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Why Sister Irene From The Nun Looks So Familiar

"The Nun" was the second time the successful "Conjuring" franchise was spun off, taking the striking villain nun from 2016's "The Conjuring 2" and setting audiences into the world of the supernatural through eyes other than those of Lorraine and Ed Warren (Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson). After the success of 2014's "Annabelle," Warner Bros. rolled the dice again by taking the demon the Nun and making her the center of the story in 2018's "The Nun."  

The film also shifts its focus to its new leads, Father Burke (Demián Bichir) and Sister Irene. The two characters come face to face with their own faith and commitment when they are sent to investigate the death of a nun. Bichir was the more seasoned veteran thespian of the two, having previously starred in major projects like Ridley Scott's "Alien: Covenant" and Quentin Tarantino's "The Hateful Eight." 

The actress who played Sister Irene has plenty of notable credits herself, though, and she may strike fans of the "Conjuring" franchise as familiar even if her other work is foreign. That's because Taissa Farmiga is the sister of the franchise's female lead. "The Nun" also included the Warrens in a small cameo meaning the film was a team-up of sorts between the sisters. There is plenty more reason than family resemblance though that the younger Farmiga should look familiar. 

Her career kicked off with American Horror Story and her sister's own film

According to Taissa Farmiga, she originally planned on pursuing accounting. What kicked off her journey into acting was her older sister Vera Farmiga asking her to appear as the younger version of her character in the 2011 film "Higher Ground," which also marked Vera's directorial debut.

"My only acting experience was a second-grade play," Taissa Farmiga told the Columbus Dispatch. After earning strong reviews for her sister's film, she was cast in Ryan Murphy's hit series "American Horror Story," which debuted in 2011 with the "Murder House" season. Farmiga starred as Violet Harmon, daughter of Vivien (Connie Britton) and Ben (Dylan McDermott). Farmiga has gone to portray two more roles in the show. She was Zoe Benson, a witch in "Coven," the 3rd season storyline. She would reprise both of these roles in "Apocalypse," the eighth season, and she also played Sophie Green in the sixth season, "Roanoke." 

Though she never planned on pursuing her sister's career path, Farmiga explained she now can't live without acting. "I love to break down the emotions and get inside the head of someone else," she told the Columbus Dispatch. 

She jumped into true crime for Sofia Coppola

One of Taissa Farmiga's first big movie roles was as Sam in 2013's "The Bling Ring," which was written and directed by Sofia Coppola. Farmiga played a close friend of the character based on Alexis Neiers, who was involved in the Bling Ring robberies in 2008 and 2009, in which a group of friends broke into the homes of celebrities like Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan, stealing approximately $3 million worth of items, per Us Weekly

The story was later captured in the Netflix 2022 docuseries "The Real Bling Ring: Hollywood Heist." Coppola's movie was based on the Vanity Fair article that got most eyeballs onto the string of robberies, titled "The Suspect Wore Louboutins" by Nancy Jo Sales. 

Farmiga said while promoting the Coppola picture that she hoped it would serve as a warning to younger kids who may have the same fame and thrill-seeking ambitions as the movie's main characters. 

"I just hope that it comes as a warning. Just for kids to see how bad things can get with social media and celebrity obsession, that you can't take things this far. Admiration is great, but there is a line not to cross," she said, via Hypable.

She made a western with a handful of seasoned pros

The 2016 western "In a Valley of Violence" didn't exactly set the box office on fire, but it marked some big milestones for Taissa Farmiga's career, per Box Office Mojo. Farmiga portrayed Mary-Anne, an innkeeper and young admirer of the mysterious Paul (Ethan Hawke). Farmiga got to team up with not only the Oscar-nominated Hawke but also Academy Award winner John Travolta. Behind the camera were Blumhouse's Jason Blum and writer/director Ti West, the latter of whom would go on to create the "X" horror franchise. 

The film is part of Hawke's fruitful relationship with Blumhouse. After launching successful franchises with "Sinister" and "The Purge," Hawke convinced Blum to get into the business of westerns, producing this and the 2020 miniseries "The Good Lord Bird."

"After Ethan [Hawke] and I did 'Sinister' and 'The Purge,' he really, really wanted to do a Western ... It took about a year to find 'In a Valley of Violence,'" Blum said about "In a Valley of Violence" in a 2015 interview with Collider. The movie also allowed Farmiga to visit locations once trotted on by screen legends.

"It's the same damn desert! We shot in the same desert that Clint [Eastwood] shot in. We shot in the same one that John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart shot in. I mean, I stayed in hotels that those clowns stayed in. So, that's part of the fun," Hawke told App in 2016.

She worked for filmmaking legend Clint Eastwood

Taissa Farmiga may be younger than her sister Vera, but in 2018, she outpaced her sister in one specific area by appearing in a movie by filmmaking legend Clint Eastwood. In "The Mule," Farmiga played Ginny, granddaughter of the flower whisperer and laidback drug mule Earl Stone (Eastwood). 

"The Mule" provided the unique opportunity for Farmiga to catch Eastwood at work in front up and behind the camera, something he hadn't done since a decade before in "Gran Torino." "The Mule" marked a major hit for Eastwood, making it a highlight in his later career when his films can often be hit-or-miss at the box office, via Box Office Mojo.

Eastwood is also notorious for being a quick shooter who doesn't get too in the weeds with performances and takes, presenting a new challenge for Farmiga as more trust was put onto her as the actor simply hired to do the job. Farmiga said she discussed this unique approach with Eastwood's daughter, Alison Eastwood, who also appeared in the movie, and discovered this is how the icon has always operated. 

"He hires people for the job for a specific reason who can do the job that's presented to them, and then he entrusts them to do it, and he's not the sort of director who is hands-on and nit-picky and trying to control every little detail, which sometimes it's interesting to work with and sometimes it's nice to be trusted," Farmiga told Variety.