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Mira Sorvino Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trivia (25) | Personal Quotes (11) | Salary (1)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 28 September 1967Tenafly, New Jersey, USA
Birth NameMira Katherine Sorvino
Height 5' 9" (1.75 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Mira Katherine Sorvino was born on September 28, 1967 in Tenafly, an affluent northern New Jersey suburb. She is the daughter of Lorraine Davis, an actress turned drama therapist, and veteran character actor Paul Sorvino, who discouraged her from becoming an actor, as he knew how the industry often chews up young stars. The young Sorvino was intelligent, an avid reader and an exceptional scholar. She attended Harvard, majoring in Chinese, graduating magna cum laude in 1989, largely on the strength of her thesis, a Hoopes Prize-winning thesis on racial conflict in China, written and researched during the year spent in Beijing, which helped her fluency in Mandarin Chinese.

However, she showed interest in a career in acting from an early age, and moved to New York City to try her hand in the City's film industry, waitressing, auditioning and working at the Tribeca production company of Robert De Niro. She succeeded in getting a little television work in the early 1990s, but got her first film job in the independent gangster movie Amongst Friends (1993), on which she worked her way up the ladder behind the camera to eventually associate-produce the film, and, more importantly, was eventually cast as the female lead. The movie was forgettable, but Sorvino's performance was not, and attracted enough buzz to get her cast in two more movies, one a more prominent indie, Barcelona (1994), the other her first Hollywood feature, Quiz Show (1994), and her skillful performances brought her yet more attention.

An exceptionally poised and articulate young woman, she may have seemed inappropriate to play a crazy hooker, but Woody Allen took the chance, and her magnificent performance as the female lead in his Mighty Aphrodite (1995) proved her range as a performer and earned her an Oscar (at the tender age of 29) for Best Supporting Actress. Since winning the Oscar, Sorvino has continued to take a wide range of roles, including another stretch as Marilyn Monroe in Norma Jean & Marilyn (1996), co-starring with another very intelligent and skilled young actress, Ashley Judd. Forays into action and horror, such as Mimic (1997) and The Replacement Killers (1998) show that Sorvino is not above being playful in the film roles she chooses.

However, what forever cemented her role in popular culture was her performance as charmingly silly California beach girl Romy White in Romy and Michele's High School Reunion (1997), in which she and co-star Lisa Kudrow utter one hilarious absurdity after another.

Mira Sorvino married Christopher Backus on June 11, 2004, and the couple have four children.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Larry-115

Spouse (1)

Christopher Backus (11 June 2004 - present) (4 children)

Trivia (25)

Graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1989, with a Bachelor's degree in Chinese (East Asian Languages and Civilizations). Her honors thesis: "Anti-Africanism in the People's Republic of China" about the Nanjing Anti-African protests, which won the Harvard Hoopes Prize for writing.
Chosen by People (USA) magazine as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World (1996).
Speaks Mandarin Chinese and French fluently.
Attended Dwight Englewood High School in Englewood, New Jersey.
She has a beautiful singing voice. While an undergraduate at Harvard, she appeared as Dulcinea in a 1986 student production of "Man of La Mancha" at the Loeb Experimental Theatre. The show was directed by Peter Sagal. Unfortunately, she came down with a cold during the one week the show ran, and performed with a mug of tea in hand.
Parents are Lorraine Davis and Paul Sorvino.
Has a younger brother named Michael Sorvino and a younger sister named Amanda Sorvino.
Childhood friends with Hope Davis; they performed plays for the neighbors.
Was a founding member of the Harvard-Radcliffe Veritones, Harvard's premier co-ed a cappella group (1985).
(June 11, 1004) Married actor Christopher Backus in a civil service in Santa Monica, California, and then had their formal ceremony on the island of Capri in Italy. Mira is of half Italian descent, and this was to honor her Italian roots. She wore a gown designed by Giorgio Armani.
(Spring 2003) Met her husband at a Charades party, held by stylist Samantha McMillen.
Was a member of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 1997.
She and her husband Christopher Backus have both guest-starred on the situation comedy Will & Grace (1998), though not in the same episode.
Made her acting debut on an episode of Law & Order (1990) (which at that time starred her father, Paul Sorvino). Although her scene was cut, she still earned a Screen Actors Guild Card for her trouble.
According to Larry Cohen on the DVD commentary for The Stuff (1985), Mira Sorvino came to the set of the film to visit her father, Paul Sorvino, and was given a small part in the film. She plays one of the yellow suited "stuffies" at the plant her father's character attacks. Larry Cohen had forgotten Sorvino appeared in the film until he was talking with her and Quentin Tarantino, whom she was dating, and mentioned that he had directed her father in the film. Mira then reminded Cohen that she actually appeared in the film.
Auditioned for the role of Dorothy Boyd in Jerry Maguire (1996), which went to Renée Zellweger.
Mentioned in the theme song of The Adventures of George the Projectionist (2006).
Cousin of Bill Sorvino.
Gave birth to her first child at age 37, a daughter Mattea Angel Backus on November 3, 2004. Child's father is her husband, Christopher Backus.
Gave birth to her second child at age 38, a son Johnny Christopher King Backus on May 29, 2006. Child's father is her husband, Christopher Backus.
Gave birth to her third child at age 41, a son Holden Paul Terry Backus on June 22, 2009. Child's father is her husband, Christopher Backus.
Gave birth to her fourth child at age 44, a daughter Lucia Backus on May 3, 2012. Child's father is her husband, Christopher Backus.
Returned to work 5 months after giving birth to her son Holden in order to begin filming Angels Crest (2011).
Returned to work 3 months after giving birth to her daughter Lucia in order to begin filming Space Warriors (2013).
Is a huge fan of the original Star Trek (1966) series.

