Farmiga at the 82nd Academy Awards in 2010
|Born||Vera Ann Farmiga
August 6, 1973
Clifton, New Jersey, U.S.
|Alma mater||Syracuse University|
Vera Ann Farmiga (//; born August 6, 1973) is an American actress and film director. Farmiga made her feature film debut in the 1998 drama-thriller Return to Paradise. This was followed by the supporting role of Lisa Tyler in the 2000 romantic drama film Autumn in New York, and Alex Cross in the 2001 television series UC: Undercover. In 2001, she was also cast as Daphne Handlova in the crime-thriller 15 Minutes. In 2004, she received critical praise for her portrayal of Irene, a woman trying to balance marriage and motherhood while harboring a secret drug habit, in the independent film Down to the Bone. Her other film credits include the 2003 comedy Dummy, the 2004 drama Iron Jawed Angels, the 2006 crime-thriller The Departed, the 2007 horror Joshua, and the 2008 drama-thriller Nothing But the Truth.
Farmiga gained critical acclaim following her performance as businesswoman Alex Goran in the 2009 comedy-drama Up in the Air, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award, a BAFTA Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Award, all for Best Supporting Actress. She also starred as Kate Coleman in the 2009 horror film Orphan, Capt. Colleen Goodwin in the 2011 action-thriller Source Code, CIA operative Catherine Linklater in the 2012 action-thriller Safe House, paranormal investigator Lorraine Warren in the 2013 horror film The Conjuring, and Samantha Powell in the 2014 comedy-drama The Judge. Farmiga made her directorial debut with the critically acclaimed 2011 drama film Higher Ground, in which she also starred as Corinne Walker.
Since 2013, Farmiga has been starring as Norma Louise Bates in the A&E drama television series Bates Motel. For her performance in the role, she won the 2014 Saturn Award for Best Actress on Television, and was nominated for the 2013 and 2014 Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actress in a Drama Series, the 2014 Satellite Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama, the 2013 TCA Award for Individual Achievement in Drama, and the 2013 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Career
- 3 Personal life
- 4 See also
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Vera Ann Farmiga was born in Clifton, New Jersey on August 6, 1973. She is the second of seven children and the eldest daughter born to Ukrainian immigrants Luba (née Spas; born 1949), a former schoolteacher, and Michael Farmiga (born 1942), a computer systems analyst. Her maternal grandparents, Nadia (née Pletenciw; 1925–2014) and Theodor Spas (1921–90), emigrated to the United States in 1950 when her mother was an infant. Farmiga has three brothers: Victor (born 1972), Stephan (born 1975), and Alexander (born 1988); and three sisters: Nadia (born 1977), Laryssa (born 1991), who has spina bifida, and Taissa (born 1994), who is also an actress. Her cousin is visual artist Adriana Farmiga.
She was raised in an insular Ukrainian American community in Irvington, New Jersey, with Ukrainian as her native language. Farmiga did not learn English until she started kindergarten. As a child, she converted with her family from the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church to Pentecostalism. At age 12, Farmiga and her family moved from Irvington to Whitehouse Station, in Hunterdon County, New Jersey. She attended St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic School in Newark, New Jersey, and toured with a Ukrainian folk-dancing ensemble called the Syzokryli. In addition to being a professionally trained folk dancer, Farmiga is also a classically trained pianist. She was a member of Plast, a Ukrainian Girl Scouts organization. In 1991, she graduated from Hunterdon Central Regional High School. Farmiga went on to study Performing Arts at Syracuse University in New York, from which she graduated in 1995.
1996–2001: Career beginnings
Although she originally intended to become an optometrist/ophthalmologist, Farmiga attended Syracuse University's School of Visual and Performing Arts. She made her Broadway debut in 1996, as an understudy in the role of Emmi Straube, in the Ronald Harwood play Taking Sides. The same year, she starred as Miranda in the American Conservatory Theater production of The Tempest. She also performed in several productions as a member of The Barrow Group, a prestigious New York City Theater Company, where her credits include Nina in The Seagull, and Anne in Good.
Following her theater debut, she played the role of Catlin in the 1997 FOX television series Roar, which was filmed in Australia, alongside Heath Ledger. Farmiga said that the series "wanted to be Braveheart but turned out more Xena: Warrior Princess." The show was canceled by the network after just one season. That same year, she starred in the Hallmark Hall of Fame television film Rose Hill as Emily Elliot. The film also featured Jennifer Garner and premiered on the CBS network. In 1998, Farmiga guest starred in one episode of Law & Order, portraying Lindsay Carson, the daughter of a convicted murderer who goes on her own killing spree.
