“I do not like spiders; I do not like the dark; I do not like being alone in the dark; I do not like supernatural things. Anything that would be classified as potentially scary, I most likely do not like it,” shares actress Taissa Farmiga with a laugh, of her many fears.
Ironically enough, her latest film just happens to be the horror flick The Nun, which the friendly 24-year-old is calling from Los Angeles to talk about.
But that’s not her first foray into the horror genre. Farmiga is best known for her role in the horror-thriller series American Horror Story – where she made her TV debut back in 2011.
“I am someone who gets scared easily, but I’m doing these projects that’s making me come to terms with my fear … handle it face on,” she reasons.
Also, she says, as an actress, having a fear for the supernatural, she could then convince her brain and body to react naturally when filming The Nun.
Farmiga explains: “When you are on set, at this old dilapidated castle in Romania, and you are working with someone in full demon makeup, it’s easy for me to feel like I am being transported back to 1952, in Romania, and I am battling a demon.”
In The Nun, Farmiga plays Sister Irene who is sent by the Vatican, along with Father Burke (Demian Bichir), to an abbey in Romania to investigate the death of a young nun. To uncover the truth, they must confront a malevolent force in the form of a demonic nun that’s haunting the holy ground.
Is there, perhaps, a connection between Sister Irene and Vera’s character, Lorraine Warren?
“You know, as of right now, I don’t have a clear answer for you. It might be a coincidence – that seems to be the way right now – but I don’t know yet. I hate those answers, I wish I could confirm something for you but I genuinely do not know,” apologises the New Jersey native who now resides in Los Angeles.
What she does tells us is the advice her sister gave her after she got the role in The Nun.
“Vera had to do a lot of research into demonology and the supernatural (for The Conjuring). One piece of advice she gave me was, ‘When you come home at night, find the best way to make your space at home bright and beautiful. Make sure you open the window and let the light in because the movie’s theme is so dark and so heavy.’
“We filmed in Romania, so my home was a hotel room. But I did my best to make sure I had flowers around and candles, and things that comforted me.”
Well, it must have worked because Farmiga says she didn’t have any supernatural experience either on the set of The Nun or when she was staying at the hotel.
“I am very, very happy that I didn’t have any spooky experience,” she says. “But I will be honest with you, I chose to close myself off. When I left work, I left all the demons there. When I went home, I shut my brain and my heart from it.”
While she may want to ward off all supernatural elements from her life, one thing she’s glad to have opened her heart to is acting.
Farmiga, who has six older siblings, had no interest in acting when she was a teenager.
But Vera, who is 21 years her senior, convinced the then 16-year-old Taissa to be in the film she was directing, playing the teen version of Vera’s character.
The film was Higher Ground (2011) which had cameos from other family members like their mum, grandmother and sisters.
It was then that Farmiga fell in love with acting and although she admits to being a private person, she relishes every roles she gets.
Farmiga elaborates: “I never wanted to act. (But Higher Ground) opened the door, and American Horror Story came my way. When I started acting, Vera would encourage me. She would go, ‘I really loved you in the film, you did a great job, people are excited, go try it out and see how it goes.’
“Every year, I fall more and more in love with acting. I don’t think I’d be who I am if I didn’t have the last seven years to express myself creatively.
“Acting really helped me when I was a teenager, and in my early 20s – to figure out who I am by playing all these different people.
“It’s really interesting and now I can’t imagine living without it.”