We fell in love with her onscreen alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon in "The Departed," and she sealed the deal as George Clooney's love interest in "Up in the Air." Now, Vera Farmiga is showing off her impressive acting skills again in director Duncan Jones' time-travel thriller "Source Code."
And while the film is jam-packed with action for co-stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Michelle Monaghan, Farmiga is challenged to remain within some very real constraints -- a uniform and mainly as a talking head on a small monitor.
Farmiga chatted with StyleList about her challenges for this role, her feelings on plastic surgery and how her ethnicity influences her fashion choices.
StyleList: The premise of the movie -- traveling back into a dead person's last eight minutes -- is a bit fantastic. What about the plot and your character, Captain Goodwin, appealed to you?
Vera Farmiga: I'm not usually drawn to that (type of) character and its limitations. If you're limited in certain ways, you find other ways to maneuver. This was a real interesting acting challenge.
StyleList: Actors act with their bodies as well as their faces, but in this film you're mainly seen on a small monitor, so it really had to be on your face...
V.F.: It was all about ocular movements. It forces you to be really precise. It's a really good exercise -- the exercise of subtlety and subtext and finding the character not in the written lines but what's unspoken -- in between the lines.
StyleList: You had an entire movie of close-ups. How did you prepare for this?
V.F.: There was definitely a makeup adjustment after a couple of days. When I realized how I was going to be filmed, I made sure there were a couple more coats of mascara than intended.
StyleList: Let's talk about your skin. What's your regular skin-care routine? What are the products you swear by?
V.F.: I find that the creams don't do it for me. I use oils and it's usually a rose oil. Josie Maran makes this oil that is sublime. It just goes into your skin, it doesn't sit on top of it like other oils might. Josie Maran has a beautiful argan oil that is salvation for me. And water, just drinking water. Arcona makes a scrub, too, that is pomegranate or blueberry. (Editor's note: It's cranberry.)
StyleList: You have the piercing blue eyes and the face. You've been cited as one of the most expressive faces working in Hollywood. Chelsea Handler has famously said she is against Botox and plastic surgery because she uses her face and needs her expressions in her act. How do you feel about plastic surgery or Botox?
V.F.: At the moment, I'm not a believer in it. I really do work with my cinematographer and opt for lighting -- you can achieve magnificent things with lighting. I have a face that I think can go in many directions and I do think lighting is key.
I think if you are happy, then your face will produce happy lines instead of frown lines. I genuinely love laugh lines on a women's face as she ages. That's a measure of a good life -- a joyful life. The moment you take that away, the moment you inject that and smooth it out, that's erasing emotion.
I understand if you've had a really piss-poor life and have had a lot of anger and sadness and your face reflects it. I get why you want to erase that. I don't judge it.
Honestly, there are a lot of blood vessels that I need zapped at the moment from pushing (Farmiga gave birth in November 2010 to her second child). I probably spend 20 minutes more in the makeup chair getting ready for press conferences. When I find time for myself, I will go and have these blood vessels zapped, and I think it's fine.
If you want people to connect with you on an emotional level, then your face is going to have to move, and you're going to have to frown once in a while.
StyleList: What is your personal style in your daily life? Are there designers that you like? Are there looks that you rely on?
V.F.: I'm a YSL girl, I really am. I'm pretty classic and elegant, never trendy. I can be inconsistent. I can be pretty schizophrenic. My Ukrainian, bohemian, folkloric heritage will enter the equation time and again.
StyleList: And what does that bring? I feel ruffles or maybe embroidery?
V.F.: Embroidery. There will be hints of my Slavic heritage that I'll toss in. That entered into the equations at the Independent Spirit Awards, when I chose more of a bohemian kind of peasant look.
StyleList: Who is on your wish list of leading men? Who is next?
V.F.: John Hawkes. (Farmiga's co-star in her directorial debut, "Higher Ground.")
Farmiga can be seen in theaters with Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan and Jeffrey Wright in "Source Code," starting this Friday, April 1.
And check out a gallery of the actress's style evolution here.