She’s best known for playing Cameron Diaz’s overly-tanned neighbor in "There’s Something About Mary.” He’s best known for playing everything from a retired superhero in “Watchmen” to a pedophile that gets castrated by a 14-year old girl in “Hard Candy.” They may not appear to be a likely pair, but Lin Shaye and Patrick Wilson seem right at home alongside each other in “Insidious: Chapter 2,” which hits theaters everywhere today. Here the two reprise their roles from 2011’s “Insidious” as paranormal investigator Elise Reiner and as family man Josh Lambert. I spoke with Wilson and Shaye while they were in Miami promoting the film, and was struck by the candid, personable way the two spoke about their beliefs, priorities, and future career plans.
I’ve read that you believe in paranormal entities – can you tell us a little about your personal experiences with that and how you used that to create the character of Elise?
Lin Shaye: I’ve had a couple of odd experiences – unexplainable anxiety that came my way through a belief in something...I mean it sounds cryptic, but… anything for me that turns myself against myself, I stay away from. And there are those things, whether you want to call it a ghost or an entity or whatever you want to call it, there are experiences that create sort of havoc for you, that cause you to hurt yourself -- and it’s you doing it, I feel, whether it’s initiated by an outside force or an outside event. But as I’ve gotten older, I’m more aware of those things and try to keep them away from me. I try to keep away exterior events that are going to make me do something negative internally to myself.
And for Elise, it’s interesting, before we started the film, I kind of drew a little circle around myself – seriously – because I figure you’re tampering with a world we really don’t know anything about…so before we did the movie, I actually talked to [writer] Leigh [Whannell] and [actor] Angus [Sampson] – who I know actually went to look for ghosts – and I said ‘I’m not going!’ I said ‘you can go, fine.’ And Leigh is not a believer, and he keeps saying ‘come on, show it to me, show it to me!’ And I’m going, ‘you know, Leigh, be careful what you wish for!’ [Laughs]
Shaye: Because again, I have no authority on anything, but I don’t think you need to invite anything negative into your life. So I told them I wouldn’t go…and the nice thing for me in this film is that my character is able to complete my journey with this family…that I’m able to usher them into the next part of their lives. So that makes Elise feel very successful.
Patrick, I know you do a lot of theater and you were so great in the “Phantom of the Opera” movie – have you thought of doing another movie musical?
Patrick Wilson: Yeah!
Anything in particular?
Wilson: It’s just been hard to find the right one. I did a workshop of “Into the Woods” with Rob Marshall -- but I always felt that I didn’t want to play a prince at 40. So that wasn’t really right, even though I know the movie will be great. It’s just about finding the right role that really makes the most sense. But I would love to.
Any plans for an upcoming Broadway show?
Wilson: You know, I’m looking. I actually am going to do something in the spring for a very short while – I won’t go into it but I literally agreed to it about an hour ago. But yeah, I’m going to sing again in the spring, at least for a little bit. I’m trying to find something. This is the longest I’ve ever gone without doing a musical. It’s been like 11 years.
Shaye: There are so few actors that can do what he does. I can barely walk let alone sing or dance. [Laughs]
Wilson: It’s just very hard. When you grow up doing that, like you go to college for it and you study it – I mean, the first have of my career, like the first 10 years or so, that’s all I did, save like two plays. I mean it was like musical, musical, musical. It’s really all I did; that’s just who I was. So to put it behind you – I always felt I’d never say that but it’s been 11 years – that sort of makes me sad. It’s part of the reason I stayed on the East Coast to live, because I know if I go to LA I will never go back. I just won’t, not until my kids are out of high school and out of the house. It’s just not going to happen. So it’s part of the reason why we stayed, my wife and I both love doing theater. But doing a musical, especially a Broadway musical, you got to sign on for a minimum, including rehearsals, 6 months or so. Unless you’re going to do a small off-Broadway thing. Then you start to weigh if it’s really worth it. When you’ve done musicals for a year, 9 months, 6 months –- I mean, hundreds of times you’ve done the same role – I have no desire to do that unless it’s really good. So my bar is set really high for a musical. Because I just have no desire to sit in a show and just do it for the sake of doing it. And ultimately you want to do things to prove things to yourself, right? Not to anyone else, that doesn’t matter. So it’s like do you have that drive, and the answer is just like ‘no.’ Not to sit in a role if it’s not great…and it’s the complete opposite of any other schedule, even movie schedules. Like you do a Broadway schedule and you’re just like – especially when you have little kids – you’re like, ‘okay, so I’m going to put my kids to bed like one night a week.’ And that’s hard when you have little kids. That’s just not me anymore.
Shaye: Your priorities change.
Wilson: Your priorities change. I’m going to stop blabbering, but it’s true.
Shaye: I started in theater, I did theater in New York for 14 years before I even thought about doing movies – I never thought about being in a film, it just never occurred to me. And now I’m in love with filmmaking, and with the process and the detective work that you do to create a character…it’s a fabulous, fabulous puzzle. I just love it. And I actually got asked to do a play – it was a big part. And I just thought of having to learn pages and pages of monologues. And I have to really memorize, I’m not one of those actresses who can go ‘mmm, okay, I got it. I’m ready to go!’ I have to really learn my roles. And I just thought ‘this is all I’ll be doing – I won’t even be able to take the dog for a walk!’ [Laughs] So moviemaking is for me right now.
Shaye: [To Patrick] And I want to see you back on stage. Whenever it is, I’m coming!
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