The Untold Truth Of Patrick Wilson

Patrick Wilson (not to be confused with Weezer's longtime drummer, who happens to share the same name) might be known as a "scream king" these days, but his talents extend far beyond that of a great horror film actor. The classically-trained performer actually got his start on the stage, originating the starring role of Jerry in "The Full Monty," an effort that earned him his first Tony nomination for best actor in a musical back in 2001, before receiving a second Tony nod just one year later for his work in "Oklahoma" — a feat even more impressive because he was filming "Angels in America" simultaneously. Wilson's transition to television was also successful, as his performance in this HBO miniseries led an Emmy nomination in 2004. From there, his star seemed to soar, and Wilson found consistent work in movies such as "The Phantom of the Opera," "Watchman," and the indie film "Hard Candy" alongside Elliot Page, in addition to successful turns on TV, starring in "Fargo" and "A Gifted Man." 

But it's his association with James Wan that made him a household name. Ever since 2010, Wilson has starred in two of Wan's horror franchises, "Insidious" and "The Conjuring." The popularity of those films has essentially launched Wilson into superstardom among a certain class of genre movie fans, but just who is the multi-talented man behind those onscreen screams? 

Let's dive into the untold truth of Patrick Wilson.

Patrick Wilson took a circuitous route to Broadway

Born in Norfolk, Virginia, Patrick Wilson spent most of his childhood in St. Petersburg, Florida, before eventually heading to Pittsburgh to attend Carnegie Mellon University, where he received a BFA in Drama in 1995, according to the school's official website. Upon graduation, however, he didn't immediately head to Broadway. Instead, the aspiring actor seemed to take the long way around.

Per Broadway World, Wilson kicked off his theater career by spending some time in regional theaters in the Los Angeles area and even did a show at Goodspeed Opera House in Connecticut. He then had starring roles in the national tours of "Carousel" and "Miss Saigon." Following the success of those endeavors, he landed the starring role in "Bright Lights, Big City," a 1999 Off-Broadway production based on the novel of the same name. Although the show was a critical failure, as seen in its review from The New York Times, the show allowed Wilson to finally break into the Broadway sphere.

Just months after he debuted Off-Broadway, Wilson landed his first role on The Great White Way in "The Gershwins' Fascinating Rhythm," a production that ultimately led to his success in other such musicals, like "Oklahoma!" and "The Full Monty." Although it took him a few years to finally make it onto the most coveted stages in the Big Apple, this career trajectory clearly worked out well for Wilson.

His inability to be typecast led to his first Off-Broadway role

Although it wasn't a critical success, "Bright Lights, Big City" opened a lot of doors for Patrick Wilson, ultimately leading him to become the successful actor he is today. In an interview with Pat Cerasaro of Broadway World, Wilson talked about how he got cast in the Off-Broadway show, pointing to the fact that he wasn't easily typecast as a reason for missing out on another coveted production.

"I had auditioned for 'Rent' — this would have been '96," Wilson explained. "I was always sort of between parts — I was never the rocker, Roger, and I was never really the nerdy Mark type. So I didn't fit into either role, really — I was between Mark and Roger. But, I had auditioned for ['Rent' director] Michael [Greif], so he called me one day and he said, 'I have an idea for you.'"

The idea was to get Wilson an audition for the role of Jamie in "Bright Lights, Big City," a musical that Greif also directed. Wilson said he loved the role, since it was very much outside of his comfort zone. "That was my first big show creating a rock role, really — it was definitely my first rock show like that after having done so many traditional type musicals," he told Broadway World. "You know, I was this lazy baritone and no one thought I could sing that high."

Patrick Wilson never had official singing lessons until college

Speaking of that "lazy baritone," Patrick Wilson admitted to Broadway World that he never officially studied voice until college. He stated that he sang a lot of rock music growing up, as well as in choirs directed by his mother when he was in high school. His mother, a voice teacher and professional singer herself, never gave him formal vocal coaching (via Creative Loafing Tampa). And although Wilson seemed to have diverse interests throughout high school, engaging in sports and other activities, he told Broadway World that choir singing was always important to him, with the outlet noting that he "recalled how there were many times when he had to approach his coaches and tell them he couldn't attend the annual sports dinner because he was 'scheduled to sing in a performance of Handel's 'Messiah' or something like that.'"

