistic license, but there were certain things I did not want to compromise on because this was real.”
Instead of simply shooting on gritty film stock to recreate the 1970s, Wan says, “I wanted it to look like a window into a different time period, but peering through the filter of today's technology.”
“The Conjuring” is Wan’s fourth collaboration with director of photography John R. Leonetti, who tested cameras and lenses to achieve this look, settling on a combination of the Arriflex Arri Alexa digital camera, which has the same latitude as film, is more sensitive to light, and can hold highlights and details in the shadows, and Leica lenses, which are optically flat, and sharply and accurately represent what’s actually there. “The Arriflex camera is the first digital camera that is as vivid and graceful as film,” Leonetti describes. The fastest film ASA is 500. The Arriflex is easily 800 ASA. Combined with Leica lenses, wide open at 1.4, we could capture a flat realism without grain but rich with texture.”
Safran says, “James and John are completely in sync; it was a thing of beauty to watch their artistic dance in creating the mood and images in this film.”
Principal photography took place in Wilmington, North Carolina, where filmmakers searched for the perfect house to double as the Perron residence. Cowan reveals, “I remember the first time we came out to scout. James had to go around and make sure all the lights were on and there was nothing in his hotel room. Despite the kind of movies he does and the genre he has been wildly successful in, he's not one of those guys who just loves the idea of horror; he knows what scares people because he gets scared by the same things.”
Production designer Julie Berghoff, who has collaborated on three other films with Wan, says, “James told us from the beginning: ‘I don't want these apparitions to be seen at first, I want them to be felt.’ I do believe in ghosts and I agree with James that not always seeing the thing wreaking havoc is often very disturbing.”
They found a house with acreage that sweeps down to the Black River, which was used for several exterior scenes. Leonetti shot the surrounding landscape to create an almost 360 degree cyclorama to marry the location to the full scale, two-story 6,000 square feet structure built on a soundstage to mirror it. Everyone agreed it was so real you almost felt as if you could actually walk down the road.
For Wan and Leonetti, the use of practical lighting was vital to setting the tone. “We basically used a fundamental palette, creating natural light on many levels,” explains Leonetti.
Berghoff looked at the actual Perron house and other farmhouses on the East Coast and then began her design for the interior, which, she says, “springs from the action, and the action is exciting. James’ attention to detail is extraordinary and he has a distinct vision of how he wants it to play out. He loves long, continuous shots, so the interior was somewhat circular, allowing us to move effortlessly through the entire house.”
The rooms were also larger and the banister upstairs came apart to accommodate the camera. In addition, the use of a hand-held camera helped Wan to achieve more seamless, fluid action.
“I wanted a free-form, freestyle feeling, with the camera in there amongst it all, documenting everything, like it was part of the family,” the director states.
Wan thrusts the audience in the midst of the terror, choreographing those scenes in great detail. “If a character's walking down a hallway, I always have the camera behind, following, so the audience is walking with them and doesn’t know what's ahead. If something pops outs to startle them, the viewers will be startled as well. If they look into the dim corners of a room and think someone is standing behind the door, I want them to have a hard time looking at it, as well, asking themselves, ‘Am I seeing someone there?’ I think that really helps to put them in the mindset of the characters.”
Wan, Berghoff and Leonetti discussed fine-tuning the interior replication of the five- bedroom house to accommodate all the angles they needed for the action, while still retaining the gloom in the corners. Glass transients were also constructed in the main living room and the room next to it, which allowed the camera to look through so the audience would see the action coming across the room directly at them. True to the time, as well as the practical lighting aesthetic, one overhead fixture served as the illumination source and Berghoff’s team placed accent lighting on shelving and furniture to add pools of light.
The actual house was built in 1736 and was last occupied around the late ‘40s or ‘50s. Berghoff suggests, “That would have been the last time money was spent on repairs or decorations. So in recreating it, for me, this place was a madam in her day, the house of the county. She was beautiful, but when all these phantoms moved in, they slowly wore on her. She was trying to stand tall and be as regal as she once was, but they slowly chipped away at her, the cracks showed up, and the veining and the morbidity of the house eventually loomed over everything.”
Since the house’s character was its true patina, the color palette was not determined by painting. Berghoff relates, “During that time, houses weren’t bright colors; whites, greys and earth tones were used. We did layers and layers of plastering, so the walls had depth. Lathe and plaster techniques created beautiful cracks that cast shadows in the corners and vignetting also softened the conjoining lines and added texture. We did have some small objects in brighter colors, a touch of faded green or a red that had worn down to a Bordeaux rust color.”
As the evil becomes more violent, the cellar becomes an increasingly integral part of the story. “It’s as if you’re going down to Hell, and the cellar is the root of it because it’s the root of every horrific historic event in the house. Then you go into the crawlspace, the even darker belly of this place,” says Berghoff. The designer referred to east coast dwellings to design the rudimentary look of a storage space, using clapboard, stone and a dirt floor.
Again relying on practical lighting, Leonetti used one single 250 watt clear bulb to light the cellar, along with matches the characters strike when they find themselves in the inky blackness. Handheld cameras were also used for the chilling crawlspace sequences, which was physically hard for camera operators, who literally crawled along the cramped space underneath the floor and behind the wall holding the camera low.
