The article was posted in February 2022.
The actor explains how being the youngest of seven Farmiga children prepared her for Gladys Russell on the HBO ‘Downton Abbey’ spinoff.
Taissa Farmiga grew up on Ryan Murphy and Brad Fulchak’s FX horror series American Horror Story, but because of its anthology nature, she never got the chance to play the same character over the course of a multi-season arc. Nearly 11 years after her first foray into television, the New Jersey native is finally in a position to play the same character for many seasons on Julian Fellowes’ Downton Abbey spinoff prequel, The Gilded Age. Set in 1880s New York City, Farmiga plays 17-year-old Gladys Russell, who’s ready to make her debut in society, but her “new money” family — namely her mother Bertha Russell (Carrie Coon) — refuses to compromise on the matter until the circumstances are just right. For Farmiga, the chance to evolve with Gladys is something she couldn’t resist, especially in a world that is so far removed from her past work.
“I’ve never gone with one character to a subsequent season and lived out that arc,” Farmiga tells The Hollywood Reporter. “When I did American Horror Story, I did season one, and then I wasn’t there for season two. And then I went back for season three as a different character. So what I’m most excited for, right now, is to see how Gladys evolves in season two.”
Besides the Marvel Cinematic Universe, an argument can be made that the Conjuring franchise is the second-most successful cinematic universe at the moment. Farmiga’s older sister Vera, alongside James Wan and Patrick Wilson, set the franchise in motion with 2013’s The Conjuring, the first of eight films (and counting). But to many people’s surprise, the youngest Farmiga’s The Nun (2018), directed by Corin Hardy, actually has the franchise’s best outing at the box office with $363 million. While the development on a sequel seems to have slowed in recent years, Farmiga indicates that there’s been movement in the last year.
“There have definitely been whisperings and talks in the last year, but the pandemic has obviously affected everything including filming and such,” Farmiga shares. “So I heard mentions of it back in the fall, maybe, and there were talks of potentially trying to see what my availability was. But I also haven’t seen a script. So I haven’t heard anything definitive or anyone say, ‘Hey, this is going.’ So I don’t know, but I would love to go back and visit Sister Irene. It’s been years.”
In a recent conversation with THR, Farmiga also explains how being the youngest of seven Farmiga children prepared her for Gladys Russell. Then she looks back at her experience with Sofia Coppola on The Bling Ring set.
So The Gilded Age is a very different world and genre for you. Since actors are often categorized according to their past work, did you have to pursue this project at all?
I definitely had to audition and do my part and work for the opportunity. I was originally sent an old, old draft of the script and sides for the audition for the character of Marian [Louisa Jacobson]. So I was excited about the overall world and the idea of The Gilded Age being done by Julian Fellowes with HBO, and being set in a time period and a world that I’m not normally associated with. When I tried to do the audition for Marian, I didn’t really feel like I clicked with the character. I had a hard time in the self-tape audition. I just wasn’t feeling like I was doing a good job. I wasn’t feeling like I was understanding Marian. So I tried a couple of times, and I ended up getting something on tape and sent it off. I didn’t feel great about it, but it was alright. And then casting got back to my team and said, “Look, we really love her, but she just doesn’t feel right for Marian. Would you mind reading for Gladys?” And I was like, “Yeah, absolutely.” And immediately, I saw a lot of my young teenage self in Gladys and that desire to break free and find independence and experience the world through your own eyes, as opposed to the eyes of your family. So I auditioned for her, and I got the director session where I met up with [EP-Director] Michael Engler. And I remember being very, very nervous in the audition room, but Michael was very kind. And then he asked me, “Oh, do you have any sort of obsession with this time period? Do you love period dramas? You fall into it so easily.” So I kind of laughed and said, “No, I watch Rick and Morty and cartoons and comedies. It’s not really what I know.” But as an actor, it was a new opportunity, and I like to grow. It’s nice to push yourself, and this was a world that I wanted to push myself to experience.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter