TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (0)
|Also Known As:||Mira Katherine Sorvino||Died:|
|Born:||September 28, 1967||Cause of Death:|
|Birth Place:||Tenafly, New Jersey, USA||Profession:||actor, producer, production assistant, casting director, script reader, documentarian, assistant director, tutor, bartender, showroom model, waitress|
Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY
Despite her sex-symbol good looks, Mandarin-speaking Harvard graduate Mira Sorvino has demonstrated the unpretentious heart of a character actor inherited from her father Paul, whose resume includes critically-acclaimed turns in Martin Scorsese's "GoodFellas" (1990) and Oliver Stone's "Nixon" (1995, as Henry Kissinger) among his many roles. Adept at assuming accents, hair colors and varied ethnic identities, this bright, naturally brunette Italianate beauty received her first substantial exposure on film as an enigmatic, aristocratic Spanish translator in "Barcelona" (1994), Whit Stillman's thoughtfully comic talkfest. She entered the mainstream later that same year playing the Jewish intellectual wife of Rob Morrow in Robert Redford's "Quiz Show." Redford had first became aware of the young performer in Rob Weiss' "Amongst Friends" (1993), a highly regarded independent feature shown in competition at the Sundance Film Festival. Starting out as third assistant director on that project, she graduated to casting director and finally the lead femme role of the modest drama about well-to-do suburban Jews who fall into lives of crime, ultimately receiving credit as associate producer.Sorvino had appeared...
Despite her sex-symbol good looks, Mandarin-speaking Harvard graduate Mira Sorvino has demonstrated the unpretentious heart of a character actor inherited from her father Paul, whose resume includes critically-acclaimed turns in Martin Scorsese's "GoodFellas" (1990) and Oliver Stone's "Nixon" (1995, as Henry Kissinger) among his many roles. Adept at assuming accents, hair colors and varied ethnic identities, this bright, naturally brunette Italianate beauty received her first substantial exposure on film as an enigmatic, aristocratic Spanish translator in "Barcelona" (1994), Whit Stillman's thoughtfully comic talkfest. She entered the mainstream later that same year playing the Jewish intellectual wife of Rob Morrow in Robert Redford's "Quiz Show." Redford had first became aware of the young performer in Rob Weiss' "Amongst Friends" (1993), a highly regarded independent feature shown in competition at the Sundance Film Festival. Starting out as third assistant director on that project, she graduated to casting director and finally the lead femme role of the modest drama about well-to-do suburban Jews who fall into lives of crime, ultimately receiving credit as associate producer.
Sorvino had appeared on TV in the short-lived syndicated teen serial "Swan Crossing" (1992) and on the daytime drama "Guiding Light" (CBS) but rejected a three-year contract on the latter in hopes that better opportunities lay just ahead. She had also starred in a Susan Seidelman-directed short ("The Dutch Master") and portrayed a modern-day Mary in another irreverent short, "The Second Greatest Story Ever Told" (both 1993), prior to her breakout year 1995, which saw her demonstrate her chameleon-like capabilities and versatility in a variety of roles. She won acclaim as a 19th Century Brazilian-born plutocrat who marries an impoverished Englishman in the TV adaptation of Edith Wharton's "The Buccaneers" (shown on PBS' "Masterpiece Theatre") and also appeared briefly as a blonde in the improvisational film "Blue in the Face," jointly helmed by Wayne Wang and Paul Auster. Her real coup that year, though, was her star-making, Oscar-winning portrayal as a bleached-blonde, foul-mouthed, squeaky-voiced prostitute who had given up a child for adoption in Woody Allen's romantic comedy "Mighty Aphrodite." Sorvino also acted in the forgettable "New York Cop" and starred in the much better independent features "Tarantella" (as an Italian-American photographer confronting her ethnic identity following her mother's death) and "Sweet Nothing," playing the loyal but co-dependent wife of Michael Imperioli's crack-addicted Wall Street broker.
