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Mira Sorvino Retrospective

"I remember seeingTriumph of Lovein mid-2002 before its small Australian release and finding much to enjoy. Worth seeking out and a great part for Sorvino."- Steve G

"All the actors inRomy and Michele' make it look so easy that you don't notice how sophisticated the performances are. Every young actress who gets a role in a comedy should study it. It's a master class in character acting."-JF


Mira Sorvino(Hollywood)
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« Mira Sorvino Pt 2: A Mini Retrospective|Main|On the rise, fall, and general chaos of "Hamilton" as an Oscar contender. »
Jul 09 2020

Mira Sorvino Pt 1: On "Hollywood," "Badland" and "Waterlily Jaguar"

Sorvino in Waterlily Jaguarby Nathaniel R

The actress Mira Sorvino has been on our screens both large and small for nearly 30 years now. In the past few years the headlines came for speaking out about sexual harassment and her political activism. Now, with Ryan Murphy'sHollywoodcampaigning for Emmy nominations, and two recent indies available to stream (BadlandandWaterlily Jaguar), the focus is back where it originally began: her acting. We talked to her recently about her newest roles.

She can currently be seen as the co-lead of Melora Walters'Waterlily Jaguar."It's a really interestingart film about the complicated end of a relationship" she says describing the drama about an alcoholic novelist and his wife. While the movie is anguished by nature, Sorvino is a canny enough entertainer to know just when to liven the mood without betraying the tone, in this case with heartbreakingly forced cheer.

But among her recent projects it's Ryan Murphy's high profile mini-seriesHollywoodwhich has reminded the most people of her gift. Even, in a neat life-imitating-art parallel, of her Oscar win...

In the last episode of Hollywood, Mira's character Jeanne Crandall, presents Best Supporting Actress at the Academy Awards. It's hard not to be transported back to the actress's own Oscar win in the exact same category. We wondered if that was also true for the actress herself?

"Very surreal," Sorvino instantly says, recalling the memory-flood. "I told my co-star Laura Harrier [about my Oscar night]. I felt like Ifloatedup to the stage -- like my ballgown was lifting me." She pauses for a moment in the story, to laugh at her own reverie. "I don't know if she appreciated it."

She has much praise forHollywoodas a series, citing a welcoming set, and the craftsmen who had her "feeling transported to the 1940s" with costumes and sets. She took the divisive reviews in stride. "I think critics wanted it to be darker but it became so popular. It shows that we have the power as an audience. What do we want to see?"

Like her character in the series, Sorvino is a resilient actress and primed for a resurgence. In fact, she has a slew of projects in post-production for whenever Hollywood reopens. "I didn't make them all at once!"

You can read this busy schedule as indicative of revived interest in her talent but, in truth, the actress has never stopped working. Despite survivingsome of Hollywood's worst behaviorshe has a genuine positive outlook about showbiz, too. “I see change happening, decisions being made from people in power. I'm hopeful and optimistic."

Sorvino even finds a silver lining for movies themselves when it comes to this downtime.

“It’s an unintended consequence of COVID. Indies, likeWaterlily Jaguar, that might have sat around are now finding an audience,” she says. “TakeBadland. It was my first Western and it was a thrill to play Bruce Dern’s daughter. We went to #3 on Netflix with no fanfare!”

Sorvino mentioning a “first” this late in her career, came as a mild surprise to this moviegoer. Since her film debut, the crime dramaAmongst Friends(1993), she’s done almost every genre: comedies, drama, war films, action films, costume pictures, scifi horror, historical drama. The size of a film doesn’t matter to her either with big mainstream pictures and tiny art films peppered throughout the filmography. When asked about her versatility with genre-hopping, she shrugs if off with disarming humility “I think most actors can. We’re trained in everything.”

Those who’ve followed Sorvino onscreen, would surely agree that she’s downplaying her own nimble gift. Not to mention her adventurousness; I once sawan Asian art filmin which she spoke three languages (she's shocked that I've seen it and that I brought up!).

Sorvino’s long history of showbiz peaks and valleys adds an extra giddy fizz to her funniest moment inHollywood. In Rock Hudson’s memorably disastrous screen test she mimes hanging for dear life from the Hollywood sign for her nervous co-star.

This is the Hollywood sign. I'm sort of hanging on it. It's very very high"
Sorvino as Jeanne Crandall inHollywood

“Comedy is actually my favourite genre,” she confesses. “I love cracking people up.” This screen test scene was a stand out. “I hope they’ll release extra footage,” she says detailing the multiple takes. While the final scene's story focus is on Hudson's disastrous audition, Sorvino elevates the proceedings considerably with multiple bits of improv’ed physical comedy. Her character is trying desperately to help this novice actor ‘see’ the scene he’s playing.

“You know you’re doing something right when the crew is laughing,” Mira says, enjoying the memory. The episode’s director Janet Mock loved it, too, egging Sorvino on with one simple request:

"Do more of that!’'

Hollywoodthe series has wrapped but we hope Hollywood, the town, is ready to make the same request.

Inpart two of our interview, Mira programs her own mini-retrospective for you.

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Reader Comments (12)

Love her. Great in everything, and the best thing about Summer of Sam, a movie with a lot of great things going on in it.

July 9, 2020 |Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada


July 10, 2020 |Unregistered CommenterLola

Just your Part 1 reminder that Mira Sorvino is a well deserved Academy Award winning Actress.

July 10, 2020 |Unregistered CommenterNathaniel (ka)R(ma)

我记得她客人的角色将与优雅,she was very funny. She deserves better roles.

July 10, 2020 |Unregistered CommenterCafg

Love her in Mighty Aphrodite. Winglet would be my vote in 95, but she’s a very worthy winner.

July 10, 2020 |Unregistered CommenterShmeebs

MIGHTY APHRODITE is one of the missing pieces in my "Oscar-Nominated Actors Of The 90s"* checklist (and, unfortunately, in Australia at least, there's seemingly nowhere to see it for rent or streaming).

Loved her in del Toro's MIMIC, though.

July 10, 2020 |Unregistered CommenterTravis C

Where is the 1957 Smackdown???

July 10, 2020 |Unregistered CommenterSwikar

F*ck Weinstein for messing with her career. She is great. Should have won an Emmy for her Will and Grace spot too.

I'm ready for the Sorvino-ssance.

July 10, 2020 |Unregistered CommenterArlo

Travis C. I got Mighty Aphrodite from JB in a big Woody Allen boxset years ago in Australia. Was about as costly as getting the big Hitchcock boxset just for Shadow of a Doubt lol. (I never did seem to find the ex-rental copies when all the Video Ezy's were closing down)

July 10, 2020 |Unregistered CommenterM8

No Gwenyth Paltrow role after her Oscar win (maybe even her whole career) couldn't be done equally as well, if not better, by Mira Sorvino. I'll concede The Royal Tenenbaums, but no more.

Furthermore we wasted a Born Yesterday remake on Melanie Griffith, when fate could have waited a few years for Sorvino to be known enough to be considered.. The agony of it all.

July 10, 2020 |Unregistered CommenterLinda

She was hilarious as Diane on Will and Grace. Such great comic timing.

July 10, 2020 |Unregistered CommenterMichael R

将一个nd Grace episode is Top 10 entry. So hysterical.

It was lovely to see her in "Hollywood". I do hope they make more.

July 10, 2020 |Unregistered Commenterforever1267

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