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Vera Farmiga Poster

Biography

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Overview (3)

Date of Birth 6 August 1973Clifton, New Jersey, USA
Birth NameVera Ann Farmiga
Height 5' 7" (1.7 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Vera Farmiga is an American actress who received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Up in the Air (2009) and a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her role in Bates Motel (2013).

She was born Vera Ann Farmiga, the second of seven children, on August 6, 1973, in Clifton, New Jersey, USA, to Ukrainian parents. She did not speak English until the age of six, and was raised in the Ukrainian Catholic home of her mother, Luba (Spas), a schoolteacher, and her father, Michael Farmiga, a computer systems analyst. Her younger sister is actress Taissa Farmiga, who is 21 years her junior. She attended a Ukrainian Catholic school, then went to public school. Young Vera was a shy, nearsighted girl, who played piano and folk danced with a Ukrainian touring company in her teens.

In 1991, she graduated from Hunterdon Central Regional High School. She initially dreamed of becoming an optometrist, but changed her mind, and studied acting at Syracuse University's School of Performing Arts, graduating in 1995. The following year, she began her professional acting career, making her Broadway debut as an understudy in the play "Taking Sides". Her stage credits included performances in "The Tempest", "Good", "The Seagull", and in a well-reviewed off-Broadway production of "Second-Hand Smoke" (1997). That same year, she made her television debut as the female lead, opposite a then-unknown Heath Ledger, in Fox's adventure series Roar (1997).

In 1998, Farmiga made her big screen debut in the drama Return to Paradise (1998), then played the daughters of Christopher Walken in The Opportunists (2000) and Richard Gere in Autumn in New York (2000). She starred as a working-class mother struggling to keep her life and marriage together while hiding her drug addiction in Down to the Bone (2004), for which she was awarded Best Actress from the 2004 Sundance Film Festival and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. Farmiga's acting talent shone in a range of characters, from her role as a senator's daughter in The Manchurian Candidate (2004), the wife of a mobster in Running Scared (2006), a humorous prostitute in Breaking and Entering (2006), and a police psychiatrist in The Departed (2006).

In 2010, Farmiga received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance in Up in the Air (2009). In 2011, she made her directorial debut with the drama Higher Ground (2011), in which she also appears in the leading role. Although the film had a limited release, Farmiga's direction and performance received attention at several festivals. In 2013, she began starring in the drama thriller series Bates Motel (2013), for which she received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in the first season.

Farmiga was formerly married to actor Sebastian Roché, whom she met during production of Roar (1997). The two eloped to the Bahamas after the series ended in 1997. They separated in 2003 and subsequently divorced. On September 13, 2008, she married musician Renn Hawkey, with whom she has two children, son Fynn McDonnell (b. 2009) and daughter Gytta Lubov Hawkey (b. 2010). Farmiga lives with her family in Hudson Valley, New York. Her other activities, outside her acting profession, include reading, playing piano, boxing, jujitsu, and spending time with her pet angora goats.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

Spouse (2)

Renn Hawkey (13 September 2008 - present) (2 children)
Sebastian Roché (1997 - 2005) (divorced)

Trade Mark (1)

Expressive, piercing blue eyes

Trivia (66)