And so, Wilson's very first formal voice lesson was during his college days, but his history in choir singing has seemingly helped him out in some of his professional performances, such as his turn as Tommy in "Tenderloin." Some audience members (like the Broadway World interviewer, for example) told Wilson that his "choral background was evident in the clear diction and enunciation" he used, much to the actor's apparent delight.

Andrew Lloyd Webber and 'the impossibly perfect Patrick Wilson'

One of the first big movie roles Patrick Wilson landed was quite prominent — he played Raoul in the 2004 film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's seminal hit, "The Phantom of the Opera." For those needing to brush up on their musical theater knowledge, Raoul is the love interest of Christine (Emmy Rossum), a member of the corps de ballet who's caught the eye of the titular Phantom (Gerard Butler). He shares many duets with Christine and faces off against the Phantom in the second act, so the role requires an incredible singing voice and an aptitude of movement, things that Wilson has in spades. 

In fact, Lloyd Webber himself called Wilson, "The Impossibly Perfect Patrick Wilson," per Broadway World, a moniker that the actor doesn't quite believe. "It's very flattering," Wilson said, "but it's not true. I'm not 'perfect.'" But his love and admiration for the craft and their shared theater background led the two men to bond quite quickly with a connection that most other Hollywood actors might not have. 

"[I was] the only person in the room who could sit there and trade stories with [Lloyd Webber] and go show by show with him and talk about how his music changed or what instruments he used. He'd tell me about the creation of this role or ask me if I'd heard a certain version of '[Jesus Christ] Superstar' and what did I think of it?" Wilson explained. "... When I did get to sing for him it was very comforting and relaxing."

Patrick Wilson does the majority of his own stunts

It wasn't just Patrick Wilson's love of theater that endeared him to Andrew Lloyd Webber, however; it was also his ability to do his own stunts, as reported by Broadway World. According to an interview with IndieLondon, Wilson wanted to do his own stunts for the film version of "The Phantom of the Opera," because he thought it would make the movie musical more dramatic and ramp up the tension of the scenes. 

"But it was kind of like what [director] Joel [Schumacher] had done with the script and with the characters — made them much more active which, just physically, was something I really wanted to try to do," he explained. "... I felt with the stunts and things like that, if you could follow the same guy jumping on a horse, or at any point you could go closer or whatever, it just made it a much more visceral experience as an audience member."

Wilson also told SpicyPulp that he did his own stunts for "The Conjuring 2," saying that he enjoyed how "direct" his character, Ed Warren, got to be onscreen. "I've always loved stunts," he said. "And that was one of the things I loved about this film ... [that Ed Warren's] a very practical, hands-on guy. So it would make sense that if push comes to shove, he's in it to win it. If it's fight or flight, he's definitely a fighter."

The actor's pivot to horror solidified his film success

Although Patrick Wilson found early success on TV and movie screens, his subsequent attempts at big screen roles seemed to fall flat — at least at first. Even his gigs in iconic, large-budget movies like "The A-Team" and "Watchmen" seemed to get lackluster responses, per The New York Times. Soon after he wrapped "The A-Team," however, Wilson would land a role that would come to define his film career — that of the demon-possessed Josh Lambert in "Insidious." 

The low-budget horror film, directed by James Wan and produced by a then-fairly unknown Jason Blum, catapulted Wilson to superstardom. His turn as the stoic, staunchly anti-ghost stereotype with a past really played into Wilson's strengths as a classically-trained actor, and The New York Times described him as "a master of horror."

The publication also pointed to his turn as Ed Warren in "The Conjuring" series, a character that is completely opposite of Lambert's persona. In "The Conjuring," Wilson portrays a religious man whose job is to investigate paranormal occurrences alongside his wife, Lorraine (Vera Farmiga). Wilson's capability to portray two completely opposite characters and essentially helm two very different yet similar horror franchises has successfully ensured his positive reputation in the industry.

He and The Conjuring co-star Vera Farmiga 'just do'

At the core of "The Conjuring" franchise is the relationship between paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, two characters who are played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga. As The New York Times reported, "Wilson and Farmiga's screen chemistry has been widely praised, but it's difficult to overstate just how potent they are together. Their warmth and tenderness are a crucial reprieve from the pulse-quickening horror around them, and the affection they show one another is appealing precisely because it contrasts so sharply with the rest of the action." 