“James is a master at crafting a psychological ghost story with lighting and cameras,” Leonetti comments, specifically illustrating how Wan conceived the introduction of the Perron house. “James had this fabulous idea to start inside the living room, like the house is watching the family moving in, instead of outside with an establishing shot. Then we dollied across through the windows.”
The second shot used VFX to combine three separate shots. They started on a crane, outside, watching the movers unload the couch from the moving van. The Steadicam followed it into the living room, then continued with one of the kids into the kitchen and then out to the back porch where a wind chime is hung. In order to be able to later facilitate one, seamless shot, they used a green screen in each doorway. “It was difficult to line up, because it wasn’t motion control, but we managed to pull it off,” says Leonetti. “In two shots, the whole environment is organically introduced with unsettling undertones so the tension can just build from there.”
To amplify that tension, another device, the zoom, was employed in specific instances throughout the film. “It’s not a fast zoom; we slowly, slowly push in to create suspense,” offers Leonetti, who also points out that the technique is “a nice throwback to the ‘70s.”
Outside the house, one of the most important set pieces was the mammoth tree that overwhelms the Perron’s yard. While scouting the scenic Black River location, Leonetti was struck by the water, which is literally black from the cypress trees, whose roots turn it dark. He suggested incorporating a tree in the exterior because it would not only be an intrinsic part of the location, but an incredible focal point to shoot towards the house, or away from it to the river. Wan loved the idea and Berghoff’s team constructed it by the pier at the water’s edge.
Berghoff describes it as “a 150-year-old pecan tree, like a hand coming out of the ground, twisted, but beautiful, like the house. The limbs had fallen off over the years because one of the spirits put its death into it…it was basically deteriorating from the inside out.” The formidable tree is 50 feet tall and 15 feet in diameter. Sculptress Katrina Johnson helped Berghoff build the maquettes and together they worked to texture the bark to evoke a curving, feminine look that was somehow threatening.
“Julie is brilliant at what she does and the tree was an amazing piece of art,” says Wan. “People would just walk by, not realizing it was concrete and steel.” The filmmakers were so impressed with it, that they included more exterior scenes featuring its ominous presence.
Although not as central to the story, a practical location was also secured for the Warren house. After a lengthy search, Berghoff found a split-level with “some really good bones,” bringing in original ‘70s carpet and duplicating ‘70s wallpaper.
The most compelling—and disturbing—component of the real Warren house is their occult museum, which was re-constructed in one of the rooms on location. This is where Ed and Lorraine store all the items used in Satanic and witchcraft rituals as well as exorcisms, which they have gathered over the years, with the thought that keeping the bad juju in one, monitored place is safer than releasing any of it back into the world.
Berghoff and her team hand-crafted dozens of props for the dark, wood paneled museum, including beautiful sculptural pieces juxtaposed with everyday household items: a telephone, a pair of sunglasses, instruments. “The crosses were there as protection,” she asserts. In fact, a priest still blesses the Warren’s real house on a weekly basis.
Directly related to “The Conjuring,” one of the most prominent artifacts is a doll, named Annabelle, which must remain behind locked glass. If it gets out, so does the demon inside it. “I designed the room a little differently from the original in the Warrens’ home so it would have a certain flow. I wanted Annabelle to be hidden, so you have to seek her out. The shelves are open so you can see through the whole room, but it's almost scarier perceiving shadows of things instead of them being completely distinguishable,” Berghoff remarks.
“Our Annabelle doll is decrepit and falling apart, inherently creepy. There's something very wrong with this doll. In fact, I didn't want it sitting in the same room with me, staring at me,” Wan admits with a laugh.
Tony Rosen, at Infinite SFX, created an original concept drawing of Annabelle. He then had to sculpt, mold and cast the porcelain doll as well as design animatronics for its eyes, mouth and head so they would move.
The doll’s dress was designed by costume designer Kristin M. Burke. After some discussion about whether Annabelle should be a little Dutch girl, she recalls, “James said he thought she should be a bride, so I sketched a 1940's wedding dress that resembled one my grandmother wore.”
The only problem was finding silk in the small town, so she ordered the fabric from Los Angeles. She then aged and dyed the fabric, adding the color red, something else Wan had envisioned. The hair department created a wig for her, but it wasn’t until Annabelle was behind the glass, ready to shoot, that the decision to lose her veil was made. “Without it, you can really see that eerie face,” says Burke.
Wan also depended on his hair and costume teams to ensure the authenticity of the era comes across quickly. “It’s not like I could show lots of cars or signage or street shots to create that period mood, since ninety percent of the film takes place inside the house. They did a fantastic job.”
In 1971, there were no cell phones, no internet, and there was only one highway in Rhode Island, so the house and the Perrons were truly isolated. That can mean peace and quiet…or it can mean there are miles between you and any help or refuge.
Burke points out, “1971 regional Rhode Island was cut off from the world really, and the culture was unto itself.” Fortunately, Burke had friends who originally hailed from Rhode Island and had access to their family photos and yearbooks. “I was really happy to get that primary research from people who were actually there,” she notes.
