The actress readies for her fifteen minutes-or longer
Interviewed by: Greg Goldstein
Mention the Xena-style series Roar to Vera Farmiga, and she literally dives under the table in embarrassment. It’s hard to blame her. In the past three years she’s gone from playing a whipped-and-bound Celtic warrior on Fox TV to sharing scenes with some of the most respected and famous stars in Hollywood.
This twenty-six-year-old with cool intensity and piercing blue eyes carries some powerful moments in two new films, playing the estranged daughter of Christopher Walken in The Opportunists and of Richard Gere in Autumn in New York. Farmiga’s biggest break, however, comes this winter in Fifteen Minutes, in which she portrays a Czech witness to a murder investigated by Ed Burns and the god of actors, Robert De Niro.
“What De Niro’s name evokes in people didn’t do it for me,” she recalls. “But as you stand opposite him, you know exactly what they’re talking about. He’s astounding.” Born and raised in New Jersey’s insulated Ukrainian community, where she “went to Ukrainian Catholic school, was in the Ukrainian Girl Scouts, and did Ukrainian folk dancing in the Catskills during summers,” Farmiga did not learn English until she was six. She did, however, garner some language skills that helped her land her Czech-character role.
When not shooting, she insulates herself on her farm in upstate New York with husband and former Roar costar Sebastian Roche. “I don’t have to make decisions there like, Should I wear Kenzo or Prada?” she says, laughing. “I mow the lawn on my tractor all day. It’s much cheaper than therapy.”