Grew up in a Ukrainian-speaking enclave in New Jersey.
On Late Night with Conan O'Brien (1993) (July 19, 2007), Vera stated that she has had Lasik eye surgery.
Graduated from Syracuse University, class of 1995.
Did not learn English until she was six.
Daughter of Ukrainian immigrants, and the second of seven children.
Last name is pronounced far-MEE-guh.
Attended Syracuse University with actor Taye Diggs and producer Terry Dinan.
Graduated from Hunterdon Central Regional High School, class of 1991.
Was member of the dramatic jury at the Sundance Film Festival in 2005.
Gave birth to her 1st child at age 35, son Fynn Hawkey (Fynn McDonnell Hawkey) on January 13, 2009. Child's father is her 2nd husband, Renn Hawkey.
Returned to work 2 months after giving birth to her son Fynn in order to begin filming Up in the Air (2009).
Auditioned for the role of Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale (2006), but Eva Green was cast instead.
A body double was used during her nude scene in Up in the Air (2009) as she had just recently given birth to her son Fynn.
Was originally cast as Wallis Simpson in W.E. (2011), but was forced to drop out due to her second pregnancy. Andrea Riseborough was then cast instead.
Gave birth to her 2nd child at age 37, daughter Gytta Hawkey (Gytta Lubov Hawkey) on November 4, 2010. Child's father is her 2nd husband, Renn Hawkey.
Was 5 months pregnant with her daughter Gytta when she completed filming on Higher Ground (2011).
Returned to work 3 months after giving birth to her daughter Gytta in order to begin filming Goats (2012).
Older sister of Taissa Farmiga.
Good friends with George Clooney.
Delivered her children Fynn and Gytta via Caesarean section.
Turned down the offer to portray Milada Horáková in Milada (2017), eventually played by Ayelet Zurer.
Good friends with Dagmara Dominczyk and Patrick Wilson.
Sister-in-law of Adam Hawkey and Molly Hawkey.
First wife of Sebastian Roché.
Turned down the role of Lynn Childers in Machine Gun Preacher (2011) as she had become pregnant with her daughter Gytta.
Has worked with directors James Wan and Jaume Collet-Serra twice each.
Good friends with Bates Motel (2013) co-stars Freddie Highmore, Nestor Carbonell, and Max Thieriot.
Drives a black Chevrolet Corvette (December 2013).
Hobbies include boxing and knitting.
Plays the guitar and piano.
Has made two films with sister Taissa Farmiga: Higher Ground (2011) and At Middleton (2013).
Practices the Japanese martial art of Jujitsu, in which she has earned an orange belt (March 2017).
Is a highly skilled pianist. She has played the piano for many of her acting roles, including Orphan (2009), At Middleton (2013), and Bates Motel (2013).
Had never acted in a sequel until The Conjuring 2 (2016).
Has starred in two films nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture: The Departed (2006) (which won) and Up in the Air (2009).
Made her Broadway debut as an understudy for the role of Emmi Straube in "Taking Sides" (October 1996).
Is a fan of the novels "A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian" by Marina Lewycka, "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek" by Annie Dillard, "Identity" by Milan Kundera, and "Wildlife" by Richard Ford.
Was considered for a role in The Dark Knight Rises (2012).
Before acting professionally, she worked in customer service for an air conditioning company.
Referred to as a Scream Queen after her starring roles in Joshua (2007), Orphan (2009), Bates Motel (2013), The Conjuring (2013), and The Conjuring 2 (2016).
An alumnus of the prestigious Barrow Group theatre company.
Was a semi-professional Ukrainian folk dancer in the troupe Syzokryli, instructed by dancer and choreographer Roma Pryma-Bohachevsky.
Owns three angora goats named Zoshya, Fruzia and Sofika, and a dog named Muppet.
Is a fan of the Roman Polanski films Repulsion (1965) and Rosemary's Baby (1968).
Though both her parents are Ukrainian-born, her mother grew up in the United States from infancy and her father was raised in Argentina.
Found her love of acting after being benched during a high school soccer match. She auditioned for the drama department's production of "The Vampire" and won the lead role.
Owns homes in Upstate New York and Vancouver, British Columbia.
Can speak some French and Spanish, in addition to being fluent in English and Ukrainian.
Began studying Muay Thai boxing during the second season of Bates Motel (2013). She previously studied the sport as a 20-year-old.
Attended St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic School.
Met her 2nd husband, Renn Hawkey, on the set of Touching Evil (2004) in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Auditioned, and was closely considered, for the role of Jude Quinn in I'm Not There. (2007), but Cate Blanchett was cast instead.
Earlier in her career, Farmiga would send self-taped auditions to casting directors instead of auditioning in person.
Her six siblings are named Victor, Stephan, Nadia, Alexander, Laryssa, and Taissa. They all share the same parents.
Played the older version of her sister Taissa Farmiga's character in Higher Ground (2011), and her mother in At Middleton (2013).
Was born in Passaic County and grew up in Hunterdon County, New Jersey.
Her sister Laryssa was born with spina bifida.
Her father was a soccer player in his youth and was scouted for Argentina's national team.
Her role in Roar (1997) paid off her college student loans.
Is often cast in the role of a mother.
Has sung in two of her projects: Bates Motel (2013) and Special Correspondents (2016).
The set of The Conjuring (2013) was allegedly haunted. Farmiga apparently received an unexplained claw-shaped scratch on her thigh, and a similarly-shaped mark also appeared on her laptop screen.
Met her second husband on the set of Touching Evil (2004). They were introduced by a mutual friend, Allen Hughes.
Once played her agent, Tracy Brennan, in a video for CAA. She was so good in the role that other agents began recommending her to casting directors for roles.
Landed her first agent immediately after graduating from Syracuse University.
Counts Carol Burnett and Lucille Ball among her idols.