Personal photos of Ed and Lorraine were also available. Burke was able to create a wardrobe for Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson from studying those as well as a wealth of photos online. “Ed and Lorraine had a style that sort of defied period classification—I was very nervous about getting it right, paying homage to these real-life people.” She was thrilled when Lorraine pointed to a pair of Farmiga’s shoes one day on set and commented that she’d had a pair exactly like them.
Lili Taylor’s costumes, as Carolyn Perron, had a different flavor and a definitive arc. “She starts out in very feminine, floral dresses, and then there's this element of red that follows her. So in the beginning, she's wearing a bright red sweater. The next time we see her, the color of her dress is a little browner, and she has a slightly brownish red sweater. Then she’s in a floral that's more washed out, plus a brown sweater, and so on until she is wearing an oatmeal-colored sweater, and finally, a grey sweatshirt and pants. It's emblematic of the arc of the movie. As she loses herself, she loses that red throughout her costumes.”
Ron Livingston’s blue collar ensembles had a more subtle arc. Burke explains, “A lot of his tops appear to be very similar at first. We purchased vintage shirts, and tried to give them a nice lived-in look. By the end, he’s in a more defined, powerful plaid which we created, because everything that was muddled becomes clearer for him.”
Burke recalls, “The children thought the bell bottoms they got to wear were ‘groovy.’” She also dressed 300 people in period clothes for the campus lecture, shot at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, which stood in for the backdrop of the life-changing first meeting between the Warrens and the Perrons.
Footage based on real exorcisms from the Warren files was created to project during the lecture. The Warrens used 8mm; however, Leonetti chose 16mm so it would project better in the large space. The visual effects team, led by visual effects supervisor Ray McIntyre Jr., then tweaked the footage to augment the signs of possession.
The VFX, as well as the special effects team, led by David Beavis, were also integral to manifesting various poltergeists that plague the Perrons.
One of those spectres is embodied by Joseph Bishara, who previously appeared in Wan’s hit “Insidious,” for which he also wrote the music. Once again, Wan sought him out to create the final crucial element to elicit fright: the score.
“He loves that world; his house is like a horror theme park, all year round,” Wan smiles. “It wasn't very hard to convince him to come back and do this again for me. What I love about Joe is he thinks outside the box.”
Whether the unrelenting ticking of clocks that all stop at the same time every night, or the forlorn tinkling from an antique music box Cindy finds, which throws more than her reflection, Wan incorporated audile cues to build tension towards the inevitable culmination of the terrifying battle between the Warrens and the inimical forces afflicting the Perrons. “It’s what you believe you see through the music and sound design that really gets you,” says the director.
Wan concludes, “What I love about what I do is making someone scream, either from a thrill, or out of fear…especially when that lingering effect follows them from the theatre. And since this is a real-life story, I think knowing that evil spirits actually exist is as scary as it gets.”
VERA FARMIGA (Lorraine Warren) is an Oscar® nominated and award winning actress, who continues to captivate audiences with her ability to embody each of her diverse and engaging roles.
Farmiga received critical praise as well as Academy Award®, Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award®, and Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Alex in Jason Reitman's “Up in the Air,” opposite George Clooney.
She currently stars as Norma Louise Bates in A&E’s acclaimed series “Bates Motel,” a modern re-imagining and prequel to the Hitchcock classic “Psycho.” Farmiga also recently completed filming on Nae Caranfil's feature “Closer to the Moon.”
Her other recent film credits include the romance “Middleton”; Daniel Espinosa's thriller “Safe House,” co-starring Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds; the comedy “Goats,” which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival; the sci-fi thriller “Source Code,” opposite Jake Gyllenhaal; and her 2011 feature directorial debut, “Higher Ground,” in which she also starred. Prior to its release, the film was in competition at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and Tribeca Film Festival.
Previously, Farmiga won the Best Actress Award from the Los Angeles Film Critics' Association for the role of Irene in the independent film “Down to the Bone.” She also won Best Actress awards from the Sundance Film Festival and the Marrakech Film Festival and earned an Independent Spirit Award nomination. For her performance in the Holocaust drama “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas” she received the Best Actress Award from the British Independent Film Awards. She also received a nomination for a Broadcast Film Critics Award for her role in Rod Lurie's political drama “Nothing But the Truth” and a SAG Award® nomination for Best Ensemble for Martin Scorsese's Oscar®-winning drama, “The Departed,” shared with Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jack Nicholson.
Among her additional film credits are Jaume Collet-Serra's thriller “Orphan”; Anthony Minghella's “Breaking & Entering”; “The Manchurian Candidate” for director Jonathan Demme; and the horror/thriller “Joshua.”
PATRICK WILSON (Ed Warren) is an award-winning theatre actor who has also become well-known for his work on the screen. He next reprises the role of Josh Lambert from James Wan’s “Insidious,” the highest grossing horror movie of 2011, in the film’s sequel, “Insidious: Chapter 2,” in theatres this September.
