21. …Although she REALLY wanted sheep. She even had one as a pet when she was a kid. Alas, there weren’t any available when she decide to get some grazers, so she went for her second choice instead.
22. She also spins wool in her spare time—even on set. Renn bought her a portable spinning-wheel that can fit in a backpack. “I clean the wool and spin it between scenes,” Vera once told the Telegraph. “You know, honestly, if I didn’t do what I do, I would be a shepherdess, and I would probably go back to college and get a horticulture degree.”
23. Of course, working primarily in indie films does have its drawbacks: One of her most important works, as the character of Irene in 2004’s critically-lauded Down to the Bone, never had more than a limited release in New York and LA. It did, however, win Best Director for Debra Granik (who would go on to direct Winter’s Bone) and the Special Jury Prize for Vera at Sundance that year.
24. One film she regrets not winning a part in: I’m Not There, Todd Haynes’ film about Bob Dylan. “This is what Cate Blanchett will win an Oscar for,” she said before the 2008 Academy Awards (although Cate actually lost to Tilda Swinton for Michael Clayton). “I lost the part to her.” But Vera is staying positive and looking ahead to the future: “Next time,” she continued. “It could be different next time.”
25. Wondering what Vera does with all the scripts sent to her that she loathes? She burns them. Pointing out a pile of ashes in the lands around her house, she told the New York Times, “This is where I burn the scripts. I stack up all those crass female characters, all those utterly ordinary women, all those hundreds and hundreds of parts that have no substance or meaning and turn them into a blazing pyre.” Why? “It’s really cathartic,” she explained. “It’s my revenge on Hollywood insensitivity and greed. The ashes go to the compost. At least the scripts can finally help the world in some way.” Ayyyyyy-men, sister!
Above: Vera as Elsa in The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (along with Amber Beattie and a very young Asa Butterfield, AKA Ender Wiggin in Ender’s Game).
Lucia Peters is BettyConfidential’s senior editor.
Photo 1: StarTraks Photo