Review of Eugenie Bondurant Explains How She Brought The Conjuring’s Occultist to Life

Daljit Kalsi
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Having already been released on digital, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is now out on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and DVD. The third Conjuring film once again stars Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as Ed and Lorraine Warren. It also features a standout performance by Eugenie Bondurant as the occultist.

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It centers around the chilling story of terror, murder, and unknown evil that shocked even experienced real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren,” says the official synopsis. “Described as one of the most sensational cases from their files, the film begins with a fight for the soul of a young boy, which 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.”

To celebrate its home release, ComingSoon’s Jeff Ames spoke with The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It star Eugenie Bondurant about the film, her unique career, and her approach to the occultist.

Jeff Ames: So right off the bat, I wanted to talk a little bit about you and your overarching career. What drew you to the world of filmmaking? Because you’ve worn a lot of different hats. You’ve been a director on short films. You’ve acted obviously and been a producer. So what initially drew you to this world?

Eugenie Bondurant: Well, I was modeling at the time I was in Europe, in Paris, and a boyfriend who had lived in New York had called me on the phone and said, “Hey, I’m moving to LA and I thought good for you.” Because I was living in New York and then Paris and he said, “Why don’t you come and visit?” I said, send me a plane ticket as an aside and he did. So I went and I went to go visit him. Lucky for me when we broke up, my sister was living there with her family. When we broke up, the agency that I had in LA actually started booking me and I started working and doing commercials and then that led to bit parts. So that’s how that ended up now. I graduated from college and it was not in theater. I was not a theater major and didn’t even know that that world would be my future, but we don’t know what’s in our future. It’s made an interesting turn. I’ve had an interesting life. It’s been fun.

That’s interesting because people get formal training and things like that. How did you approach these different characters that you were playing?

Well, I always got, um, I know I bought, this has been a pattern for me in the interesting, um, roles and character roles. And I embraced that and I realized, uh, when I would go into auditions when I didn’t really know what I was doing and I realized I better get to an acting class. So I did, I started taking acting classes. I was also teaching at the moment too. I mean, at the time too, because I was working commercially. So we talked commercial, I think. So I took acting classes. I started, I worked with a private coach as well, and I fast-forwarded that training and hence the continuation of the very interesting character roles that have been my world.

Well, and so how would you say your acting has evolved over the years? With The Conjuring, is that a performance you feel like you could have given early on in your career?

I might’ve. But I back then was booked as more of a ninja Twiggy. My first gig, it was for Lady Boss, which was a mini-series. I feel like a hundred years ago. A Jackie Collins miniseries, and I had slicked-back hair and wore high heels. I was a bodyguard, of course. I’m thin as a rail and I have heels on with lots of makeup because all bodyguards are supposed to look like that. New York Times magazine called me a ninja Twiggy and I thought, oh, that’s cool and didn’t realize what that [meant], I thought, oh, that’s neat. That was the first time I’ve gotten a chair with my name on it on set. I thought, oh, this is how it’s always going to be, which isn’t always the case, but it was really fun. It was a really fun start. Now it’s Twiggy has become the occultist. So I think that was a natural progression. I mean, I’ve played a lot of different, interesting oddball roles and embraced them and they’re so much fun.

So which of those would you say stood out to you the most or continues to stand out to you? When you look back on your career, [what makes you say], “If I could revisit that character, I would”?

Absolutely. I would revisit the occultist anytime. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Diving into her world and finding out more about it. Yeah. She’s compelling. People want to see more of her and that means I did my job well. That meant that I’m really a member of The Conjuring family because really if you look at all The Conjuring films in The Conjuring universe, we always want to know more about not just the protagonist, but really the antagonist. How did they get there? Why are they doing that? I mean, look at the nun. So, you know, there was a spin-off and it’s very curious. How did that character become that character. So yeah, this one.

Eugenie Bondurant The Conjuring

When you were approaching this character, the occultist, did you have a backstory in mind for her that you would maybe want to go back and re-explore that?

