You don’t need to wait until Halloween to enjoy a good fright! If “The Conjuring” left you with nightmares, you have to watch its prequel “Annabelle” in theaters today. Based on a true story, Annabelle is a creepy porcelain doll possessed by evil demons thought to be responsible for murders dating as far back as the late 1960’s.
Veteran actor Tony Amendola, who plays Father Perez in the film, says he was respectful of the doll while touring the United States with her. “Let me put it this way, I’m susceptible to belief. I try to not mess with things and just pay her a healthy respect. I try not to mock her too much or anything like that. I mean, I grew up Catholic so I swing back and forth. But do I want to be locked up in a room with her? No…..”
There has been a lot of interest in the true tale behind Annabelle as of late and it should be known that the original doll is a Raggedy Anne but was replaced on the big screen for effect. "It's so Hollywood that even the original doll was recast, Amendola said before laughing. "That's how it is. To be fair, in this case the Raggedy Anne doll is just a normal stuffed toy. It doesn't carry the weight. What I love about the one they used in the film, is that it's porcelain and looks antique. So you can believe it has a long history. In this case, I think they did the right thing."
Father Perez comes to the aid of new parents John and Mia Form (Ward Horton and Annabelle Wallis) after the new parents realize the doll wants to acquire souls. Perez attempts to take Annabelle to the church but is injured as he attempts to walk through the door.
Amendola, who has worked in hit series including “Once Upon a Time,” “Seinfeld” and “Dexter,” says he enjoys switching things up and working in different genres. “For me it’s all the same, he said. “I treat them all the same. The only thing I don’t really do a lot of is romance. I think I have a face for radio, as they say. Every so often I get the girl but very seldom.”
During his time on “Dexter,” the actor admits things got extremely intense when working with Michael C. Hall. “The role in “Dexter” was very important because I played the guy who made him who he is. So that was pretty special. The first day we shot, it was just me and Michael all day long. We were just beating each other up. It was all very intense. I went home that night and took a muscle relaxer and had a hot tottie then went straight to bed. I was just so sore.”
With a list of credits that goes back to the 1980’s, Amendola shared how happy he is to see the evolution of Latinos in Hollywood into what it is today. “When you think of all the great show coming up like “Jane the Virgin,” it’s so fabulous. It’s been small incremental steps but right now there are some great Latino filmmakers and actors. You know who’s one of my favorite actors? Demian Bechir who’s currently on “The Bridge.” I have so many favorites including Edward James Olmos, Jimmy Smits, Danny Trejo and the list goes on and on.”
Below, you can hear Amendola talk more about his role in “Annabelle,” in theaters now: