James Wan started off his run as a big-budget moviemaker with a bang in 2015 thanks to Furious 7 - which earned positive reviews and over $1.5 billion worldwide - and he will soon be moving on to helm projects like DC superhero adventure Aquaman and Japanese sci-fi manga/anime adaptation Robotech.
First, though, Wan will be cutting his self-imposed exile from the horror genre short by directing The Conjuring 2. The latter is a sequel to Wan's 2013 critical/commercial hit, which has that film's stars - Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga - reprising their roles as paranormal experts Ed and Lorraine Warren (based on the real-life 'ghost hunters' of the same names). Production is now officially underway on the Conjuring sequel, keeping the project on schedule to makes its current mid-2016 theatrical release date.
New Line Cinema confirmed the start of principal photography on The Conjuring 2 via the following Tweet, showing a priest delivering a blessing on the film's set (can't hurt, right?):
— New Line Cinema (@NewLine_Cinema) September 22, 2015
The Conjuring 2 - rumored to be titled The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist - was penned by Conjuring scribes Carey and Chad Hayes, with Davie Leslie Johnson (Orphan, Red Riding Hood) having reportedly done a rewrite of the Hayes' initial script draft. Plot-wise, the film is said to be loosely based on one of the Warrens' investigations in the 1970s, where the couple traveled to England - specifically, to Enfield, hence the rumored title - in order to examine a case involving two young teenage girls who were at the heart of allegedly supernatural disturbances.
Frances O'Connor (Mr Selfridge, The Missing) is reportedly playing a single mother whose daughter is haunted in Conjuring 2, as based on the real-life single mom Peggy Hodson from the "Enfield Haunting" incident. There's been no word yet on who will be playing O'Connor's tormented daughter in the movie, though Simon McBurney (The Casual Vacancy, Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation) will help fill out the main cast alongside O'Connor, Wilson, and Farmiga.
Check out the first image of Wan on the Conjuring 2 set (which the director posted to his Instagram account), below:
Wan, as a filmmaker, did appear to need something of a break from the horror genre after he churned out both The Conjuring and Insidious: Chapter 2 within the same year; the latter arguably lacked the innovative scary sequencing that Wan is known for crafting, as a director. However, now that he's gone through the challenge of making Furious 7 (which included dealing with the death of Paul Walker half-way through production), Wan has already described his return to The Conjuring's world as "a holiday break" that's reinvigorated his passion for scaring moviegoers.
Here is to hoping that The Conjuring 2 proves to be a great horror movie sequel, with Wan being all refreshed and ready to find new ways to terrify the general public. At the least, this film seem to be all but guaranteed to be an improvement on the last addition to the Conjuring franchise - the ill-advised spinoff/prequel, Annabelle.
The Conjuring 2 opens in U.S. theaters on June 10th, 2016.