Personal Quotes (11)

There's a side of my personality that goes completely against the East Coast educated person and wants to be a pin-up girl in garages across America...there's a side that wants to wear the pink angora bikini!
(2011) WiseGirls (2002) is not a bad little film. It missed a theatrical distribution by inches. It did well at Sundance, it got a really good reception there. I made one of my very best friends in the world on it, Melora Walters, who plays one of the three waitresses. It's a pretty gripping little story about a waitress who's a former med student who gets caught up in this mob-run joint, and I end up being the house doctor for the local gunshot wounds, and we all become part of sting operation. It's actually kind of a good movie.
(2011) Free Money (1998). My Brando experience. The movie? Perhaps not as fully realized as we all hoped. But it was an amazing experience for me to work with Marlon Brando, because I had always idolized him, and it was so thrilling to get to work with him...I actually have lots of Brando anecdotes from that movie, but it would take all day, so I can't really tell you. And besides, I'm saving them for myself, for when I'm 80 and write my book.
(2011, on making Summer of Sam (1999)) I loved the dancing sequences with John Leguizamo. We had so much fun preparing for that. We just worked for a month with Paul Pellicoro at DanceSport in New York, rehearsing the Hustle moves. The first scene is a choreographed number, and the second scene is improvised, where I'm in a red dress. We had so much fun with both those scenes. There was a certain scene which was not so much fun, which is the orgy scene, where at the end of it I was crying in the corner, like, "I did not become an actress to do this". Because it was basically like being in the middle of a porn movie. Everybody else in the room-although they were not actually having sex-was completely naked, feigning sex with loud, loud noises. We were strategically covered. I mean, on-camera, we looked naked, but we had little things covering the most important areas. But everybody else in the room, who were also sort of rubbing up against you, was naked. For hours of this, everybody grunting and hollering. It was very demoralizing, so I was glad that was only one day of that shoot. But working with Spike [Spike Lee] was a treat, because he set up the way the he shot the movie so that it was all completely fresh in the moment. He used two cameras at all times, and Ellen Kuras, the amazing DP of that, really had it down to a science, so you didn't need to stop the scene to cover it. You were covering it as it was happening. So if in one take something amazing happened that didn't happen in another one, it didn't matter, because she already had it from the other side, because she was working two cameras at once. Like the scene in the cemetery. There's one take where, because John and I really trusted each other, Spike was like [whispers], "Spit in her face." And I didn't know he had said this. But because we trusted each other, when he spit in my face, I slapped him in his face. Then we went on with the scene and I jump out of the car, screaming in this cemetery. None of that was in the script. It just happened, and it was all caught, and it was all in the movie. And I love working that way, when life overtakes the state where it's the page, and it becomes something further than where the blueprint was. I love that way of working, and I loved working with Spike Lee.
(2011, on Norma Jean & Marilyn (1996)) I loved that experience. It was an honor to get to play one of my icons. I had always been touched by her, and touched by the fact that, as a teenage girl growing up in a rather repressive household, she was so openly sexual. But also openly, seemingly good and innocent, like a child. That was very appealing to me, because she wasn't this vamp whose sexuality was this dark, knowing thing. It was just natural to her. And her life was so sad. She had such a miserable life. Getting into playing her, researching her, you got drawn into this vortex of desperation as she got older. I almost had a nervous breakdown on the set, because I was putting on the dress she had actually worn-with the cherries on it, from The Misfits (1961)-that I had found at this costume house in New York. I went in there and asked if they had any Marilyn costumes, because we were looking for things for the movie, and they said, "We have the actual dress from The Misfits (1961). Your production can rent it". So putting it on was almost this religious experience for me, and I felt like, "Uh, how dare I try to play Marilyn Monroe? Who am I to think that I can impersonate Marilyn Monroe?" Then, I had this weird epiphany that I was never going to be Marilyn, to take myself off that hook, because nobody could be her but her. But this is my homage to her, and I can try to put into this performance the things I think I know about her, and the things I think I know about her heart. So that made it easier for me to do it. Because to try to compare yourself to Marilyn, you're always going to lose, and there's no way you could be her, because she was one-in-a-million. But I think there's something iconic about her story, which is the great American tragedy-the 20th-century tragedy of illusory fame and lovability by millions, but ending up completely alone and desperate. I think it's an interesting parable that people get drawn to time and time again, because she seemingly had everything and yet had so little...People who actually knew her liked the performance. Some people did not like the way the role was written for the Ashley [Ashley Judd] side. Someone came up to me and said, "I knew Marilyn, and she was NEVER vicious". They showed her as kind of a ruthless, rise-to-power character incarnate in the Ashley character, and my character was the softer side of her. So personally, maybe there's bloggers out there who hate me, but there are bloggers out there who hate everybody. In terms of all the feedback that I've ever gotten in person, people were positive.
(2011, on Mighty Aphrodite (1995)) That was a blessing from heaven, that role. That was a fantastic role. Working with Woody Allen had been a dream of mine since I was 12, when I was reading "Getting Even" and "Without Feathers". I was in a high school production of "Play It Again, Sam". I played the Diane Keaton role in that. So getting to work for him was such a dream come true, and I never thought it could happen that early in my career. That was just an amazing role and a great experience.
(2011, on The Grey Zone (2001)) It is a movie I'm proud of, and no one has seen it because it's so dark. The darkest movie I've ever been a part of, for sure. But a great one, I think.
(2011, on working with Val Kilmer on At First Sight (1999) and his bad reputation) You know what, he was real easy to work with. I just hate furthering rumors about people being difficult, because it can do such enormous damage to their careers. My experience with him was nothing but positive. He was really professional and gentlemanly, and a terrific actor.
(2011, on The Replacement Killers (1998)) I wanted to work for John Woo, and he was one of the executive producers, and Antoine Fuqua. It was funny: That and Mimic (1997), the directors both made greater- or at least, more broad-reaching, more artistic movies-after their genre forays, and I kind of wish I'd worked with Antoine on his second or third movie. But I always like to give emerging directors my support, because you can tell when you talk to somebody that they have it, and you want to work with them, and it's exciting. It's just sometimes they're not really allowed, at the earlier stages of their career, to bring the fullness of their imagination to the project, because studios are very, very nervous about what they're doing. They want to make sure that it's going to fit. But I loved working with Antoine, and it was fun to do an action movie. It was kind of like being a kid and playing cowboys and Indians, or cops and robbers. And I enjoyed the role of Meg. I thought she was fun to do. I blew my voice out when I was doing a reshoot of Mimic-because it was one of those screaming scenes where I'm in the subway and I'm yelling because the monster is coming-and when I came back to the set of The Replacement Killers (1998), Antoine was like, "I like your voice that way. Keep it". So every day I had to yell to burn out my vocal cords. My voice wasn't the same for a year and a half afterwards because it had the rough, gravelly, two-registers-lower sound to it.
(2011, on The Final Cut (2004)) I don't think that many people have seen, and I think it's a rather interesting film. I loved working with Robin [Robin Williams]. Robin's an amazing guy. What a brilliant man. I don't know if you've had the good fortune of speaking with him, but he is brilliant, and he can improv a rant on anything and knows about everything. It's as if he digests the entirety of the New York Times for breakfast and then spits it out in these comedic bits. He's always on. He has one of those personalities where it seems like they're on speed, but that's just the way they're built. They're just...I think some people don't understand how brilliant he is, because they just get blown away by the funny. But he's just a brilliant man.
(2011, on Mimic (1997)) Giant cockroach movie. Guillermo [Guillermo del Toro] is a very dear friend of mine, and I think I now wish I had done one of his later movies, because I have an intense disgust for cockroaches. I met with him, and felt I was in the presence of a genius. I don't love horror movies, but I felt if I was ever to go down that dark path, it would be under his surefooted care. But I wish hadn't done the one about giant cockroaches. I wish I had been in one of his later ones, which were more esoteric and beautiful. But I still think it's a great movie. I just have disgust, and I think the audience... My father was like [Imitates Paul Sorvino], "Mira, people are not going to come see a movie about cockroaches. There's a kind of evolutionary revulsion we have toward those sorts of insects, and no one will come to see it. It's not like a giant snake movie. It's different!".

Salary (1)

At First Sight (1999) $3,000,000

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