The Nun stars Taissa Farmiga as Sister Irene, a novice nun. In 1952, she travels with Father Burke, played by Demián Bichir, to investigate the mysterious suicide of a nun. The film is a spin-off of The Conjuring 2 and the fifth movie in The Conjuring series. The two stars discuss their characters’ motivations and the film’s appeal.
THE PRIEST AND THE NOVICE
When asked what drives his character of Father Burke, Bichir said, “First of all, he’s a soldier. He had a terrible experience in the past and that’s exactly why he said to everybody, especially the Vatican, can you not come to me anymore. Until they call again. And then since you’re a soldier, and it doesn’t matter, like feelings or fears. You get up and get to it.”
Reacting to director Corin Hardy’s ghostly on-set experience, Bichir said, “Because of being Father Burke, this Dirty Harry of souls, you can’t be afraid. My head, my brain, my heart, were stronger and alert at all times.”
Playing a novice nun, Farmiga had a very different role to prepare for. “There wasn’t a specific thing,” Farmiga said. “I did watch The Nun’s Story with Audrey Hepburn, which was a huge inspiration. Just for all the information about what it takes to become a nun and all the little details about, on daily basis, what the struggle is like. Because it’s a struggle for self-perfection and it’s an almost completely unattainable goal.”
“So, that’s one thing I wanted to incorporate in my performance, was the physicality of it, which is walk humbly, walk close to walls, close doors quietly, don’t talk… don’t talk without purpose. Only talking to have something important to say. And there’s a lot of little details that you don’t think about on a normal basis. How you’re holding yourself. So, I thought that was really important to bring to Sister Irene.”
Horror film have always fascinated audiences. When asked what will attract people to The Nun, Farmig said, “Audiences fell in love with this demon nun character in The Conjuring 2. So, I think they want to know where something so evil and malicious can come from. The Nun is sort of an origin story for her. You get to see where she’s born, and where she comes from, and who draws her out. I think that’s satisfying. And also, it’s terrifying. So, when you have something that’s supposed to be so pure and holy and it’s tainted, it’s just ugh. It’s just, it doesn’t feel right.”
THE CONJURING CONNECTION
Taissa Farmiga is not entirely new to The Conjuring series. Her sister Vera Farmiga played paranormal investigator Lorraine Warren in both The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2. “I think her biggest piece of advice was leave work at work,” said Farmiga. “To play Lorraine, she had to do a lot of research into demonology and exorcism, which luckily, I got to avoid. And I focus more on the pure and the holy and what it takes to be a nun. But it was very good advice. I didn’t want any supernatural occurrences to happen, so I chose to shut myself off to them. And I left work at work.”
The Nun hits theaters September 7, 2018.