I’m a Meisner-trained doctor and with Meisner, you look at everything. You look at every single detail, all the facts and you see how they are relevant, not only to the character but to you. There’s sort of a, not an ad-libbing, but conversation on how they’re relevant, what they mean. Like if I said a word, like swing, what would swing conjure up? I’m not using conjuring in the sense of The Conjuring, but what would it mean to you? How does it feel to you? It’s the air going back and forth. It’s the feeling of the swing, it’s the comfort. So Meisner acting, we look at that. We look at all those facts and how they all create that picture of that character, but also how that character fits within the role in the story, that storyline.

I’m also an acting coach. I live with stuff every week with my acting students. So it’s part of my being, I mean, I live and breathe it. So you also look at how the character relates to the story and why she’s doing it. In my case, a female, why is she doing what she’s doing then? Why is it so important to her? How does that relate to me as a human being? I’m not going to ask the question, “Well, do I have an altar on the side? Do I make magic? Do I cast spells?” No, I don’t do that. But if you look at her, is it love she seeking? Is it retribution? What is it? And that then becomes a base for how you can justify her actions and how it relates to the film.

That’s interesting. See, I love that kind of stuff. So when you’re really getting into the nuances of the character, does that help? Because with her, it seemed like it was a lot of little subtle movements and just very slight mannerisms and things like that. Was that something that you practiced or was that like a direction given to you?

Both. So, Michael Chaves is very specific with his baddies. Okay. Now I’m a baddie. I play a baddie and we had a very good relationship where I could bring forth the emotional backstory and if it needed to be adjusted, then he could bring in that adjustment because I’m not looking at the monitor. Like I’m not doing that. I’m just coming from a place of truth in my mind. Like, what is true for her? What is true for me? Are there parallel stories there? So he can then make that adjustment and refine it a little bit more. For instance, the blow of the dust. I did it one way because how do you, but he wanted it a little more specific. So we rehearsed that one movement quite a bit, quite long, actually, just to get it right. I’m glad I did because look at the results. I had to trust him. He had to trust me. He’s that type of director that you really want to want to trust him and he needs that trust. So he’s great. He was great to work with

What would you say is the most difficult aspect of it, and maybe you’ve already covered it, so apologies if I’m repeating myself, but just curious. As an actress in a horror genre, what is, and with this particular character, what would you say was the most challenging aspect of the occultist?

So not emotionally, actually technically, stunts. That ended up being blessed. When you look at that hill, I’m a hiker, but I’m not a hiker on big, big mountains or anything. But I look at the hill and I go, “ahh,” and then I reached the top of the hill and I go, “Wow, I did that.” That’s what it felt like I was doing. It was like, oh, no, no, these stunts and that technical thing. I’m so grateful. I got to work with the stunt coordinator and stunts to practice and practice. So it looks real. That movement is real. That sharpness is there. That is believable because that is important to me. Chaves knew it was important to me and it’s important to the product.

Because I would think like maybe getting bent by an unseen demon would probably be the hardest thing. That’s what I was going for.

That was a piece of cake. No, that was tough. That part was tough, but we worked that out. Chaves and I worked over Zoom, believe it or not. There was a little bit of a gap when we shot that. We worked, he said this, he had his thoughts. I said, oh, let me do some research and let me try to figure out, try to interpret that from my perspective. And we would have these meetings on Zoom and then sometimes I take things and I’d send them to him. So he could get a sense of what my body could do and what I couldn’t do now. Like for instance, the contortion at the beginning of the film, I’m probably giving something away, but that was a real contortionist who did that contortion. So it was important for him that the thing that was shown is something that was real. So what I did at the end is actually, was actually real. Yeah, it was tough, but boy, it was a blast when he said, okay, we’re doing this stuff. It’s the end of the film. It was just really let’s dive into it. Let’s have fun. Yeah. It looks weird and strange, but we created it in such way that it looks magical and real at the end and scary.

You definitely scared me and my daughter, but we watched it together.

I’m so sorry I scared your daughter.

No, it’s great. You did good. You did a good job. So that’s all that matters. Final question, but where do you go from here? How do you top the occultist?

I cannot believe no one else has asked me that question. The Occultist 2. No, I don’t know. It was great though. I don’t know the answer to that, but I tell you, it would be great working with this production team again. That would be how to top them.

The post Eugenie Bondurant Explains How She Brought The Conjuring’s Occultist to Life appeared first on ComingSoon.net.



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