The lovely, talented, truly inspiring Oscar winning actress, Mira Sorvino, stars as not-your-average CIA agent in a new hit streaming on STAN – spy thriller, Condor.
Speaking with her down the line, I was entranced by a superior individual I’ve admired an entire career. During our conversation, I adored her even more. We talked everything from her career, family, meeting her husband, retro favourite Romy and Michelle, to the amazing Bob Balaban.
Beyond that, we discuss the global #MeToo movement that Mira intimately knows all too well due to past associations with a certain sinister former studio head.
Have you ever been to Australia?
MS – Sadly no. I had the opportunity to go as a kid with family but was sick so stayed behind and always regretted it (laughs).
Condor – a topical show. What inspired you in the strong role as Marty?
MS – I worked with a guy who is Special Forces Black Operative, so I relied on whatever was asked of him. It was ingrained into her making her comparative while having a conscious of situations. Over time, that may have changed Marty. Significantly, her relationship with Bob Partridge (William Hurt) has changed her after a long running affair. He was a mentor then became a lover that he dumps suddenly shipping her off to a Saudi post for a few years. It broke her emotionally so you see Marty containing herself around him in the series remaining a strong adversary.
Will we see Marty take over Bob’s position?
MS – (laughs) Good question Shane, I cannot speculate on that. If he has a say, probably not (laughs).
How was performing that powerful dialogue with William Hurt?
MS – Wonderful scene partner, a good back-story helped too. Fantastic actor so felt alive and inspired with him although generally we are at loggerheads. There is one little tender flashback she is dreaming which was a totally different scene to play as opposed to the arguing.
Condor – full of conspiracy theories. Are there more stories to tell?
MS – Absolutely, more than just exploring the intelligence agency. We haven’t got to the executive government branch fully or talked about the President. Agendas all round are strong behind closed doors. What I love about the show is it makes you re-examine how you look at political agendas of government. Individual intentions can warp or completely change geo-politics in world history. It’s not the CIA or FBI that matter, it’s the select few at the top making decisions on how they feel is right – be it self serving or serving some ‘other’ cause. It’s powerful narrative.
TV is a solid medium, more than ever. What drew you to Condor?
MS – Writing good, I knew some of the cast already, everyone across the board, terrific. Knowing Brendan Fraser and William were doing it, Bob Balaban is truly incredible, I also got to know new collaborators. Jason Smilovic (writer), I know works hard to be impactful.
I certainly love Bob Balaban.
MS – I know right (laughs). It’s so funny, the other day my daughter was watching a ‘Friends’ re-run and Bob Balaban shows up as Phoebe’s father, we jumped up as one. He is so intense, serious in Condor. To see him goofy in Friends was truly a delight.
What is your secret balancing family/working?
MS – No secret, always a work in progress. As one of the great tortures of my life, I do find it very emotional leaving them behind sometimes when working. Just difficult to walk away from my kids to locations. That said, Condor – mostly shot in Toronto – my kids were with me most of the summer. One daughter did have to dance in New York but we all had little adventures in my time off set including white water tubing. Basically my directive is to be with the family as much as can be, I am basically a stay at home mum to gain maximum quality time.
Where did you meet your husband Christopher?
MS – We met at a friend’s house. Samantha, who I met when she worked at Giorgio Armani, she had a charades party at her house I attended. As did my husband, he went into the kitchen looking for silverware, I was in the kitchen looking for a margarita. We met, fell for each other, then spent almost every day together over a month, then got engaged. We didn’t tell anybody for a while because we knew consensus would be crazy (laughs). Actually Shane, we just celebrated our 14th anniversary of our legal marriage as we had two weddings. One privately in Santa Barbara to get the marriage license, then official family celebration a month later in Capri Italy. I’m excited he got cast in a very important guest role. Netflix production with a famous film director I can’t talk about (laughs). He is in a recent film I did, Beneath the Leaves, too.
Do you keep your (Mighty Aphrodite) Oscar in a special place?
MS – Just on my bedroom dresser, no wall mount or anything.
You have always been working on various projects. Union Square (2011) and At First Sight (1999) – two in particular I love.
MS – Yes have never stopped, just not at a higher level at times.
How do you choose a role?
MS – Need to be able to connect to the character in some way. I have turned down roles where a lot of money was involved but hated the character or relate so didn’t do it. Try not to repeat myself too much, accepting projects different to previous roles. For instance, I’m in season three of Start Up, playing an NSA agent in the opposite spectrum to Mary in Condor. She’s an odd woman, a weird bird. They are both unhappy I guess, but project different auras except for capturing criminals. A terrific show I was excited to do.
Do you have a preference for dramatic or comedy?
MS – You know what, prefer comedy but weirdly done far less of it, although it was my early success. I felt like I wanted to dive into the meaty dark side after that. Honestly looking over my career span, I’ve enjoyed comedic roles the most. Just wrapped a comedy literally the night before last for 20th Century Fox, Stuber, with Dave Bautista and Kumail Nanjiani. I am kind of the straight individual in it, I have some overtly funny moments. I love my work to make an audience laugh.
Will you be working with your dad (Paul) anytime soon?
MS – Not in the works right now but we still have a dream of doing his interpretation of King Lear, he wrote. Not sure when that may happen but working with him always a pleasure.
How does it make you feel, Romy and Michelle’s high school Reunion, is still quoted or adored so much?
MS – Really touches me, something I have done has had an enduring impact. I feel that film, out of all the things I have ever done, gains the most renaissance to people or archetypal and remembered from all generations or genders. It seems to talk to people about friendships and life, about being enough within yourself.
With the #MeToo #TimesUp movement, I would like to congratulate you on what you’re doing at the moment Mira.
MS – Oh thank you Shane, it’s been heavy stuff. Hard year emotionally but I am proud to be standing with my sisters, brothers across the world. Trying to stop sexual violence, harassment, misconduct, so if we can action an end to it or somehow reduce the horror by exposing it, if anything we are doing will prevent something, it is worth it and a wonderful positive.
Thank you, it is something I am so happy to be supportive of.
MS – I know. Especially in our industry, young actresses, models, unfortunately predators are drawn to fresh people. It is a huge pitfall to try to help them to navigate, not to be victimised by it forever by people in the entertainment industry who are hopeful to have a great career but being pushed into sleazy goings on by predators. Right now is the best time ever to be able avoid this or if something has happened to address it, not try to hide it or live with it, let’s avoid that.
Final words on Condor?
MS – Incredibly smart, exciting thriller, top notch writing, elevated characters, elements of anything can happen, an important timely piece.
Condor: Series One – now streaming on STAN
Shane A. Bassett