Wilson’s other recent film credits include Ridley Scott’s sci-fi adventure “Prometheus”; Jason Reitman’s comedy “Young Adult”; the thriller “The Ledge”; “Morning Glory,” with Rachel McAdams, Diane Keaton and Harrison Ford; “The Switch,” alongside Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman; Joe Carnahan’s “The A-Team,” and Zack Snyder’s action adventure “Watchmen,” in which he played the dual role of Dan Dreiberg/Nite Owl.
He previously received praise for his work in the critically acclaimed drama “Little Children,” in which he starred with Kate Winslet and Jackie Earle Haley under the direction of Todd Field.
In 2008, Wilson starred in three very different films: Neil LaBute’s thriller “Lakeview Terrace,” with Samuel L. Jackson and Kerry Washington; the mystery drama “Passengers,” opposite Anne Hathaway; and the independent film “Life in Flight,” which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.
His motion picture work also includes the indie films “Evening,” with Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, Claire Danes and Vanessa Redgrave; “Purple Violets,” directed by Edward Burns; “Running with Scissors”; and “Hard Candy,” opposite Ellen Page. He also starred as Raoul in Joel Schumacher’s big-screen adaptation of “The Phantom of the Opera,” showcasing his musical talents.
On the small screen, Wilson received Emmy and Golden Globe Award nominations for his portrayal of the morally conflicted Joe Pitt in the HBO miniseries “Angels in America,” the much-honored 2003 adaptation of Tony Kushner’s award-winning plays “Angels in America: Millennium Approaches” and “Angels in America: Perestroika.”
Wilson has been honored with two consecutive Tony Award nominations for Best Actor in a Musical, the most recent for his performance as Curly in the successful 2002 Broadway revival of “Oklahoma!,” for which he also received a Drama Desk Award nomination. He earned his first Tony nomination for his work in the 2001 Broadway hit “The Full Monty,” for which he also garnered Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award nominations and won a Drama League Award.
In 2006, Wilson returned to Broadway to star in the revival of the Neil Simon comedy “Barefoot in the Park,” opposite Amanda Peet. He most recently starred in the 2008/09 Broadway revival of Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons,” with John Lithgow, Dianne Wiest and Katie Holmes.Born in Virginia and raised in St. Petersburg, Florida, Wilson earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Carnegie Mellon University. Starting his career on the stage, he earned applause in the national tours of “Miss Saigon” and “Carousel.” In 1999, he starred off-Broadway in “Bright Lights, Big City,” winning a Drama League Award and receiving a Drama Desk Award nomination. That same year, he made his Broadway debut in “Gershwin’s Fascinating Rhythm,” for which he won another Drama League Award.
RON LIVINGSTON (Roger Perron) recently wrapped production on “Parkland” alongside a stellar cast which includes Paul Giamatti, Billy Bob Thornton and Marcia Gay Harden.
He previously co-starred with Rosemarie DeWitt, Allison Janney and Ellen Page in Lynn Shelton’s “Touchy Feely,” which premiered in competition at the Sundance Film Festival in January and will be released this fall. Joe Swanberg’s “Drinking Buddies,” in which he stars alongside Olivia Wilde, Anna Kendrick and Jake Johnson had its world premiere at SXSW in March and is set for release in late August. Ryan Page and Christopher Pomerenke’s “Queens of Country,” in which he co-stars with Lizzie Caplan, is also slated for release in the fall.
This fall he also returns to HBO as a new series regular on the acclaimed series “Boardwalk Empire.” He previously co-starred in HBO’s multi award-winning 2012 film based on the best-selling book “Game Change,” along with Ed Harris, Julianne Moore, Woody Harrelson and Sarah Paulson. Jay Roach directed with Playtone producing.
Last year Livingston also co-starred in several other high profile projects, including “The Odd Life of Timothy Green,” which starred Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton; and “10 Years,” with Channing Tatum, Rosario Dawson and Anthony Mackie.
In 2007, Livingston appeared Off Broadway in the Neil LaBute play “In a Dark, Dark House”; in addition he starred with Michael Sheen and Melissa George in the “Music Within,” winner of the audience award at the Palm Springs and AFI Dallas film festivals, and also starred in “Holly,” a riveting film about child trafficking shot on location in Cambodia and screened at several festivals that year.
Livingston was nominated for a Golden Globe in the Best Supporting Actor category for his role as Captain Lewis Nixon in the 2001 HBO film “Band of Brothers.” The critically acclaimed series won the Emmy and Golden Globe for best mini-series that year. That fall, Livingston took a memorable turn as Jack Berger on the ever popular HBO series “Sex and the City,” opposite Sarah Jessica Parker.
His additional films include Roach’s “Dinner for Schmucks,” with Steve Carell and Paul Rudd; “The Time Traveler’s Wife,” with Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams; “The Cooler,” starring William H. Macy, Maria Bello, and Alec Baldwin, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival; Spike Jonze’s “Adaptation,” with Nicolas Cage, Meryl Streep, and Chris Cooper; “Swingers,” with Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn; Samuel Goldwyn’s “Pretty Persuasion” with Evan Rachel Wood and James Woods; “Winter Solstice” with Anthony LaPaglia and Allison Janney; “Little Black Book”; and Mike Judge’s cult hit “Office Space,” starring opposite Jennifer Aniston in the unforgettable role of a disgruntled young office worker caught up in the corporate rat race. The film has gone on to become one of the industry’s best-selling film/DVD rentals of all time.
