Hello there, my Little Monsters. We are midway through another week, and therefor it’s time to celebrate another wonderful Woman of Horror. With as many of them as there are in the genre, it can be difficult to decide on just who to highlight. But after watching one of this actress’ films last night I thought I would conjure up a Woman Crush Wednesday piece about her. See what I did there? CONJURE? OK…I know, that was cheesy. Anyway, it’s my pleasure to bring you this week’s lovely and talented lady, Miss Vera Farmiga.
Vera was born in Clifton , New Jersey, to Michael and Luba Farmiga, and was raised in a rather sectarian Ukranian American community in Irvington, New Jersey. She comes from a large family and is the second oldest of seven children. The youngest of the seven is her sister, fellow actress, Taissa Farmiga. Her first language was Ukranian, and she didn’t even learn English until the age of six when she began attending kindergarten. As a teenager, Vera began performing and touring semi-professionally with a Ukranian folk dancing ensemble, and was also trained as a classical pianist.
Acting wasn’t really on Vera’s radar until a friend urged her to audition for the lead role in her high School’s production of James Robinson Planché‘s play, The Vampire, for which she earned the lead role. Vera would go on to attend Syracuse University, where she studied at their School of Performing Arts.
After graduating from Syracuse, Vera’s acting career began on the stage, in roles such as Miranda in the American Conservatory Theater’s production of The Tempest as well as the character of Anne Hartman in The Barrow Group’s production of Good. She made her Broadway debut as an understudy for the character of Emmi Straube, in Ronald Harwood’s play Taking Sides, which starred Ed Harris and Daniel Massey.
Her television debut came very soon after, as she starred opposite the late Heath Ledger on Fox’s short lived action-adventure series, Roar. Vera made appearances on Rose Hill and Law & Order before landing her first big screen role as Kerrie in Joseph Ruben’s 1998 film, Return To Paradise. In 2002, Vera landed her first starring role on the big screen as Greta in Peter Mattei’s romantic dramedy, Love in the Time of Money. It would be her compelling portrayal of Irene, a drug addicted working class mother, in Debra Granik’s film, Down to the Bone, that really made audiences and critics alike take notice. This “breakthrough” performance earned her a well deserved Best Actress award from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association as well as a nomination for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Lead Actress.
Her star began to rise as, between 2004 and 2008, she followed up with roles in such films as The Manchurian Candidate, Running Scared, Breaking and Entering, The Departed and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. It was also during this time Vera made her first appearance in the horror genre, in George Ratliff’s 2007 horror thriller, Joshua. Vera has since starred in three more genre films: Orphan, The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2. She also starred as Norman Bates’ mother/alter ego, Norma Bates, in the five season run of A&E’s series, Bates Motel. It’s also entirely possible that Vera will reprise her role as Elaine Warren in yet another film (hopefully more) in the Conjuring Franchise.
Vera’s talent and versatility as an actress are without question, as she has been nominated for numerous major industry awards. For her work in the 2009 film Up in the Air, Vera was nominated for the Academy Award, BAFTA, Golden Globe Award and Screen Actor’s Guild Award, all for best supporting actress. She was also received a nomination in 2010 for a SAG Award for her performance in The Departed. And in 2013, she received an Emmy nomination for best lead actress in a drama series, for her portrayal of Norma Bates on Bates Motel.
She has also taken a turn behind the camera, not only starring in but also making her directorial debut on the adaptation of Carolyn S. Briggs’ memoir, Higher Ground. This film also garnered Vera many award nominations, not only for her acting but also her directing. She would also go on to score a win for Higher Ground, being awarded the Best Actress Award at the 2011 Women’s Image Network Awards for her portrayal of Corinne Walker.
But more rewarding than anything she may possibly have done on screen or behind the camera, is the role she plays everyday of her life, as a mother. Together, Vera and her husband, Renn Hawkey, have a son, Fynn and a daughter, Gytta. Incidentally, it’s her close friend and Bates Motel co-star, Freddie Highmore, who just happens to be godfather to the couples son.
Right now Vera has three movies in their post production phases, Boundaries, The Commuter and Captive State, which are slated to come out over the next couple of years. She will also be starring in Godzilla: King of the Monsters, which is currently filming and is set to be released in Spring of 2019.
So again we have reached that point where I disclose that I haven’t dished everything there is to know about this lovely, talented and wonderful Woman of Horror. But worry not, because there are many ways to seek info on what projects she may be working on, or generally what’s going on with Vera. You all could take a gander at her official IMDb page, or give a follow to her official Twitter account or maybe even give a follow at her official Instagram page as well.
Parting is such sweet sorrow, my Little Monsters. So until next time, I wish to impart just two little words used often by our dearly departed king of zombie cinema, George A. Romero. And with that I bid you all to “stay scared”.
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