Magazine articles about actress Vera Farmiga, who this month costars as George Clooney’s gal pal in Up in the Air, inevitably begin by describing the small herd of Nubian and Angora goats -- she owns four of the critters -- that reside at her upstate New York homestead. Not this time, however. We’d much rather lead with her most engaging facial feature: her eyes.
“They’re beautiful, just beautiful,” says Martin Scorsese, who cast her in his Oscar-¬winning film The Departed, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, and Jack Nicholson. “She has an angularity to her face, and the line of her body is quite unique, but it’s especially her eyes. Her eyes really tell the story.”
Yes, a Farmiga performance is all about that vision thing, as was her childhood; as an aspiring optometrist as a youngster, she literally prayed for bad eyesight and then collected different styles of glasses until undergoing LASIK surgery later in life.
Farmiga herself describes her eye color as “blue, light blue,” though they vacillate between gray, green, and azure, depending on the light. “In daylight, they’re quite blue,” she continues, “but get me on a black soundstage with a really poor cinematographer and a bad lighting designer, and I can have very blanched, gray eyes.” So varied are the emotions they convey that director Rod Lurie, who cast Farmiga as an outed CIA agent in last year’s Nothing but the Truth, enthuses, “She has eyes that you can shoot an entire movie around.”