‘The Many Saints of Newark’ star Vera Farmiga talks about climbing inside the mind of Livia Soprano, bonding with Michael Gandolfini, and more

Two decades ago, a twentysomething Vera Farmiga auditioned for a role on The Sopranos. She didn’t watch the show at the time, because she couldn’t afford cable and also liked to spend her Sunday nights studying lines for Monday morning’s auditions. But she knew the series was a big deal, and she had a good relationship with its casting directors, Georgianne Walken and Sheila Jaffe. They brought her in during the groundbreaking HBO Mob drama’s fourth season to read for the role of Valentina La Paz, the wiseguy Ralphie Cifaretto’s mistress, who would eventually be seduced away by Tony Soprano himself.

She did not get the part.

“I remember it being very quiet in the room,” says Farmiga, “and I remember [Sopranos creator] David Chase just staring at me. I didn’t know if I killed it or they were lukewarm. I couldn’t discern it. Obviously, I didn’t kill it. It just wasn’t my time. Or maybe I sucked, I don’t know! God, even then it was regarded as the best TV show. Getting the role, Jesus, that would have been something.”

Things would work out OK for Farmiga. At 48, she is well-established as one of the best and most versatile actors working today, from her Oscar-nominated breakout role in Up in the Air through her job as one of the stars of the Conjuring horror mega-franchise. And now, the Jersey native has finally gotten a chance to join the Sopranos family in a very different capacity: In the prequel film The Many Saints of Newark, she plays the middle-aged version of Tony’s controlling mother, Livia, who was famously brought to life in the series by Nancy Marchand.

“It’s particularly chuckle-worthy that eventually I got young Livia instead,” Farmiga observes. “His mom! Totally different kind of affair!”

Farmiga spoke with Rolling Stone from Toronto — where she’s filming the Apple TV+ miniseries Five Days at Memorial — about her Sopranos education, what her pandemic year was like, and her penchant for playing monstrous onscreen moms.

Read the full interview/article in our press library.

September 6, 2021 Claudia Leave a Reply

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