August 17, 1994 |
Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, U.S.
Taissa Farmiga (/ /; born August 17, 1994) is an American actress. She made her acting debut as Corinne Walker in the 2011 drama film Higher Ground. Later that year, she came to prominence playing Violet Harmon in American Horror Story: Murder House, the first season of FX's anthology series. She then starred as Sam Moore in the satirical crime film The Bling Ring (2013), Zoe Benson in American Horror Story: Coven (2013–14), Anna Greene in the psychological thriller Mindscape (2013), Melanie Clark in the drama 6 Years (2015), and Max Cartwright in the horror comedy The Final Girls (2015).
Early life and family
Farmiga was born and raised in the Whitehouse Station section of Readington Township in Hunterdon County, New Jersey. She is the youngest of seven children born to Ukrainian immigrants Luba (née Spas; born 1949), a former schoolteacher, and Michael Farmiga (born 1942), a retired computer systems analyst. She has six older siblings: Victor (born 1972), Vera (born 1973), Stephan (born 1975), Nadia (born 1977), Alexander (born 1988), and Laryssa (born 1991), who has spina bifida. Her family converted from the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church to Pentecostalism before her birth. Farmiga attended public school until fourth grade, when her mother began homeschooling her along with her siblings Alexander and Laryssa. She was an advanced student and took American Sign Language classes for three years.
Farmiga's maternal grandparents, Nadia (née Pletenciw; 1925–2014) and Theodor Spas (1921–90), met at a displaced persons camp in Karlsfeld, Germany during World War II. At the time, Theodor was working as a mechanic for the United States Army. They were married in Munich in 1946, and emigrated to the U.S. in 1950 when Luba was an infant. Farmiga's father was born in Ukraine and raised in Argentina. He was scouted to play professional soccer for the Argentinian national football team, but moved to the U.S. after suffering a knee injury. Her paternal cousin is visual artist Adriana Farmiga.
2011–14: Beginnings and American Horror Story
Farmiga initially had no ambitions to become an actress. In June 2010, she was persuaded to appear in her sister Vera Farmiga's directorial debut Higher Ground, playing the 16-year-old version of Corinne Walker, the lead character. The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 23, 2011, and Farmiga's portrayal of the teenaged Corinne received praise from film critics. In May 2011, she was cast in the first season of the FX anthology series American Horror Story, which launched Farmiga to worldwide prominence. She portrayed Violet Harmon, the strong but troubled adolescent daughter of Vivien (Connie Britton) and Ben Harmon (Dylan McDermott). Farmiga secured the role of Violet in her first professional acting audition. American Horror Story: Murder House premiered on October 5, 2011, and was met with acclaim from television critics. Farmiga then joined the cast of Sofia Coppola's The Bling Ring, based on the Hollywood Hills burglaries in 2008 and 2009. She portrayed Sam Moore, a wild child teenager based on Tess Taylor. The film opened the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival on June 15, 2013, to generally positive reviews.
In June 2012, Farmiga signed on to star as Audrey Martin, an uptight 18-year-old touring a college campus, in the independent romantic comedy At Middleton, also starring her sister. On May 17, 2013, the film premiered at the Seattle International Film Festival. Also in 2013, Farmiga returned to American Horror Story for the third season of the series. She played the role of Zoe Benson, a young witch with a dark power. American Horror Story: Coven premiered on October 9, 2013 and The Huffington Post said of her performance: "Farmiga effortlessly plays the mix of innocence, sardonic wit and tragedy required to make her character work." Farmiga had her first starring role as Anna Greene in the psychological thriller film Mindscape, directed by Jorge Dorado. The world premiere was held at the 46th Sitges Film Festival on October 13, 2013, and the film was released in the United States on June 6, 2014. Farmiga's performance was met with acclaim from critics; Jason Coleman of Starpulse wrote: "It's the vulnerable, delicate and captivating work by young Taissa Farmiga that gives the film its inner life." Farmiga next starred in the supporting role of Sarah, the main character's love interest, in the biographical crime drama Jamesy Boy. The film was released in select theaters on January 17, 2014.
