Farmiga at the 82nd Academy Awards in 2010
|Born||Vera Ann Farmiga
August 6, 1973
Clifton, New Jersey, U.S.
|Alma mater||Syracuse University|
|Relatives||Taissa Farmiga (sister)|
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 harbouring 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 historical drama The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.
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 movie Source Code, and famous paranormal investigator Lorraine Warren in the 2013 horror film The Conjuring. She made her directorial debut with the critically acclaimed 2011 drama film Higher Ground, in which she also starred as Corinne Walker.
Since 2013, she has been starring as Norma Louise Bates in the A&E 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.
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 Mykhailo "Michael" Farmiga, a computer systems analyst, and Lubomyra "Luba" (née Spas), a schoolteacher. She was raised in an insular Ukrainian-American community in Irvington, New Jersey, with Ukrainian as her native language. She did not learn English until starting kindergarten at the age of 6. Farmiga attended a 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. As a girl, she converted with her family from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to Pentecostalism. She was a member of the Ukrainian Girl Scouts Organization Plast. In 1991, Farmiga graduated from Hunterdon Central Regional High School. She went on to study Performing Arts at Syracuse University, from which she graduated in 1995. Farmiga has one older brother named Victor (born 1972), and five younger siblings: Stephan (born 1975), Nadia (born 1977), Alexander (born 1988), Laryssa (born 1991), who has spina bifida, and Taissa (born 1994), who is also an actress.
Although she originally intended to become an optometrist, Farmiga attended Syracuse University's School of Visual and Performing Arts. She made her Broadway debut in 1996 as an understudy in the 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 Caitlin in the 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.
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, the romantic comedy-drama Autumn in New York, in which Farmiga had a small role, was released. The film follows the story of a man who falls in love with a beautiful young woman who is terminally ill. Autumn in New York afforded her the chance to work with actors Richard Gere and Winona Ryder. Also in 2000, she had a supporting role in the film The Opportunists as Miriam Kelly. Farmiga then had a major supporting role in the crime-thriller 15 Minutes (2001), starring Robert De Niro. She then starred in the Macedonian film Dust, opposite Joseph Fiennes. The film opened at the 2001 Venice Film Festival. That same year, she portrayed the character of Josephine in Snow White: The Fairest of Them All, a made-for-television film. In 2001, Farmiga joined the main cast of the NBC action-thriller television series UC: Undercover as Alex Cross. However, the show was canceled in early 2002.
Farmiga had her first starring role in the 2002 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 (2003), which also had a limited release. In 2004, Farmiga had a main 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. Farmiga also had a supporting role in the 2004 thriller remake The Manchurian Candidate. Denzel Washington and Meryl Streep co-starred in the film. The Manchurian Candidate was well received by critics and was a mild success at the worldwide box office, grossing $96 million.
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 Madolyn Madden in The Departed (2006). For her performance, she 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.
In 2007, Farmiga landed the lead role 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 drama The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2008), as 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 thriller Nothing But the Truth, which also starred Matt Dillon and Kate Beckinsale. The role earned Farmiga a nomination for Best Supporting Actress at the 2009 Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards.
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 $76,699,632 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, Anna Kendrick, and Melanie Lynskey in the 2009 comedy-drama Up in the Air, which was initially given limited release (and later, wider release) on December 25, 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 $163,227,071. 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 played Capt. Colleen Goodwin in the techno-thriller Source Code, which was released on April 1, 2011. She made her directorial debut with the 2011 religious drama film Higher Ground, in which she also starred. In 2013, 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 to the film is in pre-production, with both Wilson and Farmiga signed on to return.
Since 2013, Farmiga has portrayed the role of Norma Louise Bates, the mother of Norman Bates, in the A&E drama series Bates Motel, both a prequel to and a story reboot of Alfred Hitchcock's horror film Psycho. For her role in the series, Farmiga earned a Saturn Award for Best Actress on Television, 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 younger sister Taissa Farmiga. The film premiered at Sundance Film Festival on May 17, 2013.
In 2014, Farmiga starred in the American-Romanian comedy drama Closer to the Moon as Alice. The film was shot in Romania and was released on March 7, 2014. She 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, Jr.'s character. She will star in the upcoming films Prima as Corinne Urchin, a mother who will stop at nothing to realize her 12-year-old daughter's ballet dancing dream; Facing the Wind as Mary Rowe, a woman who is murdered by her psychotic husband; and The Locals as Lillian Goldberg, a Jewish mother who falls in love with the father of an Italian family while living in The Bronx, New York.