Throughout the late 1990s, she continued appearing in stage, television and film roles, including a supporting role as Kerrie in the 1998 film Return to Paradise, a drama about two friends struggling to save another friend from an impending death sentence. She starred with Vince Vaughn, Anne Heche and Joaquin Phoenix. In 2000, Farmiga had a supporting role in the romantic comedy-drama Autumn in New York. The film follows the story of a man who falls in love with a beautiful young woman who is terminally ill. The role afforded Farmiga the opportunity to work alongside Richard Gere (who played her character's biological father) and Winona Ryder. Autumn in New York grossed a total of $90,726,668 worldwide and was a financial success.
Also in 2000, she had a supporting role in the film The Opportunists as Miriam Kelly. Farmiga then had a major supporting role as Daphne Handlova in the crime-thriller 15 Minutes (2001), starring Robert De Niro. The film was a box office success, making a total of $56,359,980 worldwide against a budget of $42 million. That same year, she starred in the British-Macedonian Western drama film Dust, opposite Joseph Fiennes. The film opened at the Venice Film Festival on August 29, 2001. Also in 2001, she portrayed the character of Queen Josephine in Snow White: The Fairest of Them All, a made-for-television film, and joined the main cast of the NBC action-thriller television series UC: Undercover as Alex Cross. The series lasted one season and was canceled in early 2002.
2002–08: Breakthrough and critical acclaim
In 2002, Farmiga had her first starring role in the romantic drama film Love in the Time of Money. The film received a limited theatrical release. The following year, she appeared alongside Milla Jovovich and Adrien Brody in the romantic comedy Dummy (2002), which also had a limited release. In 2004, Farmiga had the starring role in the independent drama film Down to the Bone. The film took place mainly in Upstate New York and was filmed in digital video. Her performance as the character of Irene earned her several award nominations, including the Best Actress Award from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the Best Female Lead Award from the Film Independent Spirit Awards. In 2004, she starred in the American adaptation of the UK crime-drama television series Touching Evil, portraying the role of Detective Susan Branca. The series was aired on the USA Network and was well received by critics, however, the network chose not to renew the series for a second season.
Farmiga also had a supporting role as Jocelyne Jordan in the 2004 thriller remake The Manchurian Candidate. Denzel Washington and Meryl Streep also starred in the film. It was well received by film critics and was a mild success at the worldwide box office, grossing $96,105,964 worldwide. In 2005, she played the role of Eleanna in the fantasy feature Neverwas. The film opened at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 9, 2005.
Rather than attending auditions for films in which she is interested, Farmiga makes short films which she submits for casting. "To fade in and fade out, have intimacy with the mikes, the lighting, and have the luxury of takes – you could make yourself as ugly or as beautiful as you wanted." One of these audition films led to Martin Scorsese inviting her for a "chemistry read" with Leonardo DiCaprio, which led to her role as the police psychiatrist Dr. Madolyn Madden in The Departed (2006). The film was lauded by film critics and was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning four (including the Academy Award for Best Picture). For her performance in the role of Madolyn, Farmiga was nominated for the Empire Award for Best Newcomer, and shared with her co-stars the nomination for the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.
Also in 2006, Farmiga starred in Wayne Kramer's crime-thriller Running Scared opposite Paul Walker, and Anthony Minghella's romantic drama Breaking and Entering opposite Jude Law. In 2007, Farmiga landed the lead role of Sophie Lee in the American-Korean drama Never Forever, about a New York woman arranging to pay an illegal immigrant from Korea to have sex with her, so that she might get pregnant and save her marriage. Her performance was praised by the film critic G. Allen Johnson who described her as "the best American actress you've never heard of." Farmiga starred with Sam Rockwell in the 2007 psychological horror film Joshua. Later, she appeared in the 2008 drama film Quid Pro Quo, portraying the character Fiona. The film premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival and received favorable reviews; David Edelstein of New York Magazine stated that Farmiga "is – as usual – scarily good. Her madness isn't something out of the ether. She's always visibly calculating, thinking better of something reckless she's about to do – then doing it anyway."
Farmiga then appeared in the British historical drama The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2008), as Elsa/Mother, the wife of a Nazi commandant played by David Thewlis. The film tells the story of a friendly relationship between two 8-year-old boys, one the son of the camp's Nazi commandant, the other a Jewish inmate. She won the British Independent Film Award for Best Actress for her role in the film. That same year, Farmiga played the role of Erica Van Doren in the political drama-thriller Nothing But the Truth, which also starred Matt Dillon and Kate Beckinsale. Many critics called Farmiga the standout of the film. Adam Liptak of The New York Times wrote: "The film's most striking performance comes from Vera Farmiga who plays the CIA operative, here called Erica Van Doren." The role earned Farmiga a nomination for Best Supporting Actress at the 2009 Critics' Choice Movie Awards.
2009–12: Up in the Air and directorial debut
Farmiga next appeared in Jaume Collet-Serra's horror-thriller film Orphan (2009). In the film, she and Peter Sarsgaard portrayed a couple who, after the death of their unborn child, adopt a mysterious 9-year-old girl. The film was released theatrically in the United States on July 24, 2009. Orphan received mixed reviews from film critics but was a box office success, grossing $78,337,373 worldwide. Toby Young of The Times wrote that Farmiga "becomes more convincing as the story unfolds. By the end, she has you in the palm of her hand."
Farmiga starred opposite George Clooney and Anna Kendrick in the 2009 comedy-drama Up in the Air, which was initially given limited release (and later, wider release) on December 4, 2009. In an interview with NJ.com, Farmiga explained her character: "She doesn't temper her desires at all. She makes clear her needs and expects to have the world accommodate them. It's not a character we often see on-screen, and when we do, more often than not she's bereft of dignity. So that was cool." Up in the Air received universal acclaim and was one of Farmiga's biggest box office successes, with a worldwide gross of $166,842,739. Roger Ebert praised her performance in the film, stating: "Farmiga is one of the warmest and most attractive women in the movies, or at least she plays one." In 2010, she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress, a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role, a BAFTA Award nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, and a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture, as well as many other nominations. On June 25, 2010, she was inducted into the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Farmiga started filming the surrealist romantic comedy film Henry's Crime with Keanu Reeves in December 2009, with filming wrapping in early 2010. The film was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 14, 2010. Farmiga then played Capt. Colleen Goodwin in the techno-thriller Source Code, which was released on April 1, 2011. The film was a critical and commercial success, grossing $147,332,697 worldwide.
Farmiga made her directorial debut with the 2011 religious drama film Higher Ground, in which she also starred as the adult Corinne Walker. Corinne as a teenager was portrayed by Farmiga's younger sister Taissa Farmiga. Her husband Renn Hawkey also served as a producer for the project. The film received acclaim from critics following its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 23, 2011. It was then given a limited release in the United States on August 26, 2011. Farmiga received award nominations in both acting and directing for the feature, including the Gotham Award for Best Breakthrough Director and the Satellite Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture.
In 2012, Farmiga starred in the action-thriller Safe House as CIA operative Catherine Linklater, opposite Ryan Reynolds. Safe House also marked the second time she has starred on-screen with Denzel Washington. The film had its premiere on February 7, 2012, and was released to theaters in the United States on February 10, 2012. The film received mixed reviews, but was a financial success, grossing $208,076,205 at the worldwide box office. Also in 2012, Farmiga appeared as Wendy, a flaky New Age mother, in the independent comedy film Goats, which also starred David Duchovny and Ty Burrell. The film opened at the Sundance Film Festival on January 24, 2012, and was given a limited release on August 10, 2012.
2013–present: Bates Motel and The Conjuring
Since 2013, Farmiga has portrayed the lead role of Norma Louise Bates, the mother of Norman Bates, in the A&E drama series Bates Motel. The series is both a prequel to and a story reboot of Alfred Hitchcock's horror film Psycho. For her performance in the role, Farmiga earned a Saturn Award for Best Actress on Television in 2014, as well as nominations for the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actress in a Drama Series in 2013 and 2014, the 2013 Satellite Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama, and the 2013 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.
In 2013, she starred in the romantic comedy At Middleton with Andy García and her sister Taissa Farmiga. The film premiered at the Seattle International Film Festival on May 17, 2013, and was released in theaters on January 31, 2014. That same year, Farmiga starred in the horror film The Conjuring, which was both a critical and financial success, becoming one of the highest grossing horror films of all time. She portrayed the famous paranormal investigator Lorraine Warren, alongside Patrick Wilson, who played her husband and partner Ed. A sequel, titled The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist, is in pre-production (filming is expected to begin in July 2015), with both Wilson and Farmiga signed on to return.
In 2014, Farmiga starred in the American-Romanian comedy-drama Closer to the Moon as Alice. The film was shot in Bucharest, Romania, and was released in Romanian movie theaters on March 7, 2014. She then starred in the 2014 comedy-drama film The Judge, alongside Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall. Farmiga portrayed Samantha Powell, the ex-girlfriend of Downey's character whom he reconnects with after returning to their hometown. The film was a mild success at the box office, grossing $83,719,388 from a budget of $50 million. Farmiga has signed on to star in the upcoming drama film 55 Steps as Colette Hughes, the comedy Prima as Corinne Urchin, the drama Facing the Wind as Mary Rowe, and the comedy The Locals as Lillian Goldberg.
