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Creator / Vera Farmiga

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"There are women who make things better, there are women who change things, there are women who make things happen, who make a difference. I want to be one of those women."

Vera Ann Farmiga (/fɑrˈmiːɡə/; born August 6, 1973 in Clifton, New Jersey) is a American actress and film director of Ukrainian descent.

Farmiga found her way into acting during her junior year of high school, after being benched during a soccer game and subsequently convinced by a friend to audition for the school play. She won the leading role. Now bitten by the acting bug, she earned her BFA in theatre from Syracuse University in 1995, and two years later made her screen debut opposite Heath Ledger in the TV series Roar.

She made her feature film debut in the 1998 drama thriller Return to Paradise and subsequently worked consistently in Hollywood, with 2004 indie drama Down to the Bone proving a breakthrough performance for her. She went on to feature in the 2006 crime thriller The Departed, directed by none other than Martin Scorsese, which only increased her profile, and earned critical acclaim for both that film and her leading role in the 2008 historical drama The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.

Farmiga finally broke into the mainstream when she gained critical acclaim following her performance as businesswoman Alex Goran in the 2009 comedy-drama Up in the Air, for which she was nominated for a slate of awards, including an Academy Award, a BAFTA Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Supporting Actress. While her profile had been steadily increasing since Down to the Bone, this was the film that brought her into the mainstream and got her recognition as one of Hollywood's most gifted actresses.

She made her directorial debut in the 2011 drama film Higher Ground; the film earned critical praise for both her performance and her directing. Incidentally, it also launched the career of her much-younger sister, Taissa.

In 2013 she made her debut as famous paranormal investigator Lorraine Warren in the 2013 horror film The Conjuring, a role which she has continued to reprise throughout the franchise and which put her on the map as one of the best horror actresses in Hollywood.

From 2013 to 2017, she starred as Norma Louise Bates in the A&E TV series Bates Motel, for which she won the 2014 Saturn Award for Best Actress on Television, and was nominated for the 2013 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.

She was married to Sebastian Roché from 1997 to 2004. Since 2008, she has been married to rock band Deadsy member Renn Hawkey, with whom she has two children — son Fynn and daughter Gytta.

Actress Taissa Farmiga is her younger sister.

Selected filmography:

She provides examples of:

  • The Cast Showoff: She's an excellent pianist, something which is shown off in, among other things, Bates Motel, Orphan and At Middleton.
  • Doing It for the Art: She vastly prefers independent films to studio pictures, finding that the latter often give less scope for character exploration and development, but has kept doing studio films so she can afford to do indies. Even with studio films, she refuses to take roles she can't absolutely commit to.note 
    Vera: I look for struggle in the roles I choose – struggle and perseverance.
  • Friendship on the Set: She and Patrick Wilson became fast friends on the set of The Conjuring and are still very close today, affectionally referring to each other as their "fake spouse".
  • Metal Head: She's a Iron Maiden fan and she also sings Iron Maiden song The Trooper with her friend Scott Ian of Anthrax playing Guitar. She also sings Black Sabbath song War Pig and Slipknot song Duality.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Many of her roles qualify as this, as she has no problem getting her kit off on camera. Even Lorraine Warren gets to swan around in gorgeous (albeit modest) vintage outfits. (She did, however, use a body double for her nude scene in Up in the Air, as she'd just had a baby and was still nursing.)
  • Practically Different Generations: She's 21 years older than her sister and fellow actress Taissa. Taissa has even played Vera's daughter in At Middleton.
  • Real-Life Relative:
    • Her sister Taissa played the younger version of Vera's character in Higher Ground, her character's daughter in At Middleton and played Sister Irene in The Nun.
    • Her son, Fynn Hawkey, played Baby Abigail in Higher Ground, which her husband Renn was also a producer on.
  • Star-Making Role: The Departed got her noticed, but it was Up in the Air that put her on the map as one of the best and most versatile actresses in Hollywood.
  • Those Two Actors: Seems to be developing into this with close friend Patrick Wilson, having done four installments and counting of the Conjuring series with him, as well as the unrelated film The Commuter.