Vera Farmiga is not only a terrific actress, she's a woman of authority and no small self-discipline.
How does one know that? When I talked to her on the phone a couple of weeks ago, she admitted she still hadn't asked her talented "Source Code" director Duncan Jones about the most obvious fact of his biographical life: that David Bowie is his father.
"I never did," she laughed. "I get the feeling that children of famous people don't necessarily want to be asked about their parents. I know that many young people do ask them. I purposely didn't. Just today, we were sitting together and I thought I might and then I changed my mind. I've known children of famous parents. So I have an automatic respect for privacy. There were so many other things to talk about."
Jones, after all, is the reason the Oscar-nominated Farmiga (for "Up in the Air") took a part in "Source Code," which is pretty far from the actress who's been so impressive in movies such as "The Departed" and "Up in the Air." Being a hard-pants military type in crisp, be-ribboned uniform isn't exactly anyone's idea of a "Vera Farmiga" part.
"I actually had to convince myself this was something I wanted to do. The primary reason I wanted to do it was because I generally think Duncan Jones is pretty special. I loved 'Moon,' I really loved it. I thought [star] Sam [Rockwell] was shafted in award season last year. And I loved how quiet that film was, how stark it was. I loved the visual of it. It's a genre that I'm not compelled by, but the characters were compelling and I thought the ['Source Code'] script was as intricate a puzzle as 'Moon' was In the same way, 'Source Code' asks you to consider another philosophical idea. I just wanted to be a piece of that puzzle. You choose a role for different reasons. This one was to be in support of Duncan as a filmmaker."
And that, in Farmiga's case, is not empty rhetoric of the sort that comes under the heading of kneejerk publicity cant. She's not just an actress of charm and huge talent (see her next in "Henry's Crime," which was filmed in Buffalo, in part). Farmiga is also the director of a film called "Higher Ground" which has already received acclaim at Sundance and is scheduled for openings beginning in late August.
"I was attached to it as an actress for three years As for directing, financing finally came through. In the development of the story [about faith and doubt], I wanted to make sure that the tone was going to be done accurately, to make sure that a sense of humor entered in the development of the script. My sensibility. My personality. I just wanted to defend that so I volunteered to direct. We went to Sundance and got an incredible response, critically and from filmgoers."
So when a woman who's an actress and a director says she wants to support another director, she's not just making nicey-nicey publicity.
And, oh yes, there was one other reason why she made "Source Code," where, as a military officer, she is only seen in military uniform communicating with Gyllenhaal through computer from the solar plexus up.
She was quite pregnant when the film was made. To be seen through a whole movie only from the solar plexus up is a good strategy for a very pregnant actress.
Talk about the real Source Code.