We talk to Vera Farmiga about working with Clooney, living far away from Hollywood and about sometimes wanting to give it all up to become a shepherdess.
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White shirt, Farmiga’s own. Shoes, Salvatore Ferragamo. 357 N. Rodeo Dr., Beverly Hills, 310-273-9990. Earrings, Mish. mishnewyork.com
IT ISN’T EASY to steal a scene from George Clooney but Vera Farmiga managed to do just that in the Oscar-nominated film Up in the Air. The actress with the piercing, icy-blue gaze had everyone buzzing about her sexy, layered performance and palpable chemistry with Hollywood’s favorite leading man. And yet Farmiga is no “regular” movie star. She lives with her husband, Renn Hawkey, and one-year-old son, Fynn, in upstate New York, raises goats and enjoys the countryside. We sat down with the Academy Award nominee to talk about working with Clooney, living far away from Hollywood and about sometimes wanting to give it all up to become a shepherdess.
LOS ANGELES CONFIDENTIAL: When you were making Up in the Air, did you have any idea it would strike such a chord with people?
VERA FARMIGA: Honestly, when I was making it I felt up in the air myself. I had just given birth, and after you give birth, you feel very much like when a whirling dervish stops spinning. I was just grateful to be able to work—and to be part of a piece with Jason Reitman and Clooney. We came to the set, and we had a blast. It was such a happy, joyful moment in my life, and I came to work every day to a fictitious romance with Clooney.
Right. Not bad.
What attracted me to the script were the questions it asked. It’s a story that is asking, bottom line, what is important—who and what are important in our lives. It was exhilarating and fulfilling to work on.
What I loved about your character is she’s the sort of woman we all want to be. She’s cool, she’s aloof and sexy. Was she fun to play?
She is someone who is, on the outside, quite buttoned up—who lies and who is very secure, very sensual, very in touch with her femininity and her sexuality and unapologetically so. But it’s just a façade, and at the end of the film that sort of dissipates. What interests me about the characters I take on is their imperfections.
Let’s talk about this awards season. You’ve received several nominations, including an Oscar nom—how has that experience been?
When I’m at home I wear steel-toe boots and Carhartts. I live in the country. So for me to dress up is a wonderful departure from my everyday life. I love fashion. I love dresses. It’s good fun. I’m so proud to be part of that film, and the best thing about it is celebrating something I’m proud of.
What does your Oscar nomination mean to you?
I am baffled by it and extremely grateful. Of course a pat on the back saying job well done is incredible, and I feel that I’ve already received that. The whole thing makes me nervous. At the moment my mind is on decompressing, recalibrating and cherishing my husband and my son.
PHOTOGRAPH BY JEFF VESPA
Makeup by Jillian Dempsey for The Wall Group
Hair by Jonathan Hanousek for Exclusive Artists Management