Raised in Iowa, Livingston graduated from Marion High School and attended Yale University.
LILI TAYLOR (Carolyn Perron) can currently be seen starring alongside Clive Owen and Ethan Hawke in Guillaume Canet’s “Blood Ties,” which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May and was released in theatres in June. In the fall, she stars opposite Karl Urban and Michael Ealy in J.J. Abrams’ new FOX series “Almost Human.”
She has collaborated twice with Robert Altman on “Prêt-à-Porter (Ready to Wear)” and “Short Cuts,” sharing a Golden Globe Award as well as a Venice International Film Festival honor with the ensemble cast of the latter. She also worked twice with Nancy Savoca, starring in Savoca’s “Dogfight” and “Household Saints,” for which Taylor received an Independent Spirit Award.
The Sundance Film Festival bestowed Taylor with a special recognition honor for her role in Mary Harron’s “The Notorious Bettie Page” and “I Shot Andy Warhol.” Her performance in the latter film also brought her the Best Actress Award at the 1996 Seattle Film Festival, garnering awards in the same category for Jim McKay’s “Girls Town” and Friðrik Þór Friðriksson’s “Cold Fever.” She was also named Best Actress at the Copenhagen Film Festival for Bent Hamer’s “Factotum.”
Her many other features include Hany Abu-Assad’s “The Courier,” alongside Mickey Rourke and Jeffrey Dean Morgan; Paul Weitz's drama “Being Flynn,” opposite Robert De Niro; Stephen Elliott’s “About Cherry,” with James Franco; Michael Mann’s “Public Enemies”; Andrew Wagner’s “Starting out in the Evening,” opposite Frank Langella; John Sayles’ “Casa de los babys”; Stephen Frears’ “High Fidelity”; Jan de Bont’s “The Haunting”; Toni Kalem’s “A Slipping-Down Life”; John Waters’ “Pecker”; Stanley Tucci’s “The Impostors”; Ron Howard’s “Ransom”; Abel Ferrara’s “The Addiction”; Alan Rudolph’s “Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle”; David Anspaugh’s “Rudy”; Emir Kusturica’s “Arizona Dream”; Oliver Stone’s “Born on the Fourth of July”; Cameron Crowe’s “Say Anything…”; and Donald Petrie’s “Mystic Pizza,” in which she made her indelible film debut.
Her television credits include starring in her own televisions series, “State of Mind” for Lifetime, and, more recently, the original horror series “Hemlock Grove.” Among her guest starring roles are “Mad About You”; Emmy Award-nominated appearances on “The X-Files” and “Six Feet Under,” which also garnered her a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award® which she shared with her fellow actors. She also received acclaim for her roles in Mick Jackson’s HBO miniseries “Live From Baghdad” and Robert Dornhelm’s “Anne Frank: The Whole Story,” in which she portrayed real-life heroine Miep Gies.
Taylor made her Broadway debut in Scott Elliott’s staging of Anton Chekhov’s “Three Sisters.” Steven Dietz’s “Halcyon Days” marked her stage directorial debut for her own theatre company, Machine Full. Her other stage credits include “The Dead Eye Boy,” for which she was a Drama Desk Award nominee; “Landscape of the Body”; “Aven’ U Boys”; and the New Group’s 2004 revival of “Aunt Dan & Lemon,” for which she won both an Obie Award and a Drama League Award.
JAMES WAN (Director) is regarded as one of the most creative filmmakers today. Wan’s sixth feature film, “Insidious: Chapter 2,” a follow-up to the very successful supernatural thriller “Insidious” he co-created with longtime writing partner Leigh Whannell, is slated for release in September. Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne and Barbara Hershey all return for the sequel.
Wan will soon begin production on the seventh installment of the “Fast & Furious” franchise, “Fast & Furious 7,” which is set for release in July of 2014.
He recently wrapped production on “House of Horror,” starring Maria Bello, produced under his banner James Wan Presents. The film is the first in an eight-picture deal Wan has with Icon Entertainment International.
Wan is the co-creator of the “Saw” franchise, the most successful horror film series of all time. In addition to directing the first “Saw” film, which premiered at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival, he served as executive producer for the entire franchise. Wan’s other credits include the horror film “Dead Silence” and the revenge thriller “Death Sentence,” starring Kevin Bacon and Garrett Hedlund.
Subsequently, Wan was asked to co-create, produce and direct the comedy short film “Doggie Heaven” as part of a slate of original programming which premiered on XBOX Live Marketplace. Additionally, he was a creative consultant on the “Saw” video game and co-creator and director of “Loved Ones,” a trailer for EA’s “Dead Space.”
In 2004, Wan received the prestigious Greg Tepper Award for outstanding achievement in Film.
He is an Australian citizen and a US resident.
CHAD HAYES & CAREY W. HAYES (Screenwriters) are identical twin brothers and have been writing partners since they were 16 years old.