2015–present: Focus on film
In March 2015, three of Farmiga's films premiered at SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas. The first, Todd Strauss-Schulson's horror comedy The Final Girls, debuted as one of the opening night films on March 13, 2015. Farmiga played Max Cartwright, the daughter of a 1980s scream queen who is transported into her mom's most famous horror movie. She starred alongside Malin Åkerman and Alexander Ludwig. The second film, Hannah Fidell's relationship drama 6 Years, also featured Ben Rosenfield and Joshua Leonard. Farmiga portrayed Melanie Clark, one half of a young couple whose relationship is put to the test after a series of opportunities and temptations threaten their future. The film premiered on March 14, 2015. The third film, Pippa Bianco's short drama Share, also premiered on March 14, 2015. Farmiga starred as Krystal, a 15-year-old high school student who returns to school after an explicit video of her goes viral. Her performances in all three films received praise from critics, and Farmiga was listed as one of the breakout stars of the festival.
Also in 2015, Farmiga will co-star as part of an ensemble cast in Warren Beatty's untitled Howard Hughes project. The film focuses on the "trials and tribulations of 1950s Hollywood" and features Lily Collins and Alden Ehrenreich. She will then star in Ti West's 1890s revenge Western In a Valley of Violence, playing the role of Mary Anne, a young woman who runs a small town hotel with her older sister (Karen Gillan). The film also stars Ethan Hawke and John Travolta, and is set for release on December 4, 2015. In early 2015, Farmiga was cast as Karen McClaren, an aspiring journalist, in ABC's crime drama pilot L.A. Crime. Farmiga has signed on to co-star alongside Sophie Turner and Jeremy Irvine in the upcoming gothic drama biopic Mary Shelley's Monster. She will portray Claire Clairmont, the stepsister of the famed Frankenstein author Mary Shelley. The film, which is expected to be released in 2016, will be directed by Coky Giedroyc.
Farmiga's older sister is Academy Award-nominated actress Vera Farmiga. The two consider each other best friends. For starring in Vera's directorial debut, Farmiga was given a Toyota Tacoma pickup truck as payment. Through her sister's second marriage, she is the sister-in-law of musician and film producer Renn Hawkey. Renn is also the brother of actress and photographer Molly Hawkey. From 1997 to 2005, she was the sister-in-law of French actor Sebastian Roché. Farmiga can play the guitar, and is bilingual: able to speak both English and Ukrainian fluently.
Farmiga has appeared in many popular magazines, such as Elle, Lucky, Nylon, Interview, Muse, Marie Claire, Complex, and Rolling Stone. In 2012, she was photographed by Drew Barrymore for Drew's Angels, a feature in the American magazine publication V. Barrymore shot Hollywood's up-and-coming actresses, which, along with Farmiga, included Victoria Justice, Isabelle Fuhrman and Haley Bennett. In December 2012, Farmiga modeled in Teen Vogue for the launch of designer Jason Wu's clothing line, Miss Wu.
|2011||Higher Ground||Teenage Corinne Walker|
|2013||At Middleton||Audrey Martin|
|2013||The Bling Ring||Sam Moore|
|2015||The Final Girls||Max Cartwright|
|2015||6 Years||Melanie Clark|
|2015||Untitled Warren Beatty project||Sarah||In post-production|
|2015||In a Valley of Violence||Mary Anne||In post-production|
|2011||American Horror Story: Murder House||Violet Harmon||11 episodes|
|2013–14||American Horror Story: Coven||Zoe Benson||13 episodes|
|2015||L.A. Crime||Karen McClaren||ABC pilot;has not yet been ordered to series|
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(Vera) Farmiga also has a disabled sister whom she cares for.
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Taissa took American Sign Language classes for three years with her homeschool group and was an advanced student. She was part of a signing group called Signs of Hope.
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