After smacking our lips with complimentary moth balls at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City, Patrick Wilson was nice enough to chat with me one on one about his role as Josh Lambert in Insidious Chapter 2…
A part that afforded him the chance to play a more outlandish character instead of just cashing in on the success of the original.
Read our Insidious Chapter 2 review.
Dread Central: You’ve done your fair share of big budget films, but I think of you in terms of smaller, independent films like Little Children and Young Adult. Now it seems like audiences are getting to know you as a genre actor. Are you comfortable, at this point in your career, being associated with horror and do you think there’s any stigma to that all? Especially as the genre is enjoying such a huge success.
Patrick Wilson: I don’t think so. All it takes is one of the other movies to take off. I just got done doing an action comedy with Joe Carnahan with Chris Pine and Ed Helms called Stretch and I’m a limo driver named … Stretch. There’s a very dark comedy I did with Katherine Heigl and between that there are a bunch of other things that are completely different and not in this genre at all. I think right now, I’m sitting in this genre for these past few months, but if anything, I could see myself doing more The Conjuring movies just because of the nature of that story. I could do several of those because I’m playing a guy that’s investigating them. There’s a real reality grounded to that. I don’t know where else Insidious goes. This was fun and a great group of people and we wanted to swing with a big stick and blow it out of the water a little bit. I think even within the movies, I’m completely different in this movie than the first movie and, I think, very different than The Conjuring. I don’t really have a fear of being pigeonholed or anything and if younger audiences will only know me from these movies because they just happened to be 25 when Insidious came out …
DC: Their first date movie …
PW: That’s okay, I think if I hadn’t done 27 other movies that weren’t horror movies, I would be sort of worried. And I was like that early on. I was very conscious about, you know, when I did Phantom of the Opera and then I did Hard Candy. After Hard Candy I thought, ‘Oh no, I don’t want to be known as the pedophile guy.’
DC: That’s fair.
PW: Let me do a romantic comedy or something.
DC: Well, you’ve also had a big background in theater, so could you ever see “The Conjuring: A Musical” or “Insidious: The Musical”?
PW: Not with me, but the more the merrier.
DC: There haven’t been a lot of great success on Broadway and on stage with horror. It seems like it’s a lot harder to scare someone from the stage.
PW: Yeah, “Rocky Horror” isn’t very scary but I think it’s possible. It’s just a different type of thing. I don’t want to do any horror. I don’t think there’s anywhere else to go for me in horror movies. In most movies you’re either possessed, you’re possessing someone, or you’re trying to be the guy that gets rid of the possession. I’ve done all three in three movies. I don’t have any desire to go and do any more horror movies. Maybe because I am conscious of the fact that I don’t just want to be the horror guy. Put it this way, as long as Hollywood doesn’t pigeonhole me, I’m good to go.
DC: There’s kind of a setup for a third one in this, but if you continue to go down this path, are you going to feel like an actor that’s trapped in his own version of The Further?
PW: Without giving anything away, when I read the script … and James and I … look, I love the guy. We’ve done three movies together and I’d love to do more. When you read the end of the script, it was how I felt when I watched the end of the movie. They’re moving on. That’s what it looks like. What else do you do with the Lambert family?
DC: You’re kind of playing two sides of a character in this. Did it take more of a psychological toll while filming? Was it more demanding or more fun? The audience doesn’t really know whether to trust you and neither does your family, so the audience relates more to your family in this one.
PW: Which is good. The fears of the first one, by the end of it, come to fruition. It was equally as exciting as it was exhausting. There’s a sense of accomplishment where you’re just screaming and yelling and just going insane and it’s exhausting.
DC: And then you have to do it twenty times.
PW: That’s the fun stuff. That’s why you do it. I’ve kind of exhausted his emotions by this point. Unless he just sits and cries in a corner, I guess I haven’t done that.
DC: When you read the script, were you surprised just how batshit the story was?
PW: I knew they wanted to. I felt like better to be bold than… what are we gonna do? Have a new demon and just come up with a new makeup idea? Then you’d really feel like you were just a pawn of the system. I think even they wanted to be bold. James is equally fascinated by the classic ‘70s movies, as I’m sure he is about the ‘80s movies that are borderline camp and melodramatic, and you see that in this. The striking makeup and the heightened dialogue and that’s okay. It’s a different type of horror movie and I applaud that.
DC: Something within the horror genre that has this great success, as opposed to being in a summer blockbuster where it’s expected to do really well, how does that compare with something like The A-Team or Watchmen?
PW: It’s very interesting because you start to see the backlash. There’s a number of different elements at play. I think it ultimately comes down to is the movie good or not? The problem is, and I’ll say this about World War Z, is that you walked in there knowing they did hundreds of millions of dollars on reshoots. Then you go, that was really good.
DC: And does a mainstream audience really even care?
PW: This movie was done in 26 days for a couple million bucks. You keep your costs low on a movie and then it makes everyone look good when the movie does well. Yes, people want to get scared but people love a good story and love good characters and I think The Conjuring, to me, hit both of those: a story people could latch onto that weren’t just horror fans. It’s not like they gave us thirty million dollars and said go make Insidious 2. Let’s keep our same group, let’s keep our same formula, and you keep the same control.
DC: Were you reluctant to do a sequel? Obviously, there wasn’t going to be a sequel to The Alamo because everyone dies. You’re up for doing more movies with The Conjuring, but you don’t see this going further?
PW: I don’t know where you go with Insidious with the Lambert family. To me, I don’t know where we can go. It’s four or five weeks working with people I really like in a genre that I trust and let’s be bold, man! I get to go crazy and wear fun makeup. It’s not rocket science. For me, it was an easy yes. I’m not precious about, ya know, well, it’s not my “Hamlet” but that’s okay. It’s a fun role and I get to stretch out and do my version of Jack Torrance.
Insidious Chapter 2 is in theatres now.
Related Story: Check out our Insidious Chapter 2 news archive
Jason Blum’s Blumhouse Productions is producing (with Alliance financing). FilmDistrict will distribute the film theatrically in the United States, with Sony handling the majority of domestic ancillary rights. Alliance will distribute in Canada, the U.K. (through its Momentum Pictures subsidiary), and Spain (through Aurum); and Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions will distribute in all other international territories.
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