Filming The Nun 2's Big Wine Scene Required A Lot Of Time (And No Real Wine)


Michael Chaves' new film "The Nun II" takes place in 1956, four years after "The Nun" and one year after "Annabelle: Creation" but about 11 years before "Annabelle." It's also a direct prequel to "The Conjuring 2"; one might recall the first appearance of Valak the Nun (Bonnie Aarons), as seen by Elaine Warren (Vera Farmiga), during a séance at the infamous Amityville house. It seems that Valak had been wreaking demonic havoc for decades prior to that event, and the "The Nun" movies cover those 1950s shenanigans. In both "The Nun" movies, Valak faces off against Sister Irene Palmer (Taissa Farmiga), an inexperienced novice in the first film but now a go-to Vatican special agent in its sequel.

Irene — no relation to Elaine Warren (at least, none that we know of so far) — spends the bulk of "The Nun II" investigating a series of suspicious demonic murders taking place in churches across Europe. She is trying to film where Valak is currently residing so as to properly exorcise her and send her back to Hell from whence she came. Meanwhile, Valak is causing misery in a French boarding school outside of Paris. By the film's climax, the two old nemeses will face off in a church's wine cellar. Naturally, multiple casks will explode during this scene, spraying Communion wine all over the room.

/Film's own Jacob Hall recently spoke to Chaves about "The Nun II," and the wet, dripping finale therein. It seems that, perhaps disappointingly, the wine Chaves used to shoot the scene wasn't real. No, the actors did not get to bathe in alcohol as if in some Dionysian bacchinal.

The wine-soaked climax

When Irene and Valak finally have their final showdown, the latter has become massively powerful and has grown to an enormous size. Valak is about 10 or 11 feet tall. She also controls the mind of one of the film's human characters, has seemingly resurrected a zombie school marm, and, frighteningly, controls the actions of a beastly goat man who is stalking the halls of the boarding school. Luckily for Irene, she is surrounded on both sides by barrels upon barrels of aging Communion wine. By the tenets of Catholicism, when a priest, nun, or other ordained person says a prayer over Communion wine, it undergoes transubstantiation and becomes the blood of Christ ... in a very real sense. Irene is able to bless the wine, essentially weaponizing the barrels against a demon.

Chaves notes that using liquid, especially in great quantities, is a headache to film, especially when the entire set it going to be doused by a wine explosion. It wasn't real wine, but even fake wine runs the risk of staining costumes. Chaves said:

The wine-drying schedule

Why only two explosions? Chaves explained:

It seems sometimes to direct a picture, one needs to merely be an expert in understanding how quickly fake wine dries and scheduling your shoot around it. Chaves didn't say what liquid he used, although it was likely merely water lightly dyed to look like red wine. There are no Communion wafers in the scene, so don't hold out for a scene wherein Irene flings them like ninja stars, nor stories of Chaves noting how long it takes wafers to dry. 

And if you are wondering if the climax for "The Nun II," what with its exploding wine barrels, resembles a wild action film or a superhero flick more than a horror movie, that can be confirmed. Valak is much more of a comic book supervillain in the film than a scary demonic monster. Credit to Aarons, however, for embodying a striking new movie monster so well. Even if the monster can be dispatched with a little bit of booze. 

It's wine o'clock somewhere.