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. The couple have one son, Fynn McDonnell Hawkey (born January 15, 2009), and one daughter, Gytta Lubov Hawkey (born November 4, 2010). The family lived in Upstate New York before moving to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada when Farmiga started working on Bates Motel.
Farmiga's younger sister is actress Taissa Farmiga. The sisters consider each other their best friends. In an interview with Teen Vogue in 2013, Taissa said that her sister is "my stylist, my everything." Vera feels similarly, stating: "Taissa is the person you take with you to choose your Oscar gown and then take to In-N-Out Burger. As much of an age difference as there is [21 years], she is one of my best friends in the world." Taissa has also stated: "When I was growing up, people would always confuse me for Vera's daughter." Talking to Parade in 2014, Vera reiterated: "We're best friends, but I like to think I've parented her in a way, too."
|1998||The Butterfly Dance||Diane||Short film|
|1998||Return to Paradise||Kerrie|
|2000||Autumn in New York||Lisa Tyler|
|2000||The Opportunists||Miriam Kelly|
|2001||15 Minutes||Daphne Handlova|
|2002||Love in the Time of Money||Greta|
|2004||Down to the Bone||Irene|
|2004||Mind the Gap||Allison Lee|
|2004||The Manchurian Candidate||Jocelyne Jordan|
|2005||The Hard Easy||Dr. Charlie Brooks|
|2006||Running Scared||Teresa Gazelle|
|2006||Breaking and Entering||Oana|
|2006||The Departed||Madolyn Madden|
|2007||Never Forever||Sophie Lee|
|2008||Quid Pro Quo||Fiona|
|2008||The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas||Elsa (Mother)|
|2008||Nothing But the Truth||Erica Van Doren|
|2009||A Heavenly Vintage||Baroness Aurora de Valday|
|2009||Up in the Air||Alex Goran|
|2010||Henry's Crime||Julie Ivanova|
|2011||Source Code||Capt. Colleen Goodwin|
|2011||Higher Ground||Corinne Walker||Also director|
|2012||Safe House||Catherine Linklater|
|2013||The Conjuring||Lorraine Warren|
|2013||At Middleton||Edith Martin|
|2014||Closer to the Moon||Alice|
|2014||The Judge||Samantha Powell|
|2015||The Locals||Lillian Goldberg||Pre-production|
|2015||The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist||Lorraine Warren||Pre-production|
|TBD||Facing the Wind||Mary Rowe||Pre-production|
|1997||Rose Hill||Emily Elliot||TV movie|
|1997||Roar||Caitlin||Main role; 11 episodes|
|1998||Law & Order||Lindsay Carson||Episode: "Expert"|
|1998||Trinity||Unknown||Episode: "In Loco Parentis"|
|2001–02||UC: Undercover||Alex Cross||Main role; 11 episodes|
|2001||Snow White: The Fairest of Them All||Queen Josephine||TV movie|
|2004||Iron Jawed Angels||Ruza Wenclawska||TV movie|
|2004||Touching Evil||Detective Susan Branca||Main role; 12 episodes|
|2013–present||Bates Motel||Norma Louise Bates||Main role; 20 episodes|
|1996||The Tempest||Miranda||American Conservatory Theater, San Francisco|
|1996–97||Taking Sides||Emmi Straube||Brooks Atkinson Theatre, Broadway|
|1997||Second Hand Smoke||Linda||Primary Stages, Off-Broadway|
Awards and nominations
- Staff (January 13, 2012). "New on DVD this week". The Record (Bergen County). Retrieved March 30, 2012. "Clifton native and former Irvington resident Vera Farmiga makes an astonishingly assured directorial debut with this engrossing study of Corinne..."
- Brown, Mick (August 30, 2008). "Vera Farmiga: rare breed.". London: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved July 16, 2009.
- "Person Details for Luba Farmiga". FamilySearch.
- Hirschberg, Lynn (September 3, 2006). "A Film of One’s Own". The New York Times. Retrieved October 29, 2007.
- DiChiara, Thomas (December 2, 2009). "Vera Farmiga on 'Up in the Air,' Butt Doubles and Clooney's 'Sling Blade' Obsession". Moviefone. Retrieved December 16, 2009.
- Rhule, Patty (February 15, 2007). "Farmiga 'Entering' solid acting ground". USA Today. Retrieved December 16, 2009.
- "Vera Farmiga to Join Aaron Eckhart in Beach Boy Biopic 'The Drummer'". The Hollywood Reporter. January 30, 2012. "Farmiga, a classically trained pianist, will sing and play the ivories in the film."
- "Andy Garcia talks At Middleton, the beautiful script, his Chopsticks duet with Vera Farmiga, and future projects". Collider. February 3, 2014. "Vera reads music and was taught classical piano when she was young."
