THE CONJURING: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT is the latest entry in the main series of the Conjuring Universe and centers around one of the most notorious cases of demonic possession that shocked even experienced real-life paranormal investigations Ed and Lorraine Warren. It starts with a fight for the soul of a young boy, then takes them beyond anything they’d ever seen before, to mark the first time in U.S. history that a murder suspect would claim demonic possession as a defense.
Prior to the release of the film, Nightmarish Conjurings had the chance to speak with actor Eugenie Bondurant, known for her roles in Fear of Rain and Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, who plays The Occultist, a mysterious character that torments the Warrens. During the interview, we discussed everything from playing villainous characters, to having a knife inches from Vera Farmiga’s eye, and more.
Hi Eugenie, I’m excited to chat with you today! To kick things off, how does it feel to now be part of the Conjuring Universe?
Eugenie Bondurant: Amazing [laughs]! I didn’t really know what that concept meant when I booked It. James Ferrera, who was the onsite publicist said, “Well, you know now you’re a part of the Conjuring Universe,” and I looked at him like a deer in headlights. Then it dawned on me, “Oh my god, I’m part of this family now and it’s great.” It’s a good family, it’s a really wonderful, supportive family.
I first noticed you in Fear of Rain (2021) where you played Dani McConnell, a mysterious woman with dark, disturbing secrets. Now you’re back in another horror film playing a much different type of villainous character. What do you enjoy most about playing these types of characters?
Eugenie Bondurant: Well, that’s interesting that you say that because you don’t know in the beginning of your career what the future holds for you. When I first started off years and years ago, I would send out my headshots and postcards and was constantly pushing and promoting and I never understood why I was never called in for a soap opera. I thought, come on, all my friends are auditioning for that, why not me? [laughs]. Then it suddenly dawned on me that maybe the thinness, maybe the height, maybe the angularity, maybe the vibe, I don’t know… but yeah, it’s a blast though. I didn’t realize it can be so much fun working on a horror movie.
When it comes to the Occultist, she’s one that’s shrouded in a lot of mystery. Prior to filming were you given more of a backstory in order to understand the character better?
Eugenie Bondurant: Not really, actually. I first heard the Devil Made Me Do It story in its entirety when we had a table read and I thought, oh, that’s interesting [laughs]. I like to do my homework, I like to take the script apart, I take my story out and I work on it and I digest it and I look for clues in the story that would help me enrich my story. It was interesting to hear that all come together and hear clues about that. So that was the start of that and then I went, “Oh a big revelation, that’s why I do what I do!” For me, I want to know as much information as I can about her, but whatever I don’t see in the script or whatever conclusions that may not present themselves maybe that’s not part of the story, then I can come to conclusions for myself and then it helps to justify those conclusions. It’s fun to do. It’s like playing Clue.
There are a few scenes where you go head-to-head with America’s sweethearts (I just made that up) Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga. But one, in particular, has you pointing a knife inches away from Vera’s eye. How was it doing that scene?
Eugenie Bondurant: I just want to let you know immediately when you said that I put my hand up to my mouth and I’m just like, “Ooooooooo” [laughs]. [Vera] is such a trooper, she is such an incredible actress and I learned so much. Also, I teach actors so going on set and working with different people, I get to see how they work and how they operate and what they do and what their process is and I can then bring that back in when I talk to my actors about it. It’s interesting watching [Vera], she is the coolest lady and it is understandable that she is America’s sweetheart. I worked with our stunt coordinator and the wonderful stunt crew on how I was supposed to be doing this [scene]. You know, what looks good and how am I supposed to actually hold a knife, they taught me. I felt so comfortable by the time we got on set and Vera and I actually got to work together. Both she and I were comfortable with the choreography that we’re supposed to do with that. It’s funny you say something about that knife because Chaves said a few days before [the scene] “How do you feel about holding a knife to an A-list actor, just like an inch about her eye?” Thank you, no pressure [laughs].
One of my favorite scenes is towards the end when your character is confronted with her fate resulting in a terrifying contortion of your body. Was that something you were able to perform or was a stunt actor brought in?
Eugenie Bondurant: In the contortion scene, a lot of it was me but I just want to go on the record I am not a contortionist. What Chaves and I had done was work together via Zoom because that was a scene that was shot later. We were lucky to have had the luxury of taking the time to figure out does this work. What if I do this with my arms? I can go this far with my arms. What if I move my head this way? Then Chaves pulled the magic of putting it together with, I think, a touch of CGI here and there. That’s how that wonderful, fun contortion scene came together.
For more on THE CONJURING: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT, read our review here. THE CONJURING: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT is in theaters and IMAX as well as HBO Max for 31 days from the theatrical release of June 4th.
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