Interview With Eugenie Bondurant, The Occultist In ‘The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It’ (2021)

I love The Conjuring universe. While the first The Conjuring and Annabelle Comes Home are my two top favorites, all of them hold a special place in my heart. To celebrate the release of The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It coming out on physical media, I chatted with Eugenie Bondurant, who played The Occultist in the latest film. We discuss what intrigued her about the part, how she prepared for shooting, and watching horror movies.

PopHorror: Thank you so much for your time, Eugenie! The movie is so good, and you are absolutely terrifying. 

Eugenie Bondurant: Means I did my job well!

PopHorror: What intrigued you about the role and made you want to be a part of the project?

Eugenie Bondurant: What intrigued me about the role? Well, I got the audition, and I thought, “Huh, that’s interesting.” And honestly, I don’t believe I knew the name of the project. So, when I auditioned for it, there was a lot of Latin and things that I didn’t really understand. It was a sequence, then. Okay, well, sometimes, as an actor, you have to roll with the punches and figure out what people are looking for in regards to a scene. But, once I booked it, I went, “Ooohh, makes sense now! Now I get it!” It was very intriguing.

This woman, she was raised by a Catholic father and under the umbrella of Catholicism, and that intrigues me, why there was a turn, and why she went from one side to the other. Also, when I look at characters, if a character is evil for just evil’s sake, and there’s no threat of why or intention or the deeper wish, it’s not as appealing. She, however, is a daughter. She had a life. She had a life with her father, and she made a choice. It was very compelling. A very compelling role to discover and dig into.

PopHorror: After reading the script, was there anything that you were adamant about bringing to the character?

 

Eugenie Bondurant: The humanity of the character. She’s alive. She’s real. She makes decisions based on what she thinks is correct for her, is right for her, and based on her circumstances. That’s the thing that really grabbed me. The humanity of it. Don’t get me wrong. In this film, she’s real. But ghosts and fun characters like that, those are fun to portray as well. This one was… I don’t know. There was something special and unique about her. Also, you have The Occultist, and you have Lorraine. I feel like they’re opposites. But if Lorraine made a few decisions in one way, she would be leaning more into The Occultist. And if The Occultist made a few decisions in the other way, she would be leaning more into Lorraine. That grabbed me as well, that duet.

PopHorror: I love that you didn’t even have to think about it, that you knew humanity was something that you wanted to portray with her and that you really wanted to bring in there. What is your creative process to prepare for filming?

Eugenie Bondurant: I am a Meisner-trained actor. I teach Meisner, and I teach scene study, so my creative process is: I read the script, and I pull out the facts that are pertinent to my character. And it might be in scenes that don’t even involve me, although honestly this whole script was about the stuff that I do as this character. There were a lot of facts, so when I take out the facts, I take out repeating words. I look at certain scenes and break down what she wants. What does every line mean? What is the intention with every line? What is the arc? What is the beginning and the end? What is she trying to do?

And then I try to find… Now, this is going to sound a little strange because she’s an occultist, and I’m further—as a human being—from being an occultist even though I’m from New Orleans. But if we know the underlying emotional need, or what she wants, then maybe I can find—in my own life—something that’s parallel to that. What do I want? What does she want? Love? Does she want security? Why is she doing what she’s doing? There’s that need. So, do I want love? Yeah! Do I want security? Yeah! There’s so many underlying things that humans need. So, that’s basically what I do.

PopHorror: I love that you want to learn everything about her, and you want to give her a life that may not have been in the script. That’s really interesting.

Eugenie Bondurant: It goes down to the wardrobe, too, if you think about it. The wardrobe, the hair, the makeup, everything.

PopHorror: So were you a horror fan before doing this film? 

Eugenie Bondurant: Okay, I was a horror fan like this (puts a hand over her eye). I will only watch them in the afternoon, and I have to watch a palate cleanser after. Seriously, I have to watch palate cleansers after I watch a horror show. And my husband has to bribe me in some way. Then, when I watch them, I go, “Oh my gosh, this is great!” I’ll freeze frame, because that’s a really fun thing for me to do. I’ll freeze the frame and I’ll go, “Oh wow! Okay, so what’s with the set design? What kind of juicy things are going on in there? Oh, there’s the knife. Oh, okay. Does it have blood on it?” And then I’m questioning everything. I have to look at it as an actor or a producer as opposed to a human being getting scared. 

PopHorror: Even if you’re watching it with one eye, at least you’re watching horror. I’m a huge horror fan, and I have to have a palate cleanser sometimes, too.

Eugenie Bondurant: Right!? It’s important. Another thing, too, when you’re from New Orleans, you grow up with history surrounding you, and there are ghost stories, you know? You just live it. Putting the cross and the salt, doing the Voodoo hex outside your door. As far as the gris-gris goes, it’s positive gris-gris. It’s in my blood. Seeing a Voodoo store on the corner is normal for me like, “Oh yeah! Doesn’t every town have a store with Voodoo stuff?”

PopHorror: What is up next for you?

Eugenie Bondurant: What is up next for me? On August 24th, Tuesday, the Blu-ray/DVD/4k Ultra comes out! That’s exciting!

PopHorror: That is very exciting! And I just have one last question for you today. What is your favorite scary movie? 

Eugenie Bondurant: The one I was just in.

Thank you so much, Eugenie, for taking the time to speak with us. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is out on DVD, Blu-ray and 4k Ultra now!

About Tiffany Blem

Horror lover, book worm, foodie, dog mommy.

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