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‘The Conjuring’ stars 3 actors from St. Petersburg. How’d that happen?

Patrick Wilson reprised his lead role as Ed Warren while Paul Wilson and Eugenie Bondurant joined the franchise.
St. Petersburg's Eugenie Bondurant stars in "The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It."
St. Petersburg's Eugenie Bondurant stars in "The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It." [ Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures ]
Published Jun. 9
Updated Jun. 14

ST. PETERSBURG — As she sat down for a table read of The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It in the summer of 2019, Eugenie Bondurant became aware that star Patrick Wilson was staring at her.

After a few minutes, St. Petersburg’s Bondurant said, he asked in a surprised tone, “Aren’t you friends with my parents?”

His father is retired WTVT news anchor John Wilson and his mother is Tampa Bay area singing coach Mary K. Wilson.

Yes, Bondurant told him, and then reminded Patrick Wilson, who was raised in St. Petersburg and now resides in New York, that they met years earlier at a mutual friend’s house.

A few weeks later, as Bondurant was in the makeup trailer, Patrick Wilson’s brother Paul Wilson burst in with open arms.

He, too, was cast in the movie that opened last weekend as the top box office film. It is also streaming on HBO Max.

“Can you believe it?” Paul Wilson said. “Three St. Petersburgers in a top movie? It’s pretty exciting.”

Mary K. and John Wilson, back row, are pictured with Paul Wilson and Eugenie Bondurant at a St. Petersburg screening of "The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It."
Mary K. and John Wilson, back row, are pictured with Paul Wilson and Eugenie Bondurant at a St. Petersburg screening of "The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It." [ Courtesy of Kerry McNally ]

Patrick Wilson has scenes with the other two, but Paul Wilson and Bondurant do not have scenes together. Still, the three characters are linked in the story.

Patrick Wilson reprised his lead role as paranormal investigator Ed Warren, who he played in two previous Conjuring movies, plus spinoff films Annabelle Comes Home and The Nun.

Paul Wilson is featured as the father of the family being demonically stalked and tortured.

And Bondurant stars as the occultist protagonist.

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For Bondurant, this role continues a string of success that started with the role of Tigris in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2 and continued with a starring part as Dani McConnell in Fear of Rain, which was shot in the Tampa Bay area.

For Paul Wilson, the movie provided him another opportunity to work with his brother. They last acted together in 2014′s Big Stone Gap, named for the town where it was shot and where their father was raised. As kids, the brothers summered at the family home there.

For "The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It," Patrick Wilson reprised his lead role as paranormal investigator Ed Warren.
For "The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It," Patrick Wilson reprised his lead role as paranormal investigator Ed Warren. [ Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures ]

“It’s a funny story how I got The Conjuring part,” Paul Wilson said.

Patrick Wilson invited him for a visit at a Georgia home he was renting.

“He said, ‘Hey man, I have this cool remote house with 10 acres, a pond and canoes,’” Paul Wilson said. “When he told me that he was there to film The Conjuring, I hung up and called my agent to get me a part but said not to tell my brother.”

He was sent sides for three roles — the prison chaplain, a police officer and “some guy named Earl,” Paul Wilson said.

Upon being cast as Earl, he thought it was a small part, the type that could be cut from the final edit. But Paul Wilson said that his brother exclaimed, after learning about the casting, “Earl is Carl and Carl is the dad. We’re doing a scene together.”

Paul Wilson and Bondurant hope the success of the movie leads to more roles.

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Meantime, Paul Wilson continues to run his Wilson Media & Advertising and Bondurant continues to work as an acting coach.

Among her advocates over the years, Bondurant said, has been the Wilson matriarch.

“Mary K. is an incredible vocal coach and singer,” she said. “And she has been very generous to me. She’s referred so many performers to me. She is remarkable. What a family.”