Mira Sorvino is the latest movie star to join her Oscar-winning peers, Halle Berry (Extant) and Matthew McConaughey (True Detective) in the world of television in her starring role in Intruders, a sci-fi drama about a secret society of body-hopping immortals who seek refuge in the bodies of others.
“Of course, this show makes you think about immortality. If I didn’t have to die it would be great, but if I was alone for an eternity I’d be pretty miserable unless I had my children, my husband, my parents, my siblings and my best friends with me,” she smiles. “But alone through time would be pretty desolate.”
Speaking of mortality, the statuesque blonde will forever be in Hollywood’s archives for walking off with a Golden Globe and an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress Oscar, in 1995, for her role in Woody Allen’s Mighty Aphrodite. She has also starred in movies you may remember including Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion (1997), Summer of Sam (1999), Norma Jean & Marilyn (1996), and Human Trafficking (2005).
How does she recall that life-changing award season nearly two decades ago?
“It was an incredible, beautiful time. Firstly, to win the Golden Globe and then to win the Oscar, it was so heady, it was crazy. But there was a certain point in which I had to escape. So, I moved to France for awhile. I couldn’t take the constant media attention in my life,” she explains. “I had just gone through a breakup and I went out of my trailer door when I was shooting At First Sight to walk my little dog on the streets of New York, and this woman came up in my face with a microphone going, ‘Hi Mira, I am from People magazine, and I have to ask, what’s going on with your breakup?’ And I was like, ‘You do, really? You have to ask?’ It was so horrible to me because it was such a hard time in my life. And I really just wanted to say, “Go away, please!”
But nearly twenty years on, Sorvino’s life looks quite different. This Harvard-educated, mother of four (whose kids range in ages from 10 to 2), and wife of actor Christopher Backus since 2004, has a lot on her plate. “It’s pretty chaotic at my place. It’s a madhouse, particularly at bedtime and bath time. My phrase is ‘four is more.’ And even though three kids are easier, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m not the perfect regimented mum with schedules. I’d like to say they’re in bed by 7pm but that just doesn’t happen in my house.”
Despite Sorvino’s many accolades for her onscreen performances, she is proudest of her less glamorous achievements.
“Celebrity for me has been a mixed blessing. But now I am in a much better place psychologically, personally, and fulfillment wise. I am so happy with my family and I am overjoyed with my kids. It was a revolution in my heart to have these children that are everything to me, she gushes. “I have a wonderful, wonderful husband, I found the perfect soul mate and we are partners. We support each other. My most important role is that of being a good mother to my kids and at the end of the day, on my death bed, I am not going to care what awards I got or what movies I was in. I am going to care, ‘Did I love my children well enough and did I prepare them for this world? Did I teach them what they needed to know?’”
Since we’ve returned to the subject of mortality, leading us back to Intruders, how does she feel about the show’s exploration of reincarnation?
She laughs. “Well, it would explain my deep and enduring interest in traditional Chinese culture. People would always ask me why I was a Chinese studies major at college and I couldn’t really it explain it other than I just had this affinity for it that seemed innate rather than something learned.” She shrugs her shoulders. “So, my answer would be, and still is, ‘‘I think I was Chinese in another life.’”