August 17, 1994 |
Readington, New Jersey, U.S.
Taissa Farmiga (/ /; born August 17, 1994) is an American actress. She made her film debut in the drama Higher Ground (2011), her television debut in the FX series American Horror Story: Murder House (2011), and her stage debut in the play Buried Child (2016). Farmiga has had leading roles in The Bling Ring (2013), Mindscape (2013), The Final Girls (2015), 6 Years (2015), and In a Valley of Violence (2016).
Early life and family
Farmiga was born and raised in the Whitehouse Station area of Readington Township, New Jersey. She is the youngest of seven children born to Ukrainian American parents Lubomyra (née Spas), a schoolteacher, and Michael Farmiga, a systems analyst. Her older siblings are Victor, Vera, Stephan, Nadia, Alexander, and Laryssa; the latter of whom was born with spina bifida. Her paternal cousin is visual artist Adriana Farmiga. She attended public school until fourth grade, after which she began homeschooling. Farmiga has stated that she understands the Ukrainian language but can only partially speak it. She is proficient in American Sign Language, having taken classes for four years.
Farmiga's maternal grandparents, Nadia (née Pletenciw; 1925–2014) and Theodor Spas (1921–90), met at a displaced Ukrainian persons camp in Karlsfeld during World War II. At the time, Theodor was working as a mechanic for the United States Army. Her grandparents emigrated to the U.S. in 1950 when Farmiga's mother was an infant. Farmiga's father was born in Ukraine and raised in Argentina. A former soccer player, Michael was scouted to play for the Argentine national team, and also played professionally for the Newark Ukrainian Sitch.
2011–15: Beginnings and American Horror Story
Although Farmiga initially planned to be an accountant, she was persuaded to appear in her sister Vera Farmiga's directorial debut drama Higher Ground, playing the 16-year-old version of the lead character Corinne Walker. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 23, 2011, to critical acclaim. Shortly after, and following rave reviews for her performance, Farmiga was signed to talent agency ICM Partners. In May 2011, she was cast in the first season of the FX anthology series American Horror Story, launching Farmiga to worldwide prominence. She portrayed Violet Harmon, the troubled adolescent daughter of Vivien (Connie Britton) and Ben Harmon (Dylan McDermott), a role she secured in her first professional acting audition. American Horror Story: Murder House premiered on October 5, 2011, to positive reviews. Farmiga then joined the cast of Sofia Coppola's crime satire The Bling Ring, based on the real life group of the same name. She portrayed wild child Sam Moore, a character modelled after Tess Taylor. The film opened the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival on May 16, 2013, to generally positive reviews.
In June 2012, Farmiga signed on to portray Audrey Martin, an uptight teen touring a college campus, in the independent romantic comedy At Middleton, co-starring with her sister. The film premiered at the Seattle International Film Festival on May 17, 2013, receiving a mixed to positive response from critics. Farmiga then returned to American Horror Story for the third season of the series. She portrayed Zoe Benson, a young witch afflicted with a dark and dangerous power. American Horror Story: Coven premiered on October 9, 2013, to positive reviews. Farmiga had her first starring role as Anna Greene in Jorge Dorado's psychological thriller Mindscape. The world premiere was held at the Sitges Film Festival on October 13, 2013. The film was released in the United States on June 6, 2014, to a mixed critical reception. She next co-starred as Sarah, the main character's love interest, in the biographical crime drama Jamesy Boy. The film was given a limited release in the United States on January 17, 2014, receiving mostly unfavorable reviews.
Farmiga joined the cast of Todd Strauss-Schulson's horror comedy The Final Girls, portraying the lead role of final girl Max Cartwright. The film premiered at South by Southwest (SXSW) on March 13, 2015, to critical acclaim. Her next film role was as Melanie Clark in Hannah Fidell's heavily improvised romantic drama 6 Years, alongside Ben Rosenfield. The film opened at SXSW on March 14, 2015, to mostly positive reviews from critics. Farmiga then starred as protagonist Krystal, a teenager who returns to school after an explicit video of her sexual assault goes viral, in Pippa Bianco's short drama film Share. The short also premiered at SXSW on March 14, 2015, to a positive reception. Her performances in all three films were acclaimed, and Farmiga was listed as one of the breakout stars of SXSW. She subsequently co-starred as Karen McClaren, a young journalist who gets caught up in the hunt for a serial killer, in ABC's short-lived crime drama series Wicked City. The series premiered on October 27, 2015, and was cancelled after three episodes due to low ratings. However, the remaining episodes were released in December 2015 through Hulu.
2016–present: Stage debut and continued film roles
In 2016, Farmiga made her stage debut as Shelly in the Off-Broadway revival of Sam Shepard's drama Buried Child. Also starring Ed Harris and Amy Madigan, the production ran from February 2 through April 3, 2016, at The New Group, and was directed by Scott Elliott. The play was met with a mostly positive reception from theatre critics. She next starred opposite Ethan Hawke and John Travolta in the Ti West-directed revenge Western film In a Valley of Violence. Farmiga portrayed Mary-Anne, a motormouthed young innkeeper who befriends Hawke's character. The film premiered at South by Southwest on March 12, 2016, and was met with positive reviews. Farmiga then made her voice acting debut, playing the superhero Raven, in DC Comics' Justice League vs. Teen Titans. The film, directed by Sam Liu, was released direct-to-video on March 29, 2016. In May 2016, she read the essay Friends Without Benefits, written by Hannah Selinger, for The New York Times' Modern Love podcast.
Farmiga will next appear as Sarah Bransford in the ensemble cast of Warren Beatty's romantic comedy-drama Rules Don't Apply, which is set for release on November 23, 2016. The project reunites Farmiga with her Buried Child co-stars Harris and Madigan, who portray her parents in the film.
Farmiga's older sister is Oscar-nominated actress Vera Farmiga, and the two consider each other best friends. Through Vera's second marriage, she is the sister-in-law of musician and film producer Renn Hawkey.
|2011||Higher Ground||Teenage Corinne Walker|
|2013||The Bling Ring||Sam Moore|
|2013||At Middleton||Audrey Martin|
|2015||The Final Girls||Max Cartwright|
|2015||6 Years||Melanie Clark|
|2016||In a Valley of Violence||Mary-Anne|
|2016||Justice League vs. Teen Titans||Raven (voice)|
|2016||Rules Don't Apply||Sarah Bransford||Completed|
|2011||American Horror Story: Murder House||Violet Harmon||11 episodes|
|2013–14||American Horror Story: Coven||Zoe Benson||13 episodes|
|2015||Wicked City||Karen McClaren||8 episodes|
|2016||Buried Child||Shelly||The New Group, Off-Broadway|
Awards and nominations
|2012||Online Film & Television Association Awards||Best Ensemble in a Drama Series||American Horror Story: Murder House||Nominated|||
|2014||Best Ensemble in a Motion Picture or Miniseries||American Horror Story: Coven||Nominated|||
|2015||Fright Meter Awards||Best Actress in a Leading Role||The Final Girls||Nominated|||
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