Vera Farmiga

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Vera Farmiga
Vera Farmiga 2, 2011.jpg
Farmiga at the New York City premiere of Hugo in 2011
Born Vera Ann Farmiga
(1973-08-06) August 6, 1973 (age 40)
Clifton, New Jersey, U.S.
Occupation Actress, film director
Years active 1996–present
  • Fynn Hawkey (b. 2009)
  • Gytta Hawkey (b. 2010)
Relatives Taissa Farmiga (sister)

Vera Ann Farmiga (/fɑrˈmɡə/; 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 supporting roles in the 2000 romantic film Autumn in New York and the 2001 television series UC: Undercover. She was also cast in the 2001 thriller 15 Minutes. Her other film appearances and roles include the 2003 comedy Dummy, the 2004 drama Down to the Bone, the 2006 crime thriller The Departed, the 2007 horror Joshua, and the 2008 historical drama The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. She made her directorial debut in the 2011 drama film Higher Ground, which also starred her sister.

Farmiga gained critical acclaim following her work 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. She also starred as Kate Coleman in the 2009 horror film Orphan, Capt. Colleen Goodwin in the 2011 thriller/action movie Source Code, and famous paranormal investigator Lorraine Warren in the 2013 horror film The Conjuring. As of 2013, she stars as Norma Louise Bates in the A&E TV series, Bates Motel, for which she was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.

Early life[edit]

Farmiga, the second of seven children, was born in Clifton, New Jersey.[1] She is the daughter of Ukrainian immigrants Mykhailo, a computer-systems analyst, and Luba Farmiga, a schoolteacher.[2] Farmiga was raised in an "insular" Ukrainian-American community, with Ukrainian as her native language.[2][3] She attended a Ukrainian Catholic school in Newark and toured with a Ukrainian folk-dancing ensemble, Syzokrili.[4][5] As a girl, she converted with her family from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to Pentecostalism.[6] In 1991, Farmiga graduated from Hunterdon Central Regional High School.[7] She has one older brother named Victor (born 1972),[8] and five younger siblings: Stephan (born 1975),[9] Nadia (born 1977),[10] Alexander (born 1988),[11] Laryssa (born 1991)[12] and Taissa Farmiga (born 1994).[13]



Although she originally intended to become an ophthalmologist, Farmiga attended Syracuse University's School of Visual and Performing Arts.[2] She made her Broadway debut in 1996 as an understudy in the play Taking Sides.[14] The same year, she starred as Miranda in the American Conservatory Theater production of The Tempest. She also performed in several productions[15] as a member of The Barrow Group, a prestigious New York City Theatre Company, where her credits include The Seagull and Good. Following her theater debut, she played a role in the television series Roar, which was filmed in Australia, alongside Heath Ledger.[2] Farmiga said that the series "wanted to be Braveheart but turned out more Xena: Warrior Princess."[2] Throughout the late 1990s, she continued appearing in stage, television and film roles, including a supporting role as Kerrie[16] in the 1998 film Return to Paradise, a drama about two friends struggling to save another friend from an impending death sentence.[16] 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 is about 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. Later, Farmiga had a major supporting role in the crime-thriller 15 Minutes (2001), starring Robert De Niro. She 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 cast of the NBC action-thriller television series UC: Undercover. The show, however, was canceled in early 2002.[7]


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 released 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 awards nominations, including the Best Actress award from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the Best Female Lead award from the 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[17] and was a mild success at the worldwide box office, grossing $96 million.[18] In 2005, at the Toronto International Film Festival, opened fantasy feature Neverwas, in which she played Eleanna.

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."[2] One of these audition films led to Martin Scorsese inviting her for what she calls "a chemistry read" with Leonardo DiCaprio, which led to her role as a police psychiatrist in The Departed.[2] Later she was nominated for an Empire Award and shared with the other The Departed members cast the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture nomination. 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 critic G. Allen Johnson who described her as "...the best American actress you've never heard of."[19]

Farmiga starred with Sam Rockwell in the 2007 psychological horror Joshua. Later, she appeared in the 2008 drama film Quid Pro Quo, appearing as 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."[20] Farmiga appeared in the British drama The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008), as the wife of a Nazi commandant, played by David Thewlis. The films tells about a friendly relationship between two eight-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 year, Farmiga played the role of Erica Van Doren in the political thriller Nothing But the Truth, which 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 at the 2010 Metropolitan Opera opening night of Das Rheingold