Their feature film credits include the thrillers “Whiteout,” starring Kate Beckinsale and “The Reaping,” starring Hilary Swank, and Jaume Collet-Serra’s 2005 remake of the 1953 horror classic “House of Wax.” Over the course of their career, they have also developed projects for numerous filmmakers, including Scott Rudin, John Woo, Arnold Kopelson and Michael Bay.
The Hayes currently have many projects in development at studios, including the western “Redemption” New Line Cinema. In the fall, they will make their directorial debut on the supernatural feature “Train,” which they also wrote.
Their television credits include the USA network telefilm “Down, Out & Dangerous” and NBC’s “Twisted Desire.” They wrote and served as executive producers on “Horse Sense” and “Jumping Ship” for the Disney Channel; TBS’s “First Daughter” and “First Target,” as well as “First Shot”; and “Shutterspeed” for TNT. Additionally, they worked on numerous pilots for NBC, CBS, Fox, TBS and Spelling Entertainment.
TONY DEROSA-GRUND (Producer) produced his first live concert event in 1978, at the age of nineteen. He went on to produce some 200 concert events and was the syndicating producer of the legendary mixed music radio program Studio92 with DJ Ted Currier.
It was a natural progression for the young producer to transit into televised concerts, some for a then fledgling MTV. The experience he garnered in live concerts allowed him to create a new company dedicated to the production of live sports whose first client was FNN/Sport. At its peak, DeRosa-Grund and his company were producing nearly forty percent of all live sports programming for FNN/Sport. The experience allowed him to go on and create the groundbreaking sports reality series “Pros vs. Joes,” which aired in primetime on Spike TV for five years.
In the mid-nineties he saw the potential value of branded intellectual properties and decided to expand the company into that then “niche” vertical. Soon thereafter he became the founding President and CEO of the television and film arm for Archie Comic Publications (ACP) under the umbrella of a joint venture between the two companies. Under the joint venture he produced and oversaw such internationally recognized properties as: “Josie and the Pussycats,” “Archie” –the animated TV series (Viacom/ABC) and the live action network prime-time series “Sabrina the Teenaged Witch” (Viacom/ABC). After seven seasons in prime time, “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” ultimately generated over $300 million in syndication.
With the initial success of the various ACP properties DeRosa-Grund’s company refocused exclusively on such branded properties and re-branded itself as the Evergreen Media Group. Over the years the Evergreen Media Group has amassed one of the largest privately held collections of high value internationally branded properties and rights.
DeRosa-Grund lives just outside of Houston, Texas with his wife, Sonja, of twenty four years and their eight children.
PETER SAFRAN (Producer) is the President and founder of The Safran Company, a leading Hollywood production and talent management company.
He recently completed filming on the thriller “Mindscape,” starring Mark Strong and Taissa Farmiga and the comedy “Best Night Ever.” Safran has two films scheduled for release in October – the dramatic thriller “Hours,” starring Paul Walker and the parody “The Starving Games.”
He is currently in pre-production on Gilles Paquet-Brenner’s thriller “Dark Places,” adapted from the Gillian Flynn novel and starring Nicholas Hoult, Chloë Grace Moretz and Charlize Theron.
Safran’s other producing credits include the thrillers “ATM” and “Vehicle 19”; the 2011 Sundance comedy “Flypaper,” starring Patrick Dempsey; and the Sundance hit “Buried,” starring Ryan Reynolds, which was distributed theatrically in 2010. Safran also produced the box office successes “Meet the Spartans” and “Vampires Suck.” Among his numerous executive producer credits is the blockbuster parody “Scary Movie.” In addition, he produced HBO’s stand-up comedy series “P. Diddy presents The Bad Boys of Comedy.”
Born in New York and raised in London, Safran graduated from Princeton University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. He earned his law degree at New York University’s School of Law and honed his negotiation skills as a corporate attorney in New York City.
ROB COWAN (Producer) is a 25-year industry veteran who has worked on over 30 productions in both features and television. He has developed projects with many writers, including Joe Eszterhaus, Nick Pileggi, Oliver Stone, Jay Cocks, and Nicholas Kazan, and has shot extensively throughout the world, with films accepted into such festivals as Deauville, Cannes, Monte Carlo, Toronto, Tribeca and New York.
As head of his own company, POV Productions, Cowan’s first project was producing Jon Avnet’s “Righteous Kill,” starring Robert De Niro and Al Pacino. Cowan also served as a producer on Breck Eisner’s “The Crazies,” starring Timothy Olyphant and Radha Mitchell; “So Undercover,” starring Miley Cyrus; and Oren Peli’s "The Chernobyl Diaries." He is currently executive producing “Tammy,” starring Melissa McCarthy.
Cowan began his career in Canada in the early 1980s, working as an assistant director on such moneymaking films as “Three Men and a Baby,” starring Tom Selleck and Ted Danson; “Stakeout,” with Richard Dreyfuss and Emilio Estevez; and “Cocktail,” starring Tom Cruise.
