Madison Wolfe is going to scare you the most in The Conjuring 2. She plays Janet Hodgson, a British girl possessed by the spirit of Bill Wilkins. The story is based on the case of the Enfield Poltergeist, a true story from the files of Ed and Lorraine Warren.
In The Conjuring 2, Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga return as Ed and Lorraine Warren. This time they travel to London to help the Hodgson family. Ed interviews Wilkins within Janet’s body, and makes her drink water to prove she’s no doing the voice. We got to meet Wolfe in a roundtable interview for The Conjuring 2 which opens this weekend in theaters.
Did anything weird happen on set?
There were little noises and such, but I think most of the weird things happened during our audition process. When we uploaded my tape onto my acting coach’s computer, the date was December 1979 instead of 2015. Conjuring was set in the 1970s so we were like, “Agh, that’s a little weird.”
How familiar were you with the first Conjuring?
I love scary movies so when I read for the role of Janet, I convinced my mom that I had to see the first one for research. So I finally got to watch the first one.
Was it scary enough for you?
A little. It was terrifying.
Did you keep the water in your mouth for the whole take?
I did. I actually did keep the water in my mouth.
So you were method?
I guess to some extent. I stayed in my British accent the whole time while filming.
Did making the film change your feelings about the paranormal?
I think for me meeting Janet and Margaret really opened my eyes, because she talked to us and told us this is what happened. I think meeting them really influenced me and my performance, made me want to portray their story correctly and as well as I could.
What is James Wan like as a director?
He’s amazing. I think that he’s so patient and so giving of his time and really is a perfectionist. I think that’s why his films come out so amazing.
Have you seen the film yet?
I have. I was terrified. It’s funny because I was watching myself knowing exactly what’s going to happen and I was still scared. I was sitting in the theater, the screening room and I was like, “Wow, it’s amazing what they can do in post production.” It looks so different on the screen.
Were you surprised by any changes that were made?
I think a little bit. I think that always happens when filming a movie. Some stuff makes it in. Some stuff looks totally different. Some stuff you don’t even remember filming but I think it was a great film. The final product was amazing.
How do you approach playing a character from such a well known incident?
I know for me, I really had a lot of physical transformation. I cut my hair, I dyed it, I had contacts to color my eyes. I even had a set of fake teeth to make them a little less straight. We also did our research. It’s great when you can look in a mirror and see Janet rather than yourself.
What was the scariest scene to film?
None of the scenes were scary to film. Honestly, there were scenes that I can remember thinking, “This will be scary in the theater. This will scare audiences.” But I was never scared on set. For me, I liked the stunts because I did some of my own stunts, all of them that they would let me do.
For instance, the scene where I’m on the ceiling, they actually built the set upside down and there was a trapdoor that I would fall through. So that was really, really cool.
Since you love scary movies, what are your favorites?
This is going to sound super biased, but Conjuring 1 hands down. That was one of the best, but I think that Mr. James is really good at telling a story rather than just packing the film with horror. You also have the romance between Ed and Lorraine Warren. You have the family bond between Janet and her family. I know for Janet, you have the internal struggle of “I don’t want to hurt my family but I can’t do anything.” I think it tells a great story.
Caring about them makes it scarier, doesn’t it?
Especially because it’s a true story. You bond with those characters as an audience watching the film.
Did Patrick Wilson remember working with you on Home Sweet Hell?
As I mentioned before, I stayed in my British accent during the filming and that included the table read. So we were reading the script, all of the cast members, and Patrick kept looking at me and I kept looking at him because I knew that I had worked with him. But he didn’t recognize me because I was speaking in a British accent. I can’t remember if I had cut my hair already but anyway, I probably looked different too. So at the end, I went up to him and I was like, “Hey, I played your daughter. How’s it going?” And he was like, “Oh my God, hi! How did you end up here? That’s great, congratulations.” It was super funny. It was a joke for a while on set.
Are you naturally good at accents?
Lauren [Esposito] who played Margaret is Australian. So whenever me or Lauren would say something that didn’t sound British, Patrick [McAuley] and Ben [Haigh] would be like, “Hey, you might want to check that.” I would always try to say y’all in a British accent because I’m from the south, and they’re like, “Madison, that’s not British.” Oh right, thanks.
Where in the South are you from?
From New Orleans, Louisiana.
Do you still live there?
I do. I still live there. I still go to school there.
They make a lot of films there.
They do, which was great for me because when I was starting out, I did tons of stuff locally. I think that’s really important, to get your experience first.
Are you doing regular school there?
I am. I just graduated from my middle school.
Do your classmates know you’re an actor, or do they care?
I think that they know and they think it’s really cool and they’re really supportive of me, but a lot of the people I’m friends with, I’ve been friends with and going to school with for 10 years, so all my life. So I know that they’re really my friends and not just there for the acting, because I’ve been friends with them for a long time.
What are you doing next?
I have a film called I Kill Giants that I will be filming in August/September. I think they decided to shoot in Ireland, so that’s going to be super, super cool.
Who’s directing that?
Anders Walter. He’s won an Oscar for his short film so I’m super psyched to work with him.
Are you a giant killer?
I don’t know, you’ll have to watch it and see.
Or a giant?
No, I am not a giant.