Lili Taylor shot to indie superstardom in the 1990s, back when such a thing existed and actors like Taylor, Parker Posey and Jennifer Jason Leigh ruled the landscape. But although she starred in iconic independents like I Shot Andy Warhol, The Imposters and The Addiction, she’s never been far from the Hollywood mainstream, appearing in Jan De Bont’s 1999 remake of The Haunting and Ron Howard’s thriller Ransom. Now, she’s starring in a major summer blockbuster contender, James Wan’s “remarkably scary” new film The Conjuring, and I was ever so glad to have her back and in an interview room in San Francisco, CA because, damn it, I still had lingering questions about Mystic Pizza.
Of course, we also talked about her creepy new fright flick The Conjuring, the secrets behind that unforgettable exorcism scene, and her intriguing process of conversing with her various characters, some of whom are mean to her. Which ones? Let’s find out now…
CraveOnline: I’m really excited to talk to you about The Conjuring, but I have to ask first off… It’s been a while. I want to know. I think audiences want to know. Do you know the secret ingredients of Mystic Pizza?
Lili Taylor: No… No.
They never told anyone…?
No. I’m even wondering if they did a little Domino’s, if they had some Domino’s coming in.
Are you serious?!
I’m wondering. I don’t know! Have you been to the restaurant?
No, which is weird, because my family is from Connecticut actually.
Oh they are? Are they from…?
They’re from Chester.
Okay. Is that by the water?
No, but it’s not a far drive.
So did you go to Mystic when you were a little kid?
No, I didn’t. I regretted that ever since.
Yeah, because it’s probably a little bit different now.
Yeah, I heard it went really Hollywood.
It would have been rawer back then.
So The Conjuring is interesting to me, because you’ve done some horror movies before, but this is the one that’s “Based On a True Story.”
Is that creepy? Do you think about that at all, that this really happened?
There’s moments. There’s moments but it’s not a “big” deal. I think it’s really effective when you’re in the audience and that comes up, because I just saw it the other night and I see… “Okay, wow.” But while we’re filming it, it’s not like we’re always hearing “This is a true story.” Do you know what I’m saying? So it becomes, basically, where you just believe your character, and it doesn’t matter if it’s true or not. But, when I’m taking my child and trying to herd her, yeah there’s a moment where I’m like, “Oh, wow, this really happened.” So it’s more cracks in the denial. You know?
I feel like, inherent in a lot of horror movies is that they’re scary for people who are secular.
If you don’t believe in the afterlife or anything like that, the idea is that, if this is real, then my entire life is a lie and everything is really terrifying.
Yeah, I’m really glad I don’t have that burden. Do you know what I mean? I hadn’t even really thought of that. Wow, that must be pretty heavy.
There’s a great exorcism scene, no big spoilers or anything, but you end up under a sheet.
Did you get to stay off camera for that, just chill out and have a cup of coffee, or is that you under there the whole time?
No, that’s me. In fact, I think they did some of it with the stunt double and I asked if we could do it again because I buying it. She’s terrific, she’s totally talented at stunts, but she’s not an actor and she hadn’t been in the psyche, [the] bullshot radar went up high.