Vera Farmiga found out this morning that she had received an Emmy nomination in the category of Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama for her role as Norma Bates, the matriarch of A&E’s Psycho prequel Bates Motel. But there’s no point asking Farmiga about her chances of beating the likes of Claire Danes (who was nominated in the same category for her performance in Homeland), Robin Wright (House of Cards), or Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men). “I can’t answer that question,” she says. “I have never seen an episode of any of them. Shame on me. But I’m just too busy!”
You can say that again. The mother of two young children has just finished shooting The Judge alongside Robert Downey Jr. and also stars as real-life paranormal investigator Lorraine Warren in director James Wan’s new horror film The Conjuring, which opens tomorrow.
Below, Farmiga talks more about her nomination, the second season of Bates Motel, and the likelihood of her returning for the already-in-development Conjuring 2.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Where are you and how did you find out about the Emmy nomination?
VERA FARMIGA: My husband watched it live online and I was awakened with coffee and the good news. He’s my biggest fan and he was really rooting for this to happen. I have to tell you, this was a really interesting experiment. I didn’t really campaign for this one. Not a lot. I did about three interviews. I know how hard I worked and I know how challenged I was and I know the input into this characterization — just psychically, spiritually, emotionally, physically — for me. And it was interesting, I didn’t do much campaigning. I can see the women that did. And I was wondering if that was going to play out. It was my little experiment.
And I’m in Vancouver in preproduction on round 2 for Bates.
Aha! So please tell us what’s going to happen in the next season.
I can’t, but it’s crazy! It’s crazy! I just read the first three episodes and the roster of things for me to do blows me away. I am so challenged by this role and terrified. If you told me this is what I would get to execute as an actress… It’s just really really wild what they’ve written. Kerry Ehrin, Carlton Cuse (Bates Motel executive producers), they’re two lunatic composers and they continue to write dissonant, crazy melodies for me to play. I’m psyched.
Can you say anything about the direction Norma is headed this season?
Well, I think she’s on the search still for stability and happiness and contentment and until now she’s only found them in the dictionary. And also, I think what’s key for her is the acknowledgement that, you know, her child has a mental illness. And no parent can utter those words without their spirit imploding.
It was confirmed this week that New Line is already developing a sequel to The Conjuring. Have you heard anything about that?
I haven’t, just hearsay. There’s nothing scheduled for me. I know that contractually [laughs] New Line has me. And Patrick [Wilson] and I are so game to do round 2. I love working with him. I love these characters. I love embodying Lorraine Warren. And so that will be great if it happens, fingers crossed.