DATELINE NEW YORK: “Destined for dizzy heights”
Interviewed by: Helen Smindak
Source: UKRWeekly dot Com
Actress Vera Farmiga has been in the acting profession for only three years, but she seems to be headed straight for stardom. She appeared on movie screens across the country in two important films released this year. She co-stars in four major productions scheduled for release in 2001. And she’s reportedly shooting another film in Paris, a love story in which she has the leading role.
Trevor White, senior editor of “America’s Elite 1000: The Ultimate List,” who inteviewed the New Jersey native for a recent issue of Madison Magazine, predicts that “Vera Farmiga is destined for dizzy heights.” In the September issue of Interview, Gregg Goldstein says “this 26-year-old with cool intensity and piercing blue eyes carries some powerful moments” playing the estranged daughter of Christopher Walken in “The Opportunists” and Richard Gere’s estranged daughter in “Autumn in New York.”
The slender, loose-limbed, 5-foot-6-inch actress admits to having enjoyed working with both Messrs. Walken and Gere. She recently told Aaron Dalton of SOMA magazine that the role in “The Opportunists” also restored “the childish fun of going into a treasure chest and picking out costumes and play-acting – I haven’t had so much fun in a long time.”
The full range of Ms. Farmiga’s thespian talents will come to light in three new movies and a television film due to come out next year. Co-starring with Robert De Niro and Edward Burns in the New Line Cinema production “Fifteen Minutes,” scheduled for release this coming February, Ms. Farmiga plays a young Czech immigrant who witnesses a crime and falls for the investigator (Burns). In Gregory Pritikin’s romantic comedy “Dummy,” she co-stars with Adrien Brody and Milla Jovovich as the girl in the dreams of a socially inept fellow (Brody), who takes up ventriloquism to win her love. She appears with Joseph Fiennes and Adrian Lester in the independent movie “Dust,” filmed in Germany, and co-stars with Miranda Richardson and Tom Irwin in ABC’s new interpretation of the classic tale “Snow White.”
Born in New Jersey in 1974, Ms. Farmiga was raised in a strict Ukrainian Catholic home by her parents, Michael and Luba Farmiga, and did not speak English until she was 6 years old. She was a member of the Plast Ukrainian Scouting Association and attended folk dance camps and workshops run by Roma Pryma Bohachevsky and the Syzokryli Ukrainian Dancers of New York. Mrs. Bohachevsky remembers Ms. Farmiga as a very talented, diligent student and an expressive dancer, and Syzokryli members recall her as a wonderful dancer and a wonderful person – the type that everyone enjoyed being around.
Ms. Farmiga planned on becoming an optometrist, but a stroke of fate intervened during her high school years. Benched from her soccer team because she lacked the requisite medical forms needed to play, she turned to acting and gave a performance in the melodrama “Vampire” that led her into Syracuse University’s acting program.
She has appeared in several Broadway and off-Broadway productions, and starred as a Celtic warrior in the Xena-style television series “Roar” on Fox TV. In recent months, as her star began to shine, she has been the subject of several interviews and feature stories, like Guy Trebay’s colorful essay in The New York Times on the filming of the movie “Dummy” in Whitestone, Queens. (Most stories note her Ukrainian identity, some delve into details of her Ukrainian upbringing.) Last month, in a tip of the hat to the Guggenheim Museum’s exhibition of designer Giorgio Armani’s creations, Interview magazine ran a spread showing Ms. Farmiga and six hot models, singers and TV actors in Armani fashions.
When she’s not on location or involved in photo shoots, Ms. Farmiga can be found leading the simple life at her upstate New York farm with her husband, Scottish-French actor Sebastian Roche, who was her co-star in “Roar.”