Relationships and family
Farmiga met French actor Sebastian Roché while starring together in the television series Roar. They eloped to The Bahamas after the series ended in 1997. They separated in 2004, and were divorced in 2005. Farmiga married musician and carpenter Renn Hawkey in a private ceremony on September 13, 2008, after four years of dating. Farmiga and Hawkey have one son, Fynn McDonnell Hawkey (born January 15, 2009 in Rhinebeck, New York), and one daughter, Gytta Lubov Hawkey (born November 4, 2010). The family lived in Ulster County, New York before moving to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada when Farmiga started working on Bates Motel. Through her marriage to Hawkey, she is the sister-in-law of actress and photographer Molly Hawkey.
Farmiga's younger sister is actress Taissa Farmiga. They consider each other best friends. In an August 2013 interview with the siblings, Vera stated: "As much of an age difference as there is, she is one of my best friends in the world." In a subsequent interview, Vera stated: "Taissa, whom I love like a daughter. She is my daughter; she's my surrogate daughter. I'd like to think that I've been a pretty significant role model in her life." During a Reddit Q&A session in March 2014, Taissa discussed their multi-layered relationship, saying: "Vera is 21 years older than me. She's my cool older sister and, when needed, protective mother figure. Our relationship has so many sides to it."
Farmiga is a nondenominational Christian. In an August 2011 interview with Christianity Today, Farmiga said: "I grew up in a Ukrainian Catholic-turned-Christian household, and that is my family's faith. My father instilled in me – of utmost importance and innate in me is the yearning to determine for myself – to define God, to define holiness for myself. That was my parents' number one lesson for us." She then added: "For [me], God is in temples and in churches, and on park benches. I don't belong to any particular church, but I'm someone who will be able to walk into any place of worship, any house of worship, and have a direct correspondence."
Farmiga is a supporter of Save the Children; at an event for the charity in 2010, she said: "After recently giving birth to my healthy baby daughter Gytta, I've decided to help less fortunate mothers and babies around the world. It doesn't take too much to make an enormous difference. Gytta was privileged to receive the warmest, most tender newborn care. Every baby has that same right and deserves the help to get them through their first few precious months of life. I want to share the warmth." In addition, she supports UNICEF, another organization dedicated to helping children from developing countries.
She is an advocate for the Spina Bifida Association, which aims to promote prevention and enhance the lives of people who are affected with spina bifida. Her younger sister Laryssa was born with the condition. Farmiga also supports the Peace First organization, a program designed to "gird schoolchildren with critical conflict-resolution skills and teach them to be peacemakers, focusing on friendship and communication as essential tools." In August 2014, Farmiga expressed her support for Bead for Life, a jewelry organization which helps to create sustainable opportunities for Ugandan women to lift themselves and their families from extreme poverty.
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Clifton native and former Irvington resident Vera Farmiga makes an astonishingly assured directorial debut with this engrossing study of Corinne...
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(Vera) Farmiga also has a disabled sister whom she cares for.
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Farmiga, a classically trained pianist, will sing and play the ivories in the film.
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Vera reads music and was taught classical piano when she was young.
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Congratulations to Vera Farmiga. The Syracuse University drama graduate, Class of 1995, is up for a Golden Globe trophy in the supporting actress in a movie category.
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Vera Farmiga is up for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Up in The Air
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- Fitzsimons, Amanda (August 2011). "Taissa Farmiga on Sister Vera". Teen Vogue. Retrieved September 4, 2013.
- Prokopy, Steve (January 27, 2014). "Capone talks 'At Middleton', 'The Conjuring 2', and Paul Walker with the great Vera Farmiga". Ain't it Cool.
- Farmiga, Taissa (March 1, 2014). "Hi! I'm the actress Taissa Farmiga from 'American Horror Story' and 'Jamesy Boy'. AMA!". Reddit.
- Drake, Rossiter (September 2, 2011). "'Higher Ground' is Vera Farmiga's unexpected chance at the helm". San Francisco Examiner.
- Matthewes-Green, Frederica (August 24, 2011). "Vera Farmiga's Struggles with God". Christianity Today.
- "'Tis the Season to Give Back: Tinseltown Adds Save the Children Gifts to Holiday Shopping Lists". Save the Children. December 10, 2010.
- "The seventh annual UNICEF Snowflake Ball honors Prudential and the Japan Committee for UNICEF". UNICEF USA. November 30, 2011.
- Kotek, Elliot V. (April 1, 2011). "'Crime' Time's Prime Time for Vera Farmiga – Part 3". Moving Pictures.
- Farmiga, Vera (August 20, 2014). "@BeadforLife creates sustainable opportunities for women 2 lift their families out of extreme poverty". Twitter.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Vera Farmiga.|
- Vera Farmiga at the Internet Movie Database
- Vera Farmiga at the Internet Broadway Database
- Vera Farmiga at Rotten Tomatoes
- Vera Farmiga at AllMovie
- Vera Farmiga on Twitter