- Luscombe, Belinda (August 29, 2011). "That's the Spirit". Time. Retrieved August 23, 2011.
- "Motel Confidential: Vera Farmiga". Emmys. February 12, 2014.
- "Vera Farmiga- Biography". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved April 30, 2013.
- "SU grad Vera Farmiga nominated for Globe". Syracuse. December 18, 2009. "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."
- "Vera and Taissa Farmiga Talk Higher Ground: Strength, Vulnerability, Self-Discovery, Courage". Indie Wire. August 22, 2011.
- "Stephan Farmiga - Bridgewater, NJ". MyLife.
- "Vera Farmiga: I love my lil sisters. #Nadia #Laryssa @t_farmiga". Twitter. April 30, 2014.
- "Alexander Farmiga - Milford, NJ". MyLife.
- "Ascent of a women". NY Post. March 7, 2010. "(Vera) Farmiga also has a disabled sister whom she cares for."
- "Actresses Vera and Taissa Farmiga Are Sisters and Best Friends". Parade - Conde Nast. March 15, 2014.
- "Internet Broadway Database: Taking Sides". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved August 25, 2011.
- "More Vera Farmiga Bios & Profiles". Filmbug.
- "Where Were They Then? Vera Farmiga's Start in "Return To Paradise"". Current. Retrieved November 29, 2010.
- "The Manchurian Candidate (2004)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 29, 2010.
- "The Manchurian Candidate". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 29, 2010.
- Johnson, G. Allen (April 12, 2008). "Review: 'Never Forever' a thoughtful drama". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved April 30, 2013.
- "Israeli Stud, Aspiring Hairdresser". New York Magazine. Retrieved November 29, 2010.
- "Releases dates for Orphan". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved November 29, 2010.
- "Orphan". Metacritic. Retrieved November 29, 2010.
- "Orphan (2009)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 29, 2010.
- "Orphan". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 29, 2010.
- Young, Toby (August 7, 2009). "Orphan". London: The Times. Retrieved November 29, 2010.
- "Vera Farmiga interview: Chats 'Up in the Air' and her craft". NJ.com. Retrieved November 29, 2010.
- "Up in the Air". Metacritic. Retrieved November 29, 2010.
- "Up in the Air". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 29, 2010.
- "Up in the Air". RogerEbert.com. Retrieved November 29, 2010.
- "Oscars 2010: Best Supporting Actress nominees". Entertainment Weekly. February 5, 2010. Retrieved November 29, 2010.
- "Daily Variety article on Golden Globe nominations". Variety.
- "Vera Farmiga, James Caan join Keanu Reeves drama". Entertainment Weekly. October 29, 2009. Retrieved November 29, 2010.
- Fleming, Michael (October 28, 2009). "Farmiga, Caan partner for 'Crime'". Variety. Retrieved November 29, 2010.
- "Interview: Vera Farmiga Talks 'Source Code'". News in Film. Retrieved April 3, 2011.
- "The Conjuring (2013)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 4, 2014.
- "2013 Critics' Choice Television Awards: Big Bang Theory, Game of Thrones, New Girl and More Earn Nominations". E! Online. Retrieved March 22, 2013.
- Rome, Emily. "'Middleton' stars Vera Farmiga, Andy Garcia in a tale of self-discovery". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 10, 2013.
- "Closer to the Moon (2014)" (in Romanian). Cinemagia. Retrieved March 16, 2014.
- Kroll, Justin (March 20, 2013). "Vera Farmiga Sets Sights on 'The Judge'". Variety. Retrieved June 14, 2013.
- "Cannes: Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard to Star in 'Prima'". Variety. May 9, 2014.
- "Alessandro Nivola, Vera Farmiga, Evan Rachel Wood to Star in Joe Berlinger's True Crime Tale (Exclusive)". The Wrap. May 7, 2014.
- "Shirley MacLaine Set, Alan Arkin and Vera Farmiga in Talks for Indie 'The Locals'". Collider. September 13, 2011.
- "Vera Farmiga Welcomes Daughter Gytta Lubov". People. November 11, 2010. Retrieved November 11, 2010.
- "It's a Girl for Vera Farmiga". People. November 11, 2010. Retrieved November 29, 2010.
- Sandberg, Bryn Elise (May 23, 2014). "Drama Actress Roundtable: Watch the Full, Uncensored Conversation With Claire Danes, Julianna Margulies (Video)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
- Fitzsimons, Amanda. "Taissa Farmiga on Sister Vera". Teen Vogue. Retrieved September 4, 2013.
- "Higher Ground". Sony Classics. Retrieved September 4, 2013.
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