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What you should know about Vera Farmiga

Learn about the career of one of the stars of ”The Departed”

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AGE 33

As a police psychiatrist in Martin Scorsese’s The Departed, the actress trades strong words — and a few kisses — with both Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio. Farmiga first met the filmmaker when she auditioned for Bringing Out the Dead. ”Patricia Arquette ended up getting that part,” she says, ”but there was a real ease between us. The next thing I know” — well, okay, seven years later — ”Marty calls me on my cell phone about rehearsals on The Departed.”

Farmiga has acted on stage since the mid-’90s but made her feature debut in 1998’s Return to Paradise and turned heads when she won Best Actress from the L.A. film critics last year for the tiny indie Down to the Bone. Still, she’s happy to remain anonymous. ”I never get recognized. Ever. It’s because I never look the same.” She laughs. ”Actually, I have been recognized quite a bit — but it’s always as Claire Forlani or Patricia Arquette or Cate Blanchett.”

The second of seven siblings from a big Ukrainian family, the Syracuse grad is a Jersey girl — but she didn’t speak English till age 6. ”Ukrainian was my first language,” she says. ”I’m still proficient. I just came back from Kiev. I was there for the 20th anniversary of Chernobyl.”

Four indies — Quid Pro Quo, In Tranzit, Joshua, and Never Forever — and Anthony Minghella’s Breaking and Entering, scheduled to open the same day as The Departed. She giggles: ”I’m losing track!”