Vera Farmiga: Boundaries star talks working with Christopher Plummer on new movie
June 22, 2018
Article taken from Asbury Park Press.
“Boundaries,” a charming new road trip drama now playing in select cinemas, bears strong similarities to the life of its writer/director, Shana Feste.
But Feste, directing her fourth feature, by and large kept that factor away from the film’s stars: Oscar nominee Vera Farmiga as Laura, an idiosyncratic single mom with a passion for animal rescue, and Academy Award-winning cinema legend Christopher Plummer as Jack, Laura’s rascally, drug-dealing father.
“I didn’t talk a lot about my personal life, just because I didn’t want to ever have Christoper Plummer feeling like he couldn’t do what he does best,” Feste said, “or (me) being like, ‘No, no, no, that’s not how my dad would do it,’ or, ‘No, no, no, that’s not right, that’s not how you would say it.’
“I knew once I cast Vera and once I cast Chris, that I was in good hands. Like, they could take the roles and do what they wanted to do with them. You know, whatever was on the page was there and then the roles were there. I just was really, really nervous about limiting them by talking too much about my own personal experiences.”
Farmiga, an Oscar and Golden Globe nominee for “Up in the Air” (2009) and an Emmy nominee for “Bates Motel” (2013), said she wasn’t aware of the film’s autobiographical nature until she was told by Feste’s husband, “Boundaries” producer Brian Kavanaugh-Jones.
“It was never intended, I think Shana never maneuvered me into (playing her),” Farmiga said. “I mean, she was the life model for it, but it didn’t effect the way we approached the story and I think there was just no steering in that direction.”
Farmiga grew up in Irvington, Essex County, and in Flemington, Hunterdon County, where she graduated from Hunterdon Central Regional High School in 1991
Her inspirations for the relationship between Laura and Jack in “Boundaries,” she said, came from much closer to home.
“My compass was the experiences in my own life with certain loved ones that I’d tried to change,” she said, “and where I realized that I can’t quite do that.”
Feste assembled a robust ensemble for “Boundaries,” in keeping with the film’s loose travelogue structure. As Farmiga, Plummer and Lewis MacDougall as Laura’s son Henry hit the road, they cross paths with family members, Jack’s customers and other characters played by the likes of Christopher Lloyd, Peter Fonda, Bobby Cannavale and Kristen Schaal.
But throughout, the film is emotionally anchored by the bond between Farmiga and the iconic Plummer. Farmiga said her initial nerves were put to rest the first time she, Feste and Plummer met.
“I was really nervous to meet (Plummer),” Farmiga said. “You know, this is like I’ve been watching this guy since the ’70s. Every holiday and holy day, he was my surrogate dad, ‘Sound of Music.’ I’ve just been a tremendous fan.
“And you know, I get very shy but (it was) nothing that a bottle of Champagne that he cracked open on our first dinner date, just the three of us, couldn’t handle. And we just got deeply affectionate right away. (It was) very easy to get to know him. He’s got a level of openness and warm-heartedness and silliness with (which) he approaches everything, and I think so do I and so does Shana. It just was a breeze.”
Over the course of her accomplished career, Farmiga spent plenty of time working in blockbuster genre fare: She starred in A&E’s smash “Psycho” prequel series “Bates Motel” from 2013 to 2017, as well as in a pair of “The Conjuring” films (2013 and 2016). Next year she appears in “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.”
But she’s also no stranger to the art house, starting with her break-out performance in “Down to the Bone” and her own directorial debut, “Higher Ground” (2011) before “Boundaries.”
Farmiga said she doesn’t feel much difference between the two worlds.
“It’s the strangest thing, but whether it’s been television or whether it’s super low-budget or hundreds of thousands, millions of dollars thrown towards a film, the approach is always the same for me,” Farmiga said. “And honestly, the magnetism of who I’ve been fortunate enough to work with, the ethic, the style, the approach, the authenticity is always the same. So the only thing I really see the difference on is the size of my trailer and the taste of the coffee. That has just been my journey.”