When we arrived on the set of The Nun in Bucharest, Romania last summer, we were quietly ushered in as we had gotten there in the middle of a take. We sat down to watch the scene unfold, and once it finished we got some time to talk to one of the film’s stars, Taissa Farmiga about her character, Sister Irene. She started by telling us how she found out about the role.
“My manager sent me the script and the audition a few months ago – I think it was back in March – and I was actually with my sister Vera. She was in town and we were having dinner and the email popped up and I was like, ‘Oh that’s funny, an audition for The Nun, a Conjuring spinoff,’ and she thought that was hilarious,” said Farmiga. “That was on a Friday night and I had my audition on Monday…”
She must have done a good job since she’s co-starring in the movie, but even though her character exists in the same universe as her sister’s character of Lorraine Warren, we were told multiple times over the weekend visit that there was no connection what-so-ever between the two, which may come as a disappointing shock to some. However, Farmiga continued to talk about the role and why she thinks the series latched on to so many people.
“I remember Vera talking about the Conjuring movie years ago and she had such a wonderful time on it and all of a sudden, when I heard about The Nun, they told me there’s an Annabelle spinoff and this and it’s just sort of blown up,” Farmiga exclaimed. “People really love it, people really respond to that elevated horror. I think one of the things that was great about what Corin [Hardy] wanted to do with The Nun is that – a lot of people like the thrill, the scares, and the adrenaline rush – but what makes these movies so wonderful is [that] you really connect to the characters. The human emotion and grounding in these movies are set in the sort of embellished worlds, grounding it with real human emotion.”
We asked if her sister gave her any tips for working on a movie in one of the scariest franchises out there, and she actually had a pretty spooky story to tell.
“Well, I know that she [Vera Farmiga] had a little bit of a hard time sometimes. She was coming home alone at night, so one of the tips that she had given me was to leave it at work,” said Farmiga. “Leave all the stress, the heaviness, and the horror. Try to separate it from yourself. That’s part of the meditation I’ve been doing – controlling your thoughts – it’s not easy, guys, it’s really not that easy. Other than that, she said, ‘Don’t let it get to you.’ There were times when I texted her, ‘I just got home, I have to shut the lights off, I love you,’ and she’s like, ‘Okay, be safe,’ and sent me an angel emoji.”
While on set, the first thing we were taken into was the giant water tank, though once inside I’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference between the elaborate spiraling dungeon staircase before me and the real thing. It had a damp, mildewy smell and there was even a chill running through the air as we stepped in. Water was dripping down the walls and pooling in the center of the floor. Farmiga explained the scene to us, while also revealing that it kept her awake all night.
“We’ve been shooting – it’s been almost eight weeks now – and honestly, it was about four nights ago that I let my guard down,” Farmiga says. “I had a very terrible night’s sleep and had a hard time just even letting myself relax. It was right after we shot on this set behind us, this beautiful set you can’t see, it was filled with water, a stunt scene, an emotional and demonic scene.”
The Nun releases September 7, 2018.