James Wan is having a moment right now. The director behind “Saw” and “Insidious” just had the release date for his next picture, “The Conjuring,” moved from early winter 2013 right into blockbuster season. But even he didn’t expect the audacious release date change, a recent shift that puts the film at the heart of next summer. “Warner Bros. has given us Chris Nolan’s slot, July 19th,” he said in awe when we caught up with him at New York Comic Con. “I’m very flattered and honored!”
“The Conjuring” tells the story of a family haunted by the spirit of an evil witch who then summon the Warrens, a husband-and-wife ghost hunting team to try and get to the bottom of what’s happening. Originally called “The Warren Files,” the film is actually based on a real story. “They were the reason we have all these ghost hunting shows on TV,” Wan says. “These were the first people that started it, they were the original modern day ghost hunters. They pioneered the use of cameras and technology to capture evidence.”
Wan takes great glee in using this film to deflate the popular notion of people in haunted houses being too stubborn to move, noting that the film’s Perron family (Ron Livingston, Lili Taylor) have moved into a farmhouse and have stretched themselves thin with five children. “A lot of times this happens to families that are poor,” Wan notes. “People pour all their mortgage into these houses, you sunk everything in, but it’s a lot easier for a rich family to go, you know what? This is fucking with our family, we’re going to move out. We can just go buy another house. It’s not a big thing.”
Though he raises an eyebrow when he adds this wrinkle, “In our case, one of the things the Warrens pointed out is that, it doesn’t matter if you move out, if a spirit takes a liking to you, it latches itself to you, and it goes with you. And one of the stories they’ve said is about things that have followed you home.” Lock your doors, kids.
Wan is also at work on a sequel to “Insidious,” though he assures fans that this won’t be a case like the “Saw” films, a series he departed early on. “It’s in the pipeline,” Wan says of “Insidious 2.” “I never worked on any of the ‘Saw’ sequels. I worked on the story of the second film, and that’s it. Here, I want to keep more of the ownership of it, I don’t want to give it away so easily. So I’m definitely overseeing it more, and [‘Saw’ writer] Leigh [Whannel]’s writing it, so we’ll see if it’s something I want to direct or not.”
Don’t look for any news about another “Saw,” though Wan claims he and his associates have always laughed about doing “Saw” in space. “Wouldn’t it be laughable?” He asks. “I’m gonna wait for ‘Paranormal Activity’ in space. But I would see a sci-fi version of ‘Saw,’ like set in the future. That would be cool!” he jokes.
“The Conjuring” hits theaters July 19, 2013.