16. Although Vera knows that The Departed got her into the public eye more than she ever had been before, she has a realistic idea of what the character was—that is, kind of flimsy. She told the New York Times, “There was no real personality to the character.” After principle photography wrapped, she talk to director Martin Scorsese about her concerns, and he agreed to reshoot and add more scenes in the name of making the character fuller. “It got better after that,” Vera said, “but the character is still more of a device than anything else.”
17. Much has been made about how narrowly defined roles for women of a certain age in Hollywood are—and it’s actually one of the reasons that she works primarily in independent films: She refuses to be pigeonholed. Given how astonishingly different she is in every movie she does, we think it’s a good choice to have made.
18. She also points out this little anecdote as another reason to stay away from Hollywood: In 2006, she appeared in a thriller called Running Scared. In one scene in the movie, Vera and Paul Walker’s character (they played husband and wife) have sex on a washing machine. For the film’s promotional website, the studio created an animated version of the scene that could be manipulated like some kind of weird-o video game. Said Vera about the incident, “Now you know why I prefer independent films…. It can be impossible to preserve a noble image in this industry. I gave them a very respectful portrait. It was reduced to pornography for the sake of marketing. And I thought it was shameful.”
19. It probably doesn’t come as a surprise, therefore, that Vera has consciously avoided moving to Hollywood, instead making her home in upstate New York. “It’s an olfactory thing,” she has said, stating that she needs “dense patches of green moss.” She adds, “Living where I do has always been a great vantage point for me. It allows me to live in a simple way where I don’t need to feel the pressure of taking this role or that role just in order to maintain the lease on my very expensive hot-rod car. There’s none of that.”
20. Vera gardens and keeps goats…
Above: Vera as Madolyn in The Departed.
Up next: The pet she REALLY wanted to get + more!