Farmiga next appeared in Jaume Collet-Serra's horror-thriller film, Orphan. 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.[21] Orphan received mixed reviews[22][23] and grossed $76,699,632 worldwide.[24] 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."[25]

Farmiga starred opposite George Clooney, Anna Kendrick, and Melanie Lynskey in the 2009 comedy-drama, Up in the Air (2009), which was initially given limited release (and later, wider release) on December 25, 2009. In an interview with, 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."[26] Up in the Air received universal acclaim[27] and was one of Farmiga's biggest box office successes, with a worldwide $163,227,071 gross.[28] Roger Ebert praised her, saying: "Farmiga is one of the warmest and most attractive women in the movies, or at least she plays one."[29] In 2010, she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress[30] and a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture[31] 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[32][33] in December 2009, with filming wrapping in early 2010. The film was screened at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival on September 14. Farmiga played Colleen Goodwin in the techno-thriller, Source Code, which was released on April 1, 2011.[34] She had her directorial debut in the 2011 film Higher Ground, in which she also stars.[6] In June 2012, playing Christine McVie, Farmiga started to film The Drummer, a biopic about Dennis Wilson, drummer in The Beach Boys, alongside Aaron Eckhart, Rupert Grint and Chloë Grace Moretz.[35]

In 2013, Farmiga starred in the horror film The Conjuring, which was both a critical and financial success. 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. Commencing in 2013, Farmiga played the role of Norma Bates, the mother of Norman Bates in the A&E television 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 nomination for the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Drama Actress[36] as well as being nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.

Personal life[edit]

Farmiga met French actor Sebastian Roché while filming Roar.[2] The two eloped to the Bahamas after the series ended in 1997. The marriage ended in 2004.[2] Farmiga married Renn Hawkey in September 2008. Hawkey, a carpenter, is the former keyboardist for a synthpop band named Deadsy. Farmiga and Hawkey have a son, Fynn, born in 2009, and a daughter, Gytta, born in 2010.[37][38]

Her sister is actress Taissa Farmiga. The sisters consider each other their best friends. The younger Farmiga told Teen Vogue that her sister is "my stylist, my everything."[39] Farmiga feels similarly: "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, she is one of my best friends in the world."[40]



Year Title Role Notes
1998 Return to Paradise Kerrie
2000 Autumn in New York Lisa Tyler
2001 15 Minutes Daphne Handlova
2001 Dust Amy
2001 Snow White: The Fairest of Them All Queen Josephine, Snow White's mother Television movie
2002 Love in the Time of Money Greta Limited release
2003 Dummy Lorena
2004 Down to the Bone Irene
2004 Iron Jawed Angels Ruza Wenclawska Television movie
2004 Mind the Gap Allison Lee
2004 Manchurian Candidate, TheThe Manchurian Candidate Jocelyne Jordan
2005 Hard Easy, TheThe Hard Easy Dr. Charlie Brooks
2005 Neverwas Eleanna
2006 Running Scared Teresa Gazelle
2006 Breaking and Entering Oana
2006 Departed, TheThe Departed Madolyn Madden
2007 Joshua Abby Cairn
2007 Never Forever Sophie Lee
2007 In Tranzit Natalia
2008 Quid Pro Quo Fiona
2008 The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas Elsa (Mother)
2008 Nothing But the Truth Erica Van Doren
2009 Vintner's Luck, TheThe Vintner's Luck Baroness Aurora
2009 Orphan Kate Coleman
2009 Up in the Air Alex Goran
2010 Henry's Crime Julie
2011 Source Code Capt. Colleen Goodwin
2011 Higher Ground Corinne Also director
2012 Safe House Catherine Linklater
2012 Goats Wendy
2013 The Conjuring Lorraine Warren
2013 At Middleton Edith
2014 Closer to the Moon Alice
2014 The Judge Samantha Post-production
2015 The Locals Lillian Goldberg Pre-production
2015 The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist Lorraine Warren Pre-production


Year Title Role Notes
1997 Roar Diana 11 episodes
1998 Law & Order Lindsay Carson Episode: "Expert"
1998 Trinity Unknown Episode: "In Loco Parentis"
2001–2002 UC: Undercover Alex Cross 11 episodes
2004 Touching Evil Detective Susan Branca 12 episodes
2013–present Bates Motel Norma Louise Bates 20 episodes

Awards and nominations[edit]


