The One-Minute Interview with Vera Farmiga
Interviewed by: Andrew Richdale
She broke hearts in The Departed and Up in the Air, but Vera Farmiga can do more than play a witty man-eater. In her directorial debut, Higher Ground, an indie drama about Christian zealots in crisis, she proves she can make a damn fine movie, too.
GQ: You filmed Up in the Air right after having your first child, and you were five months pregnant during the filming of Higher Ground, your directorial debut. Fun?
Vera Farmiga: Never, never again. To be fair though, I’m invincible in my second trimester. My husband plans to keep knocking me up, so I better get used to it.
GQ: Your sister Taissa, a first-time actress, plays the teenage version of your character in the film, and you had to direct her in a sex scene. Awkward?
Vera Farmiga: That was the last thing we shot. It had to be treated very delicately because she was underage, soâ€”
GQ: Waitâ€”how young is she?
Vera Farmiga: Now she’s 16, but when we shot that, she was 15. And my mom, who is Ukrainian and Christian, had to give approval. So I had to change the script. [laughs] I changed the really sticky moments and made them super G-rated for her. Taissa is a really levelheaded, savvy kid, though. Like, beyond her years.
GQ: Your character has a complicated relationship with another lady. Does she swing both ways?
Vera Farmiga: You don’t have to be gay to be attracted to your friend. In the film, I’m trying to say questioning is not a bad thing. Just means your mind is at work.
GQ: I haven’t seen many movies about Evangelicals that have been this complimentary.
Vera Farmiga: Faith is important to me. I wanted to make sure the tone was reverent. I’m just someone who marvels at God. I grew up Catholic, but I’m very comfortable in all religions.
GQ: For someone who grew up Catholic, you seem awfully comfortable with sex.
Vera Farmiga: Catholics have genitals, too!