But just what allows these two actors to work so well together? In a joint interview with CinemaBlend, Wilson and Farmiga discussed how they have established the Warrens' real-life relationship on screen. When asked about any conversations the duo have had about their characters' relationship, Farmiga said they don't really have any: "We just do; we don't talk about it ... It turns out that playing Ed and Lorraine Warren isn't so much about preparation, but instead just following instincts and experience when the direction calls 'Action.'" 

While Wilson agreed with that sentiment, he did note that what they did together was an active decision. "I guess if anything, we do try to find moments of humor, moments of self-deprecation ... maybe they're scripted, maybe they're not, but it's definitely a choice," he said. "We really want to round them out." Hey, considering the franchise's popularity, this tactic certainly seems to be working.

Starring in The Conjuring affected his view of 'supernatural occurrences'

It's not surprising that having to deal with heavy subject matter as part of one's day job can be draining. While portraying Ed Warren in "The Conjuring" series and Josh Lambert in the "Insidious" franchise, Patrick Wilson could easily get caught up in the purely negative aspects of his characters and the situations in which they find themselves. However, as he's come to work more on these types of horror films, Wilson admitted to People in 2021 that he has changed his perspective on how he views the supernatural

Noting how it was actually a conversation with the real-life Lorraine Warren, a paranormal investigator, that caused his shift in perspective, he said, "We're not dealing with boring demons and ghosts ... one thing Lorraine [Warren] did say to me, when I was talking about a supernatural occurrence ... about these kids and hearing kids' voices, she just very nonchalantly said, 'It's probably a child's spirit who just wants to play.'" This idea resonated with the actor and allowed him to think that "if there is something otherworldly or supernatural or unexplained, it doesn't necessarily have to be bad." 

Framing things in this way, then, is important to Wilson's personal life, as avoiding thinking about the dark side of the supernatural allows him to keep his work at work and prevents this from affecting him at home. "If I think of anything supernatural," he told People, "I actually think of it more in a positive light."

Patrick Wilson thinks he knows enough to perform an exorcism

As previously mentioned, Patrick Wilson portrays Ed Warren in "The Conjuring" series, a real-life demonologist who made a living — alongside his wife, Lorraine Warren — exorcising ghosts and demons from various families around the United States, per The Hollywood Reporter. Although the couple never took money for their work, they did rake in the dough by giving lectures, writing books, and consulting on a series of different films, including the 1979 and 2005 versions of "The Amityville Horror." 

Playing the character of Ed in five movies, Wilson has undoubtedly picked up a thing or two about what it takes to perform an exorcism. In fact, he told Seth Meyers during a 2021 appearance on "Late Night" that he thinks he could potentially pull off a real-life exorcism. When asked by Meyers if he and his co-star, Vera Farmiga, feel like they "know more about the devil," Wilson immediately responded in the affirmative. "I'm convinced that I could give an exorcism," he said, adding, "It's complete crap, but I really feel like ... [I] have this authority, based on nothing. Just really based on reading the lines. But I feel like, I'm good! Like if you have a ghost in your house, call me." 

Wilson then joked with Meyers that if his acting career didn't "work out," he could potentially pivot into starting a business of him performing celebrity exorcisms. Sounds like a solid Plan B career!

He's married to a fellow actor

Patrick Wilson has kept his family life fairly private throughout the years, though he has shared some milestones with fans as they've occurred. In a write up for The New York Times, it was revealed that fellow actor Dagmara Dominczyk first met Wilson when they attended Carnegie Mellon University together. However, the two fell out of touch until 2004, when they reconnected and then tied the knot just one year later, as detailed by People. The married pair also have two children together, welcoming sons Kalin and Kassian in 2007 and 2009, respectively (via People). 

Although an actor in her own right, known for films like "The Count of Monte Cristo" and TV shows like "Succession" (per her IMDb), Dominczyk told The New York Times that it took her awhile to come to terms with the fact that she would sometimes be known as Wilson's wife: "Those who know me know I love to write. Those who know me a little bit know I'm an actress. Those who don't know me know I'm married to Patrick Wilson." 

Indeed, along with being a wife, mother, and actor, Dominczyk published her first book in 2013, a tale about three Polish women living in New York entitled, "The Lullaby of Polish Girls."

The Wilson brothers formed a Van Halen cover band

While Patrick Wilson has made a name for himself as a musical theater actor, showtunes aren't his only forte. In fact, the Broadway star seems to have a soft spot for Van Halen, a love influenced by his older brothers. Yup, Wilson's vocal coach mother apparently extended her musical talent to all three of her sons, who've formed a cover band together. 