During this time, Cowan worked on the Costa Gavras’ film “Betrayed,” starring Debra Winger and Tom Berenger, produced by Irwin Winkler. Winkler subsequently asked Cowan to work on Costa-Gavras’ “Music Box,” starring Jessica Lange, and to assist on Winkler’s directorial debut, “Guilty by Suspicion,” starring Robert De Niro and Annette Bening. Just after finishing the film in 1990, Cowan was asked to serve as Winkler Films’ head of development.
Cowan co-produced Winkler’s “Night and the City,” starring De Niro and Lange, subsequently taking the reins as President of Winkler Films. During his tenure, he produced the successful “The Net,” starring Sandra Bullock, which he and Winkler later turned into a television series for the USA Network; “The Juror,” starring Demi Moore and Alec Baldwin; “At First Sight,” starring Val Kilmer and Mira Sorvino; the critically acclaimed film “Life as a House,” starring Kevin Kline, Kristin Scott Thomas and Hayden Christensen; Michael Apted’s “Enough,” starring Jennifer Lopez; and the Cole Porter biopic “De-Lovely,” starring Kline and Ashley Judd, which was selected as the closing night film for the 2004 Cannes film festival. Cowan also executive produced the soundtrack album, which was nominated for a Grammy that year.
He also produced Showtime’s “Marciano,” which starred Jon Favreau and George C. Scott and which was selected as the opening night gala film of the Monte Carlo Television festival, as well as two films for the home video market, “Shackles,” starring D. L. Hughley, and a sequel to “The Net,” “The Net 2.0,” which he wrote and produced. Cowan wrapped up his time at Winkler films with the Iraq war film “Home of the Brave,” starring Samuel L. Jackson, Jessica Biel, Christina Ricci and rapper 50 Cent.
WALTER HAMADA (Executive Producer) is New Line Cinema’s Senior Vice President of Production. Among the feature films he has supervised are “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone,” “Final Destination 5,” “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and “Friday the 13th.” Slated for upcoming release are “Black Sky,” and “47 Ronin,” an action drama starring Keanu Reeves.
Prior to joining New Line in 2007, Hamada spent four years as a partner at H2F Entertainment, a management/production company he co-founded. While there, he helped build the careers of such writers as Chris Morgan (“Fast 5” and “Wanted”), Brad Gann (“Invincible”), and Matt Allen and Caleb Wilson (“Four Christmases”). He also produced the indie horror film “Whisper.”
A graduate of UCLA, Hamada began his career as an assistant at TriStar Pictures, where he quickly rose through the ranks and ultimately served as Vice President of Production for Columbia Pictures. While there, he oversaw the development and production of such films as “The Big Hit,” “Vertical Limit,” “Godzilla” and “S.W.A.T.”
DAVE NEUSTADTER (Executive Producer) has been a development executive with New Line Cinema since 2007 and currently serves as Vice President of Production for the studio. He most recently produced “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone,” starring Steve Carell and Steve Buscemi; the contemporary re-imagining of the seminal horror classic “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” starring Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy Krueger; and the romantic comedy “Going the Distance,” starring Drew Barrymore and Justin Long.
Among his upcoming projects are “We’re the Millers,” and the tornado thriller “Black Sky.”
Neustadter began his career at New Line in 2003 as an intern in the development department, then was hired as Richard Brener’s executive assistant. He is a graduate of Indiana University.
JOHN R. LEONETTI (Director of Photography) previously collaborated with James Wan on the horror film “Dead Silence”; “Death Sentence,” a revenge drama with Kevin Bacon; and the hit “Insidious.” His work will next be seen in the sequel, “Insidious: Chapter 2,” releasing September 13th.
Leonetti started working at age 13 in the manufacturing and rental departments at his father’s business, Leonetti Cine Rentals. Leonetti subsequently became an assistant cameraman and camera operator, working for cinematographer Vittorio Storraro, and directors such as Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola and Walter Hill.
In 1989, Hill asked Leonetti to be the director of photography on one of HBO’s first “Tales from the Crypt” episodes, entitled “The Man Who Was Death,” for which he earned a nomination for a CableAce Award for Best Cinematography. Leonetti went on to achieve three more CableAce nominations for his work on the series, collaborating with series directors Peter Medak, Tom Hanks and John Frankenheimer, who became a mentor and friend.
Leonetti reunited with Frankenheimer on the acclaimed HBO films based on real events, “Against the Wall,” and the “The Burning Season,” which won the Golden Globe for Best Mini- Series.
Among his recent features are “The Pitch” and “Truth or Dare” segments of the comedy “Movie 43,” with an ensemble cast including Seth McFarlane and Halle Berry; 2011’s “Soul Surfer,” based on the true story of 13-year-old Bethany Hamilton, the surfer who survived a shark attack; and “Super Hybrid,” the first RED Camera feature ever shot in Canada.
His additional films include “Pirhana 3DD”; Chris Sivertson’s “I Know Who Killed Me,” with Lindsay Lohan and produced by Frank Mancuso Jr; the indie film “The Woods”; “Raise Your Voice,” and “The Perfect Man,” both starring Hillary Duff; “Honey,” produced by Marc Platt; “The Scorpion King,” produced by Sean Daniels and Jim Jax; “Joe Dirt”; “Detroit Rock City”; “The Mask”; a music video directed by James Cameron; and “Mortal Kombat.”
