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 Teenage Corinne 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), Max Cartwright in the horror comedy The Final Girls (2015), and Melanie Clark in the drama 6 Years (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), a former schoolteacher, and Michael Farmiga, a retired computer systems analyst. She has six older siblings: Victor, Vera, Stephan, Nadia, Alexander, and Laryssa, who was born with 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) and Theodor Spas, 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 Argentine 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 Teenage 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, which also starred 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 portrayed Zoe Benson, a young witch with a dark and dangerous 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 Jorge Dorado's psychological thriller Mindscape. 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 co-starred as Sarah, Spencer Lofranco's love interest, in the biographical crime drama Jamesy Boy. The film was released in a limited release 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 portrayed 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 played the role of Melanie Clark, one half of a young couple whose relationship is put to the test when 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 SXSW. Share was then selected to screen at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival on May 20, 2015, where it won the first prize Cinéfondation Award.
Farmiga will co-star as part of an ensemble 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 among its all-star cast. She will then appear 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. In early 2015, Farmiga was cast in a leading role in ABC's 1980s crime drama series Wicked City, portraying Karen McClaren, an aspiring Rolling Stone journalist who gets caught up in the hunt for a serial killer along the Sunset Strip. Farmiga has also 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.
In 2012, Farmiga 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, she modeled in Teen Vogue for the launch of Jason Wu's clothing line Miss Wu.
|2011||Higher Ground||Teenage Corinne|
|2011||American Horror Story: Murder House||Violet Harmon||TV series; 11 episodes|
|2013||At Middleton||Audrey Martin|
|2013||The Bling Ring||Sam Moore|
|2013–14||American Horror Story: Coven||Zoe Benson||TV series; 13 episodes|
|2015||The Final Girls||Max Cartwright|
|2015||6 Years||Melanie Clark|
|2015||Untitled Warren Beatty project||Sarah||Completed|
|2015||In a Valley of Violence||Mary Anne||Completed|
|2016||Wicked City||Karen McClaren||Upcoming TV 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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- Combs, Jacob (June 10, 2014). "Warren Beatty Wraps Filming on Untitled Howard Hughes Project". Indiewire.
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- Yamato, Jen (August 12, 2014). "'Game Of Thrones' Sophie Turner Set For 'Mary Shelley's Monster' Opposite Jeremy Irvine, Taissa Farmiga". Deadline.
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- Taissa Farmiga at the Internet Movie Database
- Taissa Farmiga at Rotten Tomatoes
- Taissa Farmiga on Twitter