James Wan

Oct. 02, 2014 | 5:36 p.m.

‘Annabelle’ director conjured prequel horror film from ‘Rosemary’s Baby’

Watch the new film “Annabelle,” which arrives in theaters Friday as the first horror movie of October, and you might experience a slight sense of déjà vu. A prequel to last year’s breakout hit “The Conjuring,” “Annabelle” owes a creative debt to Roman Polanski’s classic “Rosemary’s Baby,” which sees expectant mother Rosemary Woodhouse (Mia Farrow) increasingly come to believe that evil forces are pursuing her unborn child. “Annabelle” director John R. Leonetti said he took a great deal of inspiration both for the look of his movie, which is set entirely in Southern California in the 1960s, from the 1968 thriller, which earned supporting actress Ruth Gordon an Oscar for her performance as the Satanist-next-door Minnie Castevet. But thematically, the movies link up too. While “Annabelle” purports to explain the origins of the evil doll introduced in “The Conjuring,” both […]
May 07, 2014 | 1:36 p.m.

‘Insidious: Chapter 3’: Leigh Whannell to direct spooky sequel

Leigh Whannell, co-creator of the “Insidious” and “Saw” franchises, will direct “Insidious: Chapter 3,” the third installment in the spooky horror franchise. Whannell will also write the third film and reprise his role as paranormal investigator Specs, with franchise co-creator James Wan serving as producer along with Jason Blum and “Paranormal Activity” creator Oren Peli. Wan has stepped away from the horror genre for the time being to direct “Fast & Furious 7,” handing off the reins to the series to his frequent collaborator and film school friend Whannell, who will make his feature directorial debut with the sequel. Wan tweeted his excitement about his frequent partner taking over, writing, “Wow, @LWhannell is going to outdo me by doing all three roles – writing, directing and acting – in his first film as director!” A breakout hit, the haunted house tale […]
May 29, 2013 | 7:07 p.m.

‘Insidious: Chapter 2’ director James Wan on weird, surreal horror

Australian director James Wan and actor-screenwriter Leigh Whannell have found plenty of good box-office fortune in the horror genre. Their debut feature, 2004’s “Saw,” launched a grisly movement, and their 2011 film “Insidious” turned out to be one of the surprise hits that year, grossing more than $97 million worldwide on a production budget of around $1 million. “Insidious” offered restrained supernatural thrills with its tale of a young family whose son (Ty Simpkins) becomes pursued by a red-faced demon that inhabits a ghostly dimension called the Further. For the follow-up, due in theaters Sept. 13, Wan and Whannell reunited with “Insidious” cast members Rose Byrne, Patrick Wilson, Barbara Hershey and Lin Shaye with an eye toward playing up the domestic drama on screen. It’s a busy time for Wan — “Insidious: Chapter 2” actually will be the second film […]
April 03, 2013 | 6:02 p.m.

‘The Conjuring’: Director James Wan channels real-life scares

In 1952, paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren founded the New England Society for Psychic Research. Ed was a demonologist, Lorraine, a trance medium, and together, they worked on a number of cases, including the legendary Amityville haunting. But it’s a different supernatural situation that’s explored in the new film from director James Wan, “The Conjuring,” set for release July 19. The real Lorraine Warren appeared alongside Wan on stage at WonderCon in Anaheim this past weekend, where she praised the accuracy of the new movie, based on the investigation of a haunting at a Rhode Island farmhouse occupied by the Perron family. (Ed Warren died in 2006.) The Perron case was made public in the 2011 memoir “House of Darkness, House of Light: The True Story” written by Andrea Perron, one of the young girls whose family occupied the […]
March 30, 2011 | 3:48 p.m.

‘Insidious’ filmmakers on their haunted house update: ‘A lot of the scares were taken from real life’

  Australian director James Wan and actor-screenwriter Leigh Whannell hit it huge with their debut feature “Saw” in 2004 but their latest collaboration, “Insidious,” a haunted house story about a family visited by some very unusual ghosts, stays away from the torturous gore in favor of supernatural thrills. The film, which debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival last fall, hits theaters Friday, and Wan and Whannell spoke to Hero Complex contributor Patrick Kevin Day by phone recently about their new tale of terror. (Please note, some spoilers ahead.) PKD: I’ve heard you say many of the spooky incidents depicted in the movie were taken from real life. How many? LW: A lot actually. There’s a scene with Rose [Byrne] in the middle of the night where she sees an unwanted guest in her bedroom. That was taken from a […]
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