Having worked in lock-step with director James Wan for more than a decade, writer Leigh Whannell has been instrumental in some of the most recent horror classics – from Insidious to Saw to The Conjuring. Stepping into the director’s chair for the first time with Insidious: Chapter 3, Whannell takes over behind the camera for his long-time collaborator.
Also present in some of the decade’s most defining horror flicks has been actress Lin Shaye, recently dubbed “The Godmother of Horror” at this year’s Wizard Con. Chances are, if a creepy, grey-haired lady has helped to haunt your nightmares – or, in the case of Insidious, save you from them – it’s been Lin Shaye.
The pair sat down with Screen Rant to talk about the Insidious franchise and entering another journey into The Further.
You’ve worked with James Wan for so long, what was the process of stepping into his shoes for this franchise in particular?
WHANNELL: It’s difficult because of his small feet! He’s gnomish, as you know! It was actually really scary and nerve-wracking. James is the master of modern horror. I don’t know of anyone in the past two decades who has been able to connect with so many people and scare them in such unexpected ways. To step into those shoes and sail the boat in the right direction was nerve-wracking but we’ve gotten a good response and I’ve breathed a sigh of relief. I’m past the point of nerves.
SHAYE: Well, sort of!
WHANNELL: Yes, the release of the film is still coming up!
You did awesome! James is also stepping into a genre he’s never directed before – Fast & Furious. Did you guys share that experience at all?
WHANNELL: I did. It was interesting, he would tell me stories of what it’s like to drop cars out of planes. Then I would be telling him about my experiences and it was weird for him for someone else to be taking over ‘Insidious’.
SHAYE: Was he jealous? Sorry! I just took over the interview!
WHANNEL: I remember him visiting the set one day and he was like, “This is just so fun and easy!” Because he had been used to this high-stakes world. But I tried not to think about what he had done before. I figure, the only way for me to get through it is to make my own film and I’m really happy with the result.
So Lin, the Godmother of Horror! Congratulations on the new title you received at Wizard Con!
SHAYE: Thank you! It was a truly surprising, wonderful tribute. I was genuinely surprised. I didn’t know where we were going, I knew about Wizard Con and all the off-shoots of Comic-Con, but no one told me what was happening! They said we were going to go to Philadelphia, that there would be a little tribute. I literally thought it was a certificate with a thing on it and a lunch! Give me a hamburger and send me on my way! I had no idea it was a Q & A and a fantastic sizzle-reel with all of the movies I had done. I was totally aghast. The tribute is this beautiful blown-glass flame statue. It was a big honor.
I personally think it goes to no one more deserving! How does it feel to reign over such a tight-knit community?
SHAYE: The horror community really is very tight-knit, more than any other. It has a real structure to it. The people all seem to know each other and the publications are all really supportive with everything that goes on. From the really small horror films to the large movies, really nurturing of the genre. I feel honored to be a part of it. I never thought of myself one way or the other because I’m an actress! Whatever you give me, I’m going to try and figure it out. What shoes do I wear? What colors do I like? Really get into the nuts and bolts of the character. The fact that it opened up to this larger arena and this wonderful fanbase that I’m totally grateful for, I’m totally grateful to the fans. It’s all about them. We want to stimulate them and amaze them. I hope we did that with ‘Insidious: Chapter 3’!
Insidious: Chapter 3 opens in theaters June 5, 2015.