  1. ^ Staff. "New on DVD this week", The Record (Bergen County), January 13, 2012. Accessed March 30, 2012. "Clifton native and former Irvington resident Vera Farmiga makes an astonishingly assured directorial debut with this engrossing study of Corinne (first played by Vera's sister Taissa Farmiga, and then by Vera), a woman who turns to Christianity after she and her family nearly die in a car accident."
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Brown, Mick (August 30, 2008). "Vera Farmiga: rare breed.". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved July 16, 2009. 
  3. ^ Hirschberg, Lynn (September 3, 2006). "A Film of One’s Own". The New York Times. Retrieved October 29, 2007. 
  4. ^ DiChiara, Thomas (2009-12-02). "Vera Farmiga on 'Up in the Air,' Butt Doubles and Clooney's 'Sling Blade' Obsession". Moviefone. Retrieved 2009-12-16. 
  5. ^ Rhule, Patty (2007-02-15). "Farmiga 'Entering' solid acting ground". USA Today. Retrieved 2009-12-16. 
  6. ^ a b Luscombe, Belinda (August 29, 2011). "That's the Spirit". Time. Retrieved August 23, 2011. 
  7. ^ a b "Vera Farmiga- Biography". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved April 30, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Victor Farmiga - Florissant, CO". 
  9. ^ "Stephan Farmiga - Bridgewater, NJ". 
  10. ^ "Nadia Farmiga - Kingston, NY". 
  11. ^ "Alexander Farmiga - Milford, NJ". 
  12. ^ "Laryssa Farmiga - Whitehouse Station, NJ". 
  13. ^ "Person Details for Luba Farmiga". 
  14. ^ "Internet Broadway Database: Taking Sides". Retrieved August 25, 2011. 
  15. ^ "More Vera Farmiga Bios & Profiles"
  16. ^ a b "Where Were They Then? Vera Farmiga's Start in "Return To Paradise"". Retrieved November 29, 2010. 
  17. ^ "The Manchurian Candidate (2004)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 29, 2010. 
  18. ^ "The Manchurian Candidate". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 29, 2010. 
  19. ^ Johnson, G. Allen (April 12, 2008). "Review: 'Never Forever' a thoughtful drama". Sfgate. Retrieved April 30, 2013. 
  20. ^ "Israeli Stud, Aspiring Hairdresser". New York Magazine. Retrieved November 29, 2010. 
  21. ^ "Releases dates for Orphan". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved November 29, 2010. 
  22. ^ "Orphan". Metacritic. Retrieved November 29, 2010. 
  23. ^ "Orphan (2009)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 29, 2010. 
  24. ^ "Orphan". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 29, 2010. 
  25. ^ Young, Toby (August 7, 2009). "Orphan". London: Times. Retrieved November 29, 2010. 
  26. ^ "Vera Farmiga interview: Chats 'Up in the Air' and her craft". Retrieved November 29, 2010. 
  27. ^ "Up in the Air". Metacritic. Retrieved November 29, 2010. 
  28. ^ "Up in the Air". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 29, 2010. 
  29. ^ "Up in the Air". Retrieved November 29, 2010. 
  30. ^ "Oscars 2010: Best Supporting Actress nominees". Entertainment Weekly. February 5, 2010. Retrieved November 29, 2010. 
  31. ^ Daily Variety article on Golden Globe nominations
  32. ^ "Vera Farmiga, James Caan join Keanu Reeves drama". Entertainment Weekly. October 29, 2010. Retrieved November 29, 2010. 
  33. ^ Fleming, Michael (October 28, 2009). "Farmiga, Caan partner for 'Crime'". Variety. Retrieved November 29, 2010. 
  34. ^ "Interview: Vera Farmiga Talks ‘Source Code’". News in Film. Retrieved April 3, 2011. 
  35. ^ "Chloe Moretz, Rupert Grint Join Beach Boy Biopic 'The Drummer'". The Hollywood Reporter. 2011-11-17. Retrieved 2012-03-17. 
  36. ^ "2013 Critics' Choice Television Awards: Big Bang Theory, Game of Thrones, New Girl and More Earn Nominations". E! Online. Retrieved March 22, 2013. 
  37. ^ "Vera Farmiga Welcomes Daughter Gytta Lubov". November 11, 2010. Retrieved November 11, 2010. 
  38. ^ "It's a Girl for Vera Farmiga". November 11, 2010. Retrieved November 29, 2010. 
  39. ^ Fitzsimons, Amanda. "Taissa Farmiga on Sister Vera". Retrieved September 4, 2013. 
  40. ^ "Higher Ground". Retrieved September 4, 2013. 

External links[edit]