up in the air vera farmiga interview

This weekend the talented Vera Farmiga will star opposite George Clooney in director Jason Reitman‘s latest film, Up in the Air. In the movie she plays Alex Goran, a successful and confident woman who complicates Clooney’s life in more ways than one. She’s a love interest who plays by her own rules, and makes men follow her and not the other way around.

She’s the latest in a string of female characters written by Reitman who thrives in what’s considered a “man’s world.” We recently spoke to Farmiga about playing such an alpha female, and she gave an interesting take on how she views the flawed yet human characteristics of Alex.

Check out more below…

Vera had the rare opportunity to play a female character who was in control of her romantic situation. Reitman is known for writing powerful female characters, and Up in the Air’s Alex is no different. Farmiga liked her tone and attitude and saw her flaws as strengths instead of a weaknesses.

I thought it was a really interesting portrayal of female desire that you don’t often get to see. Usually when a female character is so demanding in her sexuality and unapologetic she usually lacks some dignity. It was cool to see someone who’s completely self-possessed, had class, had depth and yet was operating in a very masculine way. From the start she set up her parameters and said these are the rules come in for the enjoyment of it and just think of me as yourself.

Alex isn’t your run of the mill career driven woman. She has multiple layers that are revealed to the audience in due time during the film.

This is a woman, complicated, complex has needs, and has certain desires. [I didn't want] to judge her actions but just embody her and make her as full bodied as possible and human. That’s what’s so incredible about Jason’s characters in all of his films thus far, you don’t necessarily like them or condone their behavior but they are utterly human, [with their] eccentricities and deficiencies and everything that makes us imperfect.

up in the air clooney farmiga

Even though so much can be said about the male-female dynamic in Up in the Air, Farmiga was actually attracted to an old fashioned convention that the movie has to offer.

I was initially attracted to the romance, I’m a sucker for a good old fashioned romance, and this one came disguised as a modern relationship. That’s what I was looking for, that twist and turn–I love twists and turns in films anyway as an audience member, when I look at it I can see them coming a mile away and I love being surprised. I love when characters and story lines take unexpected turns and that has to do with Jason being adamant about untidy resolutions and not making some sweeping statement, but asking questions.

In order to pull off the relationship between Alex and Ryan (George Clooney) the chemistry had to be there. It’s easy to think that any woman, dead or alive would be able to click with Clooney, and luckily the two actors hit it off from the very beginning.

I think it’s something you know immediately. I’m not sure what it has to do with, but it’s just the principle of adding baking soda and moisture and an acidic and then watching things explode when heat is added. It’s either there or it’s not and if it’s there you ride that wave. I know that Jason organized a table read and that’s when George and I met, and after that table read he canceled all further rehearsals and allowed us to just play it out on set.

Up in the Air hits theaters in limited release on December 4th, and wide on December 25th.

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