Personal Quotes (27)

I can't do Los Angeles. I've always been the anti-Barbie. I don't want to be in a place where almost every woman walks around with puffy lips, little noses and breasts large enough to nourish a small country. As a kid I wanted attention, so I started praying for glasses because everyone had ace vision in my family. Then one day my eyes started going bad and never stopped.
It's terrifying to be the lead. There's a moment of excitement, and then pure terror.
I really don't feel a need to be famous. But I do feel a need to make a difference, to shed light on human emotion through acting.
There are some times when I think acting can be a noble profession.
I'm not in this for the achievement. I'm in it for the illumination. That's how I choose my roles, that's how I attract roles -- it's a very spiritual process for me. And it's the only way I can continue, and stay interested. The acting...it's really a vocation.
As an actor, you're sort of the court-appointed lawyer of the character. And that's what used to draw me to scripts -- something in a woman that I wanted to defend, something that I recognized or wanted to understand, something that turned my head. Now that I'm a mother, I think it's more the message of a film, or the questions that they pose about life -- that's the magnifying glass through which I look at them now. But at first it was all about the character.
I just can't feel lukewarm about a character. I either despise her, admire her, or don't understand her and want to understand her.
What happened is that I ended up getting benched in soccer in high school so I tried out for the school play and I got the lead role. Then I just stuck with it.
[on her film, Higher Ground (2011)] You've got fundamentalism, and you've got relativism. I wanted to push both ways and try to come at it from a middle ground.
My dad is someone who feels the breath of God on his face. He's tapping into something that I have yet to tap into -- and yearn to.
Doubt is the middle position between knowledge and ignorance. It encompasses cynicism but also genuine questioning.
[on any difficulties she encountered in casting Higher Ground (2011)] It should have been a lot harder. I'd say, "It's about a woman enmeshed in this very particular spiritual community who's trying to conceptualize and define God for herself". And you use the word "God" and people quake with fear. That's when I started to realize what a touchy, bizarre, sensitive, combative subject matter it is.
[on Up in the Air (2009)] Jason Reitman sketches these characters and shines a real stark spotlight on them that illuminates all their foibles, all of their deficiencies, quirks, eccentricities and yet you still manage to root for them because they're so human and complex. And I saw that in Alex.
My culture is very rich in the art; singing and dance were so much a part of my childhood. I was in a traveling professional dance troupe called Syzokryli, and I was very serious about the piano. So I was always performing.
[on directing] My big formative experience was Debra Granik. That was school for me. It was the first time anyone had given me the responsibility of a protagonist, and to work so closely with her ethics and her tenets about her filmmaking, and her honesty. I was persuaded through the Debra Granik school.
I keep finding the most compelling characters in independent films. A lot of the roles in the other kinds of films were peripheral princesses or just boring, boring women -- female characters that were utterly ordinary and devoid of any personality or spirituality. Is that a reflection of what we've become as women? That's something that we sometimes don't think about. You see all these stupid, materialist, horny, nympho characters that people put up there in movies, and you have to think: Is that what feminine dignity has come to?
[on giving up music and dancing] I don't regret it. I'm a jack-of-that-trade. There's not enough time, genuinely, not enough time in the day. So you choose your weapons. And the piano...I will not have time for the next decade until my children are grown! It's not about me anymore. It's not about myself. It's about them and the very little time I have left for me.
I'm not an attention seeker; I wasn't looking for fame and fortune. I wasn't sure while I was at college. But I found I was really comfortable taking on a different personality. It saved me from myself, in a way.
I've gravitated towards independent cinema because you have to work harder in studio scripts to flesh out characters, particularly female ones. They are not as sharply edged, they tend to be quite watery. They are not renderings of women as I know them.
My parents are very sensible and grounded, they take it with a pinch of salt. You know, I'm one of seven and they want success for all their children. They're proud but they're even more proud now that I've given them grandchildren.
I'm really serious about boxing these days. Boxing is a great way for me to get out of my head and get out of my heart and just like sweat it out, honestly. I'm very serious about it. If I didn't have the insurance, I would honestly start sparring and start competing in boxing, because I'm that serious and love it. It's a huge passion of mine.
I went to Ukrainian Girl Scouts, which is called Plast, and Ukrainian Catholic school. I did Ukrainian folk dancing. My piano teacher was Ukrainian. I used to think and dream in Ukrainian. My exposure to the English language mostly came from preschool, Saturday morning cartoons and television -- The Little Rascals (1982), Little House on the Prairie (1974), Gilligan's Island (1964).
Sometimes I attract roles that are necessary either for personal growth or enlightenment.
Normally, I rely heavily on my director to massage me out of my actor comfort zones.
The more people know about you, the more face-time you get in the media, the harder your job becomes to create a character in whom people suspend disbelief.
Whether you're making a million dollar film or a $100 million film there is never enough money, there's never enough time.
I think the worst thing that can happen to a good actor is fame.

Salary (1)

Bates Motel (2013) $75,000 per episode (season one)

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