Sorvino subsequently portrayed Matt Dillon's long-suffering bulimic girlfriend in Ted Demme's ensemble comedy "Beautiful Girls" (1996) and earned an Emmy nomination that year for her turn as Marilyn Monroe in the HBO biopic "Norma Jean and Marilyn" (Ashley Judd shared the title role essaying Norma Jean) before "Romy and Michele's High School Reunion" (1997) recalled her Oscar-winning part ("I'm not really a blonde bimbo, I just play one in the movies"). Sorvino next turned her attention to genre fare, first starring as the brilliant entomologist whose mutant creations threaten NYC in Guillermo Del Toro's sci-fi horror thriller "Mimic" (1997), then teaming with Hong Kong action icon Chow Yun-Fat for some kung fu fighting in "The Replacement Killers" (1998), a disappointing Westernization of Chow's Hong Kong oeuvre. She found time to give a strong performance opposite Harvey Keitel in the meandering art film "Lulu on the Bridge," Auster's solo directing debut, and to play Death alluringly for Korean director Wonsuk Chin's quirky, cross-cultural "Too Tired to Die" (both 1998). Mainstream audiences got to see her as Val Kilmer's love interest in Irwin Winkler's schmaltzy "At First Sight" (1999), another movie based on the writings of Dr. Oliver Sachs. She also acted in that year's "Summer of Sam," Spike Lee's disco-era drama about a punk rocker nearly murdered by friends who suspect him of being the serial killer Son of Sam.
In 2002, Sorvino portrayed Dina in the Tim Blake Nelson Holocaust drama "Grey Zone," followed by a costarring role alongside Mariah Carey in the female mafia crime feature "Wisegirls." She then donned period garb as Fanny, the feisty wife of Jeff Daniels' Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, in Ron Maxwell's "Gettysburg" prequel, "Gods and Generals." Sorvino rounded out the year starring in two features, "Semana Santa," a crime thriller in which she played an American detective sent to Spain to investigate a double murder during Easter week, and "Between Strangers," a heartfelt drama about three women (Sorvino, Sophia Loren and Deborah Kara Unger) fighting personal demons and confronting crises with the respective men in their lives. After playing Leo's ex and the only woman who ever slept with Will on an episode of "Will & Grace" (NBC, 1998- ), she starred opposite Robin Williams in "Final Cut" (2004), an abysmal futuristic thriller that dared to show her and Williams making out in bed.
Sorvio next starred in the Lifetime miniseries, "Human Trafficking" (2005), a sobering look at the international sex-trade and its impact on the United States. She played a rookie vice squad detective who joins U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to go undercover as a Russian mail-order bride in order to snare a deadly New York crime lord (Robert Carlyle). Sorvino earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television. She wrapped out 2005 filming "Robert Ludlum's Covert One: The Hades Factor" (CBS, 2006), a made-for-TV spy thriller about an elite operative unit sent to investigate the source of a deadly virus threatening to kill millions.
Filmographyclose complete filmography
CAST: (feature film)
Milestones close milestones
How an early reading of Irving Stone's "The Agony and the Ecstacy" affected her take on sexuality: "In it Michelangelo is described as being bisexual. I thought, Oh I could understand that. What if you just fell in love with somebody who was of your same gender? It's not something you can help. Having an attraction for someone is ineluctable.
"I honestly have not been attracted to women, but I thought it would be possible because of that book. I could imagine that some person would walk into my life one day that I'd fall in love with, and it would be a woman. As a teenager I used to worry about it because I thought it would be a big problem for my family and confusing for me. I used to be very fond of people on a platonic level to the point where I'd wonder, Is this love ... sexual? But it never had a physical correspondence. I know now I'm pretty damned heterosexual. It's not hard to fall for men. It's actually alarmingly easy." --Mira Sorvino The Advocate, April 2, 1996.
"My father did not want me to be a child actor, did not want me to audition for things. I was actually offered a part by Diane Ladd to play her daughter on a television series but my father wouldn't let me. I'm glad about that now because I had a normal childhood, I had a lot of chances to try and do other things and Harvard was like an extended version of that. Then I could go and see whether acting was for me or maybe just a childish notion." --Sorvino quoted in Empire, July 1998,
"Marlon Brando once said to me, 'Some people act in order to escape what they are; that is not the case with you. You act to become more of what you are. You act because you cannot be all the things you are in life.' I think that was an astute observation; I don't look to escape myself, I look to distill certain aspects of myself in uncut form as a character. All of my characters are me, just little pieces of me." --Sorvino To Reel.com, May 29, 2002
"I was too tall in high school. At 13, I was 5'9-the tallest kid in my class. I'd walk down the halls feeling like a giraffe. Being famous is like being too tall in high school, Sometimes I feel that way even today. it's not that big a problem. i'm not phobic or anything. But, if I look back, there were times when it was difficult for me to behave the right way."-Sorvino on fame Movieline October 2002
Companions close complete companion listing
Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.Click here to contribute