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Vera Farmiga (1973)

Vera Ann Farmiga

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Vera Ann Farmiga is an American actress and director. Farmiga made her 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 ''. 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 drama The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. 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 Orphan in 2009.

Farmiga appeared in the 2011 thriller/action movie Source Code, as Capt. Colleen Goodwin.


 early life
Farmiga, the second of seven children, was born in Clifton, New Jersey. She is the daughter of Ukrainian immigrants Mykhailo, a computer-systems analyst, and Luba Farmiga, a schoolteacher. Farmiga was raised in an "insular" Ukrainian American community, with Ukrainian as her native language. She attended a Ukrainian Catholic school in Newark and toured with a Ukrainian folk-dancing ensemble, Syzokryli. As a girl, she converted with her family from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to Pentecostalism. In 1991, Farmiga graduated from Hunterdon Central Regional High School.

Although she originally intended to become an ophthalmologist, Farmiga attended Syracuse University's School of Visual and Performing Arts. She made her Broadway debut in 1996 as an understudy in the play Taking Sides. The same year, she starred as Miranda in the American Conservatory Theater production of The Tempest. She also performed in several productions 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. Farmiga said that the series "wanted to be Braveheart but turned out more Xena: Warrior Princess." Throughout the late 1990s, she continued appearing in stage, television and film roles, including a supporting role as Kerrie in the 1998 film Return to Paradise, a drama thriller about two friends struggling to save another friend from an impending death sentence. Farmiga co-appeared 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 , 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 ''''. The show, however, was canceled in early 2002.

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 , which had also 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 portrayed 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 and was a big success at the worldwide box offce, grossing over $96 million. 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." 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. 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."

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."

Farmiga appeared in the British drama The Boy in the Striped Pajamas , as the wife of a Nazi commandant, played by David Thewlis. The films tells 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 was starring Matt Dillon and Kate Beckinsale. Her role earned her a nomination for the Best Supporting Actress award at the 2009 Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards.


Farmiga next appeared in Jaume Collet-Serra's horror-thriller film Orphan. In the film, she with 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. Orphan received mixed or average reviews and grossed $76,699,632 worldwide. Toby Young of Times wrote that Farmiga "becomes more convincing as the story unfolds. By the end, she has you in the palm of her hand."

Farmiga starred opposite George Clooney, Anna Kendrick, and Melanie Lynskey in the 2009 comedy-drama Up in the Air , which was initially given limited release, and then wide-released on December 25, 2009. In an interview with NJ.com, 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." Up in the Air received universal acclaim and was one of Farmiga's biggest box office successes, with a worldwide $163,227,071 gross. Roger Ebert praised her, saying: "Farmiga is one of the warmest and most attractive women in the movies, or at least she plays one." In 2010, she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress and a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture 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 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, by Summit Entertainment. She has her directorial debut in the 2011 film Higher Ground, in which she also stars.

 personal life
Farmiga met French actor Sebastian Roché while filming Roar. The two eloped to the Bahamas after the series' end in 1997. The marriage ended in 2004.

Farmiga married Renn Hawkey in September 2008. Hawkey, a carpenter, is the former keyboardist for a synthpop band named Deadsy. They have a son named Fynn, born on January 15, 2009. On November 4, 2010, Farmiga gave birth to daughter Gytta Lubov Hawkey.
Her sister is actress Taissa Farmiga who plays Violet Harmon in FX's horror-drama series, American Horror Story.

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