As written in ULoop, Paul Wilson (Patrick's oldest brother) sings, and Mark Wilson, the middle one, plays guitar (alongside their day jobs as the owner of an advertising company and a news anchor, respectively). For his part, singer Patrick also plays the drums. Their band was originally called Van Wilson, per People, quite obviously after the rock band Van Halen, but as they got bigger, they decided to change their name to The Wilson Van, as seen on the group's official Facebook page

The brothers seem to enjoy playing together whenever and wherever they can, and Patrick Wilson has stated just how much he enjoys this familial musical venture. "We're just having a good time," he told People. "There's no ego involved and it feels very natural. It's just one of the greatest feelings, being able to play with your brothers."

Patrick Wilson gives a lot back to charity

Perhaps one of the greatest things about Patrick Wilson is that he uses his celebrity status to give back to charity, and does a lot of philanthropic work in his hometown of St. Petersburg, Florida, where his brothers and parents still reside. This often includes the family's band, The Wilson Van. With the tagline, "Rock with purpose," the group is known to perform benefit concerts for various non-profits throughout the area or raise money for those affected by natural disasters. In fact, as reported by Broadway World, Wilson tried many times to put on a benefit concert in the region following Hurricane Charley back in 2004, though his efforts were stymied by the formation of additional hurricanes around the area.

The Wilson Van and Patrick Wilson himself have also performed for various other charities around their hometown, including concerts benefitting Paws for Patriots, the St. Petersburg Free Clinic, and the All Children's Hospital, per ULoop. It seems the band has taken a break during the COVID-19 pandemic, as the last entry on their official Facebook page, as of this writing, is about a benefit concert the Wilson brothers did in January 2020 at the Hard Rock Café in Tampa to help wounded soldiers in the region. 

Here's hoping the band will be able to get back together and perform for more charities soon!

He's gearing up to make his film directorial debut

While Patrick Wilson has seemingly done it all when it comes to acting — film, television, and theater — he hasn't really had the chance to dive in behind the camera when it comes to filmmaking. Although he has directed some musicals before (as seen on Carnegie Mellon's official website), the multitalented star is set to make his film directorial debut, per Digital Spy, helming none other than the next movie in the franchise that made him famous outside of Broadway, "Insidious." 

According to The Wrap, "Insidious: Chapter 5" will take place 10 years after the events of the first movie, taking a look into what's been going on with the Lambert family since they first became aware of The Further. Wilson told the outlet that he was "honored and thrilled to be at the helm" of the flick, "which will provide an amazing chance to unpack everything the Lamberts went through ... as well as deal with the consequences of their choices." He noted that "directing the movie is both professionally and personally a full circle moment for me, and I am extremely grateful to be entrusted in continuing to tell this frightening and haunting story." 

As reported by Digital Spy, the fifth "Insidious" installment hasn't started filming yet, as of this writing, but producer Jason Blum did say in October 2020 that they were aiming for a 2022 release date.

Patrick Wilson's net worth isn't as big as you might think

For being one of the stars of a billion-dollar movie franchise (and the most successful horror movie franchise in history, per the "Late Show with Seth Meyers"), "The Conjuring's" Patrick Wilson surprisingly doesn't have a crazy-high net worth. Though he's had successful runs on Broadway, on television, and of course on the big screen, Wilson's fortune is lower than what most fans might expect it to be. 

In fact, Celebrity Net Worth notes that the star has an estimated $7 million. And while that is a significant chunk of change, for someone who's been working almost non-stop for the past 25 years, that actually seems pretty low. Not to mention that fact that Wilson and his family live in Montclair, New Jersey, a fairly low-key (and probably less expensive) location for someone so famous. However, did admitt to that he wanted to get out of New York City to raise his children (though it apparently took some convincing for his wife).

So, why isn't Wilson's fortune bigger? Although the "Insidious" and "The Conjuring" franchises ultimately proved to be successful, they were originally made on a low budget by blockbuster movie standards. According to Forbes, the entirety of the former was made on a budget of $26.5 million, though "The Conjuring" series had a higher budget ($20 million for the first movie, and $40 million for the second). Perhaps these lower production costs led to lower pay checks, and the reason why Wilson doesn't have a lot more money in the bank.