His directing credits include “Mortal Kombat Annihilation,” which opened #1 at the box office, and “The Butterfly Effect 2.”
Among his other television credits are serving as cinematographer on the recent Steven Spielberg-produced series “The River”; the series “Providence.”
JULIE BERGHOFF (Production Designer) collaborated with James Wan for the fourth time on “The Conjuring,” having previously designed his horror hit “Saw,” as well as the thrillers “Dead Silence” and “Death Sentence.”
Her work will next be seen in Nicholas Stoller’s comedy “Townies,” starring Dave Franco, Zac Efron, Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne. She also previously designed Stoller’s “The Five Year Engagement.”
Among Berghoff’s other credits are Lisa Cholodenko’s Oscar®-nominated drama “The Kids Are All Right” and Bryce Dallas Howard’s directorial debut, the short “Orchids,” as well as Howard’s more recent dramatic short “When You Find Me.”
Berghoff began her film career building models for special effects companies in Chicago. That soon let to art direction and designing the stop-motion animation Fox Television show “The PJ's,” starring Eddie Murphy. Soon after, she transitioned into creating music videos and commercials, working jointly with prolific, acclaimed directors Herb Ritts, David LaChapelle, and Jared Hess. Her evolution into feature films quickly followed.
KIRK MORRI (Editor) previously collaborated with James Wan on his horror hit “Insidious” and his work will next be seen in the sequel, “Insidious: Chapter 2,” in theatres in September.
His other film credits include “Detour,” “Freelancers,” “Piranha 3DD,” “All Things Fall Apart,” “Gun,” “Circle of Eight,” “The Hills Have Eyes II,” “He Was a Quiet Man,” “Pulse,” and “Feast.”
KRISTIN M. BURKE (Costume Designer) has designed costumes for over forty feature films. She previously collaborated with James Wan on the horror movie “Death Sentence” and the successful paranormal thriller “Insidious.” Her work will next be seen in Wan’s sequel, “Insidious: Chapter 2,” in which Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne reprise their roles.
Among the many films she has designed for are the sci-fi romance “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World,” starring Steve Carell; the horror film “Paranormal Activity 2,” the Wayne Kramer dramas “Crossing Over,” starring Harrison Ford and Ashley Judd, “Running Scared,” with Vera Farmiga and “The Cooler,” starring William H. Macy and Alec Baldwin; the sports film “The Slaughter Rule,” starring Ryan Gosling; and the comedies “Star Maps,” and “Sex Drive,” starring James Marsden.
She has also designed costumes for music videos, commercials, and two television series. In addition, Burke is an internationally exhibited artist, specializing in collage and mail art, and had her first solo exhibition in Los Angeles in September, 2001.
Burke has authored several books - the first of which she co-authored with Holly Cole of Ohio University, Costuming for Film: the Art and the Craft, published in August, 2005 by Silman James Press. The college-level textbook on the ins and outs of designing costumes for films is also intended for industry professionals to broaden their understanding about the role of costumes in the collaborative medium of film. Going Hollywood: How to Get Started, Keep Going, and Not Turn Into a Sleaze, was published in September, 2004, and is in use at film schools and universities in seven countries. Additionally, Burke is the creator of the website FROCKTALK.COM, a blog about film costumes, featuring interviews and film reviews.
In 2005, Burke was selected by the Hollywood Reporter as one of 35 people under 35 to watch in “Next Gen: 2005,” and by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for “50 Designers: 50 Costumes”, a tribute to Hollywood film costuming. The exhibit of costumes and illustrations has toured the US, Canada & Japan.
Born in Orange, California, Burke was educated at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where she trained in the art of costume design with Virgil C. Johnson, an acclaimed designer for opera and the theater. While at Northwestern, Burke garnered awards at the Seattle Short Film Festival, the Nimes Festival in France, and the Dallas Film Festival for her experimental short films.
JOSEPH BISHARA (Bathsheba/Composer) is a composer and music producer who assembles unique scores combining elements ranging from classical to punk to industrial, all which inform the unique aesthetic evident in his work.
His effective style of composition has been applied to horror film scores that include “11-11-11,” “Night of the Demons,” “Autopsy,” and “The Gravedancers.” In 2010, he not only composed the score for James Wan’s “Insidious,” but also performed in the role of the Lipstick-Face Demon. His work will next be heard in the sequel, “Insidious: Chapter 2,” in theatres in September.
His additional works includes producing the soundtrack for the cult film “Repo! The Genetic Opera” and its musical successor, “The Devil’s Carnival.”
Bishara began his career as the guitarist and keyboardist for LA industrial metal band Drown, and followed with soundtrack work for “Mortal Kombat: Annihilation,” “Heavy Metal 2000" and “John Carpenter’s Ghosts of Mars.” He has contributed to remixes for many notable artists, including Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, Danzig and Christian Death, as well as programming and production work for the likes of Jane’s Addiction, Bauhaus, Megadeth, Rasputina, 16Volt and Prong.