Interviewed by: n/a
Source: Vanity Fair
Vera Farmiga wasnât supposed to direct âHigher Groundâ, a film premiered and acclaimed at this yearâs Sundance festival. The actress, who made an impact in the 2006 Scorsese thriller, âThe Departedâ, and won an Oscar nomination in 2010 for her performance in âUp in the Airâ, was brought into the project to play its main character, Corinne Walker. As the script went through one draft after another, Farmiga found herself committed not just to the story but to how it should be told. âThe topic,â she says, âthe struggle with spirituality, is something that is not often addressed. I could see it as a feature, putting a magnifying glass to this woman and her life transitions, those moments when we need to remove ourselves from our families, from our deity, to experience solitudeâand within that solitude you choose growth.â
Based on a memoir by Carolyn S. Briggs called This Dark World, the project stalled, unfinanced, just at the point Farmiga found she was pregnant and would have nine months of downtime. âI felt the conviction,â she explains. âWhat I wanted to bring to it was music. I wanted to explore it with lightness and humor. My manager said, âJust take control. You tell the story.â â
And, boy, did she. In her dual role as director and lead actress, Farmiga has brought together a dream cast of actorâs actors. She also debuts her 16-year-old sister, Taissa Farmigaââblatant nepotism,â Vera admitsâwho plays the young Corinne with lovely quiet and a luminous gaze. Faith demands that we close our eyes in prayer, but what if your eyes keep opening? Farmiga has looked at âthis